Be Brave – Be Real

As Brené Brown said in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’, authenticity is not something you have or don’t. Rather it’s something we choose. All of us choose our level of authenticity depending on our level of trust, safety, confidence and willingness to be brave.

Speaking to pharmacists this evidence of how we all choose authenticity appears. We select our authentic selves in the presence of friends or people we trust but when the going gets tough and we are worried about how we will be perceived, we are willing to be whoever we need to be to tread the path of least resistance. Be honest…we have all done it for many reasons. ‘Yep, no worries’ is easier than, ‘Hey, I think we should chat this out’ when you’re tired and your plate is full.

As a manager, you may avoid the conversations you need to have. You might be making excuses or thinking it will be better tomorrow. As a staff member, you might not speak up when you see unethical behaviour or allow people to overstep your boundaries. This might be in the way they speak to you or the way they behave.

Choosing authenticity is never easy but when we do, we can live in more alignment, with greater grace and are seen as genuine by our peers. So, it begs the question how do we choose authenticity in moments of challenge?

Here are three things you can do to increase your bravery to choose authenticity more often.

1.      Prepare

Like most things, preparation always helps. Spare yourself a moment to think about the situation and what are the alternative options to what you would ‘normally’ do. Once you have completed your exploration think about which option honours your values and ensures that your response results in dealing with the situation in a way that aligns with you.

If the situation involves another person, think about choosing the response that also ensures you have the right conversation, with the right person at the right time. Nothing says inauthentic like staff room conversations that avoid the person being spoken about.

2.      Reframe the situation from ‘problem’ to ‘opportunity’

When we think there is a ‘problem’ it can take us down the rabbit hole of thinking there will be ‘confrontation’ and ‘conflict’. If you are keen on avoiding these, consider being problem-focused as the shortcut to your inauthentic self.

Reframing the situation as an ‘opportunity’ presents limitless potential. An opportunity to collaborate, honour our values, increase the awareness of others, find a better way… the list goes on! This simple reframe can lighten the load and have you solution-focused in no time. Fun fact: this engages your prefrontal cortex, literally improving your empathy, bravery and thinking power…what better way to level up your authenticity?

3. Practice Self-Compassion

Being authentic, especially in challenging situations, requires courage. It’s important to be kind to yourself throughout this process. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and that making mistakes is part of the journey. Self-compassion allows you to bounce back from setbacks and remain committed to your values. When you treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend, you create a supportive internal environment that fosters authenticity. If the thought of up-levelling your authenticity is terrifying, just think baby steps.

Choosing authenticity is a continuous practice, not a one-time decision. By preparing thoughtfully, reframing challenges as opportunities, and practising self-compassion, you can increase your capacity to be authentic even in the most difficult moments. In doing so, you’ll not only align more closely with your true self but also inspire others to do the same. This is the foundation of psychologically safe workplaces.

Shed the exhaustion that comes with defaulting on boundaries and leaving things unsaid. Boost your energy and career with emotional intelligence, authentic conversations and living in alignment.

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