Definition according to Merriam Webster:
- : real or genuine : not copied or false
- : true and accurate
When I ask people about authenticity, I often hear "Walks the Talk" and I certainly agree. For a moment, I want to share an experience I had, which I feel really summed up authenticity for me in a very real way. At one point, I became a Cub Scout Den Leader. I guess I have loved volunteering my entire life. During my training as a leader, my mentor told me that whether I am in uniform or not, I have to live the actions of a scout. She pointed out that kids get confused when they run into you in the grocery store and you are acting in a manner unbecoming of a scout. I thought that was a simple idea. It didn't cause me to pause and worry. One afternoon, I ran into the local convenience store and happened to see another leader from our council. I witness him using foul language, and loudly berating the cashier about the coffee not being fresh. And that scene did cause me to pause. It stopped me right in my tracks. I immediately looked around to see who else might be a witness to this situation and was relieved to discover we were the only people in the store. But what if a scout had been present? How could that leader expect to have his respect when running a meeting or facilitating an event? How would that scout feel when that leader presented him with a badge in ceremony? Would he feel valued having recognition from someone who did not "Walk the Talk?" What I regret most about that story is I did not use my bold voice in the moment to correct this person. I did apologize to the cashier after he left, but I did not speak up to stop his inappropriate behavior. I have learned from my in-actions that day and believe I would handle it differently now. I hope this story helps all of us to understand the importance of being authentic - which means ALL of the time! A key component of authenticity is self awareness and we will look at that concept in our next newsletter!