It’s great to be authentic. Sharing your struggles and strategies can be a huge benefit to many people. However, if you lay back and just be solely “authentic”, that’s a lazy approach to life.
We all know someone that “just tells it like is” that no one wants to be around, because they’re often just a jerk. You can be transparent and honest, but you should try to layer it with some kindness.
Back in episode 24 of The Long and The Short Of It podcast, Jen dug into this idea by sharing some thoughts from Seth Godin. She pulled a few great quotes from Seth’s “This Is Marketing” book about the pieces that need to connect to authenticity.
In large part, Jen and Seth argue that it’s not simply “kindness” that you need to add, but rather “emotional labor”; spending energy to showcase your thoughts in the best light.
From the book:
Emotional labor is the work of doing what we don’t feel like doing. It’s about showing up with a smile when we’re wincing inside, or resisting the urge to chew someone out, because you know that engaging with him will make a bigger difference. It takes a small amount of energy and guts to be authentic.
Further along in that same thought:
And if the authentic you is a selfish jerk, please leave him at home. If you need to be authentic to do your best work, you’re not a professional, you’re a fortunate amateur.
I love being around people that are authentic and can help me become a better person, but I don’t like hanging around selfish jerks. If you can ride the balance of authenticity with emotional labor, you are likely to be a very valuable person to those around you.