"Authenticity is the pathway to freedom."
Today, and every day, we get a new opportunity to show up authentically in our roles. And in this article, while exploring the meaning of this quote, I encourage you to consider what this quote means to you. Take what serves you and leave the rest.
In your most significant roles, how would embracing more of your authentic self benefit you and others, especially in your role as a leader in business and life?
A few days ago, while journaling during my Inspired Morning Practice, I asked, "What would you have me know?" and the first few words that came to me were, “Authenticity is the pathway to freedom.”
Meaning #1: Embracing Different Aspects of Who We Are
Instinctively, to me, this quote, “Authenticity is the pathway to freedom,” means no taboos, no constraints when serving my fellow women and men, and it translates into how I share my message as a leadership coach, motivational speaker, and #1 bestselling author.
The words struck deeply. Freedom is one of my core values. Since I can remember, at five years old, I have pursued freedom of opportunities and financial freedom. As a young girl growing up in a poor, small village next to Haiti in the Dominican Republic, I saw the women in m community suffer because they could not support themselves.
As a young teenager and immigrant to the US, I committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and making the best of what life could offer—that became my dream and my purpose. I knew the climb would be steep—facing a new land, new culture, new language, a tiny support system comprised of my mother and step-father, and all socio-economic and teenage-related challenges.
I settled in to learn the foundations of English throughout high school, struggled and persevered to complete a Computer Science and Economics program during four years of college, and became a professional woman at the age of 22. Alas, I had the chance to achieve financial independence. That was such a satisfying and hopeful feeling.
So, to receive this quote during my morning meditation, "Authenticity is the pathway to freedom," was very meaningful. Like many people, I have relied on my intellect to claim the freedoms I crave. In the two and a half decades as a professional in the corporate world, I earned a living performing roles that leveraged my knowledge and skills driven primarily by my intellect.
Those professional roles were highly structured and well-defined. They followed strict guardrails, which force us to stay in "our lane," thwarting any crossover of talents or skill set outside of the context of the roles. This structure served me by strengthening my expertise as a project manager and leader and providing the financial freedom and stability I pursued.
Over the years, and once I met my need for financial stability, I noticed that this constrained structure no longer served me. I became fully aware that in addition to the skill set I used in my roles, I also possessed talents and capabilities which I had not embraced professionally. The realization tugged at my consciousness and kept reminding me, "I can do more." I became keenly self-aware that I am multi-dimensional, like everyone else.
In the race to "succeed," I focused singularly on attaining financial freedom. I'll be forever grateful that I achieved it. And I also acknowledge that once I did, there was space to begin to appreciate other aspects of myself, which embraced different strengths and capabilities, natural and learned, which combined expressed my full authenticity.
Before launching my business, I had not spoken, coached, or strategized on careers or leadership training professionally. Through training, I became an ICF certified coach. I leveraged my natural talents and strengths for speaking in public, along with my industry experience and leadership skills and expertise, to rebrand and launch a new career. And in the process, I gained the freedom of full self-expression. I now show up fully in the marketplace, owning and embodying all aspects of who I have become.
In my new roles, serving partner organizations and individual clients, authenticity helps me do and be precisely multi-dimensional. I have positioned myself to rely on my intellect, and also tap into my superpowers, intuition, and a full range of talents, strengths, and capabilities, and create an accelerator or multiplier effect on behalf of my clients' goals.
I also benefit from a tremendous empowering feeling when I intentionally connect my intellect to my heart, body wisdom, cosmic intelligence, and spiritual dimension. What does that mean? Aside from analyzing facts and figures, during our engagements, we dig into their truths, beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions that influence and impact their situation and the outcomes they seek. I show up authentically, coach them holistically--considering all their dimensions, and my clients benefit immensely.
This level of authenticity, the integration of intellect, body wisdom, and spiritual insight, is true freedom—attuning and trusting my knowledge, feeling, sensing, and intuition. The combination helps me to show up as a healing leader, aligned with my core values of freedom, integrity, purpose, leadership, connection, curiosity, service.
Meaning #2: Letting the Message Be the Truth
Today, in my communication as a leader, "Authenticity is a pathway to freedom" also means not letting my mind or intellect monopolize my message when I am crafting a speech for my audience, training a team of leaders, or coaching an individual client. It means embracing speaking the truth, compassionately from my heart, based on what I sense during the interaction, for the highest good of all involved.
I sense that many of us are feeling editorial fatigue from decades of stifling what we say, contorting ourselves to tell it the right way and fit and appease the status quo. Quite frankly, when one even mildly connects to the body's communicating signals, it feels exhausting to suppress our authentic messages in fear of being rejected. Our bodies turn into a game of "telephone" where the message was so explicit, by the time we communicate it externally and make it sound "politically correct," it loses its impact, and at best it lands flat, or worse yet, it's meaningless for the audience.
Denying the communication or messages to be uncensored is akin to trying to hold a beach ball underwater. As leaders, what would happen if we practice generosity and kindness to speak and act based on what we are both processing intellectually and feeling instinctively and intuitively in our bodies? We would save a great deal of precious time, magnify our impact, and serve our people exponentially.
What frame of reference am I using to base these insights on the value of letting my message be the truth? I speak from experience and can attest on behalf of my clients that they experience the most benefit from our programs, interactions, and coaching when I am one hundred percent attuned to my intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions.
We can cut through layers of stories and beliefs scaffolding and get to the core of the issues in record time. After we do, the healing of my client's inner community or psyche can begin, and real, lasting progress ensues. Our external situations reflect and project our internal conditions, fears, assumptions, disconnects, protectors operating in autopilot, all of it is suppressed in the body and manifest daily in our careers and lives.
Meaning #3: Being loving and caring
Finally, for me, this quote is a striking reminder that everything begins and ends in the heart, life itself. Giving and sharing the love in my heart feels amazing and natural to me, authentic. In my roles as a mom, partner, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, coach, motivational speaker, career strategist, author, teacher, leader, healer, I intend to touch and soothe the hearts of those I serve, love and care for daily.
Your Action Steps
In your career and life, what does “Authenticity is the pathway to freedom” mean?
How would showing up more authentically benefit your professional and personal relationships?
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About Dr. Ginny A. Baro
Dr. Ginny Baro is an international speaker & executive coach, and the #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. She is the CEO and founder of ExecutiveBound™ and Fearless Women @Work™ and the creator of the innovative and proven method, C.A.R.E.S. Leadership Success System™.
Ginny specializes in helping executives develop inclusive leaders. As a career strategist, she partners with talented individuals who are navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their professional careers.
She has successfully facilitated leadership training and coaching programs for global companies with over 140,000 employees and delivered keynotes impacting international audiences larger than 7,000 people.
For over two decades, Ginny held multiple Director and senior leadership roles in financial services and technology. Her academic degrees include a Ph.D. in Information Systems, an MS in Computer Science, an MBA in Management, and a BA in Computer Science and Economics. She's a Mastermind Professional and Certified Professional Coach (CPC), accredited by the International Coach Federation. For more information, visit www.executivebound.com.