You get to be 100% yourself, 100% of the time! 

It’s true: this is 10 words (plus the two %-signs). I’m getting to the 6-word version. Stick with me.

One of the primary reasons I remain compelled by and committed to the “be-100%-yourself” idea, by authenticity itself, is because it serves as a direct contradiction to patriarchy, capitalism, and all that (endlessly) strives to keep us “in our place,” silenced, shut down, and often shamed. We live in a world that is adamantly committed to us NOT being 100% ourselves. It wants us wanting. It wants us to see ourselves as not enough. And it wants us endlessly searching for (and buying) any and everything that we’ve become convinced will make us better, more, perfect, seen, heard, valued, worthy . . . Blech!  With authenticity, all of this falls away. You are no longer lured by the promise of a future or “someday” you because the current you is 100% present and accounted for. More than enough. And never too much. I’m also compelled by you being 100% yourself, 100% of the time because it serves as an incredibly  powerful discernment tool.When you’re NOT being 100% yourself, 100% of the time, you have something VERY specific to look at, be curious about and investigate. Here’s what I mean:

  • Consider a scenario or situation in which you felt “off.” Maybe something just wasn’t right. Maybe you were uncomfortable, even if only internally. Maybe you sensed tension – whether within or without. Maybe there was an edge of insecurity that hovered around you . . . or a tinge of anger. Maybe you pulled back or withdrew. Maybe you withheld your opinion. Maybe you felt ever-so-slightly (or blatantly) invisible.
  • Now, as you place yourself back in that particular scene, ask yourself this question: Was I being 100% myself?

When I look back on so many conversations, circumstances, relationships, even jobs in which I felt “off” (or any of the other myriad possibilities named above) I already know the answer to the question. “No. I was not being 100% myself.” Instead of being irritated by such, ashamed, frustrated, or self-berating, I can choose to be curious. I have new questions to ask. New things to wonder about. And new data to rely on that is housed in my very emotions and body! Here’s a quick example:In my most recent corporate position, after a sudden and shocking leadership change, I found myself feeling an increasing level of irritation. I was frustrated almost all the time. I felt levels of tension and stress that had not existed before. I was pouring one extra glass of wine at night. I woke up feeling exhausted before I even began another day. It took me a while to acknowledge any of this, believe me; but once I looked closely enough to determine what had changed, I saw that, indeed, I was NOT being 100% myself. My relationship with my new boss had me second-guessing myself, compromising, complying, and feeling a low-grade level of fear that I’d do the wrong thing. In both big and small ways, I was contorting myself into what I thought he wanted me to be. This was a powerful “seeing” for me. It allowed me to put my emotions and bodily responses in the context of authenticity (or lack thereof), I had all the discernment I could have needed – and the necessary next steps. Clearly, the work ahead was to be 100% myself, no matter what; to watch what would happen when I was genuine and authentic 100% of the time; to not compromise or comply; to choose to trust my voice, my perspective, my opinions, my experience – come what may. I knew it wouldn’t go smoothly. I knew I would ruffle some feathers and upset an apple cart or two. I also knew that I couldn’t not be me! Not anymore. Not after years and years (and years) of doing so throughout my life. Not after working so hard to identify who that 100%-me actually was!It didn’t take long (less than a month, I think) before it became clear that I could not stay. Of course, I felt every bit of the risk and fear that went along with this. I was severing myself from my source of income, after all! But at the very same time, I felt confident, sure, and strong. I trusted myself and my decision. Being less than 100% myself was no longer tenable.

So, the 6-Words that change everything form themselves into a question:

Am I being 100 percent myself? 

I’d cannot encourage you strongly enough to ask yourself this question again and again and again. NOT from a place of self-critique or self-criticism or irritation or shame; rather, from a place of gentle and grace-filled curiosity. When your answer is “no,” you now have information, data, and context to work with. That’s exciting! It means you can ask another whole series of questions that helps you understand and discern even more!

  • Why am I not being 100% myself in this situation?
  • What would happen if I was?
  • What is it costing me to be less than 100% myself? Where else and how is this impacting me in other aspects of my life?
  • Is there a pattern (or a person) that consistently brings this tension to the fore for me? What does that awareness invite me to explore?
  • What behavior(s) do I demonstrate that lets me know I’m not being 100% myself?
  • What emotion(s) do I feel that give me a clue that I’m not being 100% myself?
  • What happens in my physical body as powerful reminder that I’m not being 100% myself?
  • In what small (or large) ways can I experiment with being 100% myself when this situation presents itself again?

We know when we’re in the company of someone who has cut through hesitation to be brilliant, gentle, ridiculous and natural. They evince the most compelling and authoritative quality there is. Enough, just be who you are.” ~ Susan PiverWhen you are 100% yourself, 100% of the time, YOU are that person! Brilliant. Gentle. Ridiculous. Natural. Amazing. Wise. Witty. Kind. Generous. Creative. Courageous. Strong. Tender. Compassionate. Winsome. Grounded. Whole. You evince the most compelling and authoritative quality there is. You are enough. Just be who you are. No hesitation at all.

May it be so!