Being authentic is a struggle for me.
I don’t like to admit it. I talk and write about it fairly often, and at times I feel like I give off the impression that I’ve got it down. That impression is the me that I want to be. What happens is I end up taking periodic recaps of where I am, and how I’ve been. I ask myself, “Am I intentional in my actions?”, “Why am I doing [insert activity]?”.
I should probably ask myself those questions each day before I start tackling my to-do list. For one, I’d likely end up crossing off a list of activities that would make me busy, so that I can replace them with activities where I can be focused.
Simply being busy doesn’t lead to productivity. You can be very busy, and still get nothing done. Heck, you can be very busy procrastinating. You’ll feel like you have no time, and at the same time feel like you’re getting nowhere.
If you are focused— you have your eyes set on a particular result, and you work towards that one thing.
I wish I could say that’s how I live my life in each moment. Always aware of what I’m doing and where I’m going. The truth is I get sidetracked a lot. I’ll be working towards a goal, and just when I’m making progress on the goal, it’ll change. Recently what’s been happening is I’ll set a goal, and the closer I get toward it, the more I realize the path to accomplishing it is entirely different from what I had planned in the beginning.
So I adjust my plans and keep moving forward. Unfortunately, after several course adjustments, I begin to feel lost. I feel like I’m running in circles, aimlessly striving for a finish line that keeps moving further and further. I get so caught up in the chase that I stop asking myself if I’m being intentional in my actions. I’m simply acting, not thinking. Not really, anyway.
That is precisely when I need to be asking myself if I’m going in the right direction. Before each bend and turn, I need to ask myself if I know why I’m doing what I’m doing.
This enables me to be the most authentic version of myself. When I get to that aimless state, I start to get into my head and try to be what I think I should be. I don’t just let myself be.
To be authentic, you don’t need to try. You don’t need to think about how you should appear to others or how you need to act. You just need to be. That’s all.
Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert. I tend to overthink things. I’m always surprised how clear the path becomes when I relax and take the time to consider my next action, before acting. I’m reminded of that Chinese finger trap. The harder you pull, the more stuck you become. When you relax, you can break free.