John hides feelings of unworthiness, of not being "good enough." To conceal these thoughts, he projects himself as a know-it-all authority on most every subject.

Sue fears that she is stupid--and that because of this, she won't be accepted by others. In an attempt to fit in and be liked, she becomes the "class clown."

Bill nearly killed his brother in a fight when he was six years old. He hides the evil thoughts he entertains and projects a saint-like character.

Linda was physically abused as a child and sees herself as worthless trash. To compensate, she takes on the role of the helper--she is never able to do "enough" for others.

Each of these four people is held captive by an inability to embrace the images they hold of themselves. They live being someone they are not, and will do just about anything to avoid coming to terms with who they fear they are--though of course, this is not who they really are, deep inside. But because they are living a lie, we don't get who they really are. We get who they are pretending to be.

 

Being Caught in a Lie

You maximize your personal power when you exude authentic energy. When you speak from the heart and walk your talk, others get the real you. Living authentically means closing the gap between who you are and who you project. In contrast, when you project a façade that differs from the picture you have of your "real" self, others sense the disparity. When your speaking and being don't match, it keeps you from being heard. It decreases your personal effectiveness.

You invite someone to attend an event and watch as they say, "I'll try to be there"--while their manner and body language screams, "No way! I ain't going!" The person is caught in a lie--which you perceive as inauthenticity.

Living authentically starts with being at peace with who you are. It's about making the decision that you will no longer live a lie or project an image that conceals some aspect of yourself.

Accessing your power means being complete with your past. It means loving yourself for who you are; it means not being afraid to let your guard down and allow others to love you in the same way. When your past no longer runs you, you can live with an authenticity that results from simply being yourself. You then have the freedom to focus on inventing your future as you reinvent yourself on purpose.

A great way to experience this distinction is to ask yourself, "In what respects am I
living a lie--or not the whole truth? What qualities or thoughts about myself am
I reluctant to let others discover?"

Another powerful way to access your authenticity is to take some quiet, focused time to identify where you are incomplete with anyone or anything in your past--then identify what steps you can take to achieve completion.

 

A Crisis in Authenticity

Some years ago, I faced a personal and professional crisis in authenticity. I studied long and hard to get through college and dental school, and all that effort seemed to pay off handsomely. I owned my own thriving practice, one of the most successful in the US. I earned a great living, had the respect of my patients, family and peers. But something was missing. After 15 years of practice, dentistry had grown old for me. It had become a job, no longer a passion.

What was I to do? Dentistry was all I knew. Besides, what about the sizable investment of time and dollars invested in getting my career where it was? Could I throw that all away? What would others think? How would my patients get along without my care? What would my staff do? How many people would I be letting down? Perhaps I should just make the best of my situation--just accept the fact that this was the career path I'd chosen. Yes, that was probably the best thing to do...

But to do so would be to live a lie!

When I got in touch with my most important values, I realized that dentistry could no longer fully satisfy my need for creativity, my longing for freedom and adventure, or my desire to contribute.

So, I decided to simply tell the truth: dentistry was no longer something to which I wished to devote my life's energy.

The clarity of this decision led me to identify what was most important to me: writing, speaking and inspiring others to play full out in pursuit of what was truly important to them.

 

The Momentum of Truth

Once I told the truth, things started happening! Possibilities turned into opportunities. Before long, I'd sold my dental practice and embarked upon a new career, following my passion as an entrepreneur, coach, writer and teacher. All of what has followed began with the courage to identify and tell the truth.

Much of the struggle we encounter during our lives comes from not being honest--with others and with ourselves. We become numb to the challenges, lies and suffering that life throws our way, causing us to lose sight of a better way. That "better way" is simple: tell the truth at all times.

Being honest with others starts with self-honesty. This involves developing the muscle of evaluating everything you say and do on a daily basis and "acknowledging the lie."

The "lie" can be anything that conflicts with your intuition, fails to honor your key values, or compromises your integrity. The more proficient you become at uncovering the lie, whether in thought, word or deed, the more you maximize your power--and others', too, because telling the truth affords others the permission to do the same!

Having a commitment to tell the truth does not give you carte blanche to simply say whatever you like, without regard for the consequences. Speaking the truth means saying what is true for you in a responsible manner. Spoken responsibly, the truth, will not damage people--but withholding it will.

 

DR. JOE RUBINO (www.CenterForPersonalReinvention.com) is an author, network marketer and coach.