Don’t Fake It

Last night I got home from work late, so I watched some of The Colbert Report before bed. The guest was former U.S. governor and presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee, and it seems he’s a bit into “authenticity” (note the irony of putting this word in quotations). He rambled on about how Americans want “authenticity”, they want someone “authentic” in the White House and according to him, he’s the “real thing”.

Here’s the thing about authenticity. If you are truly authentic, truly genuine, truly the real deal, you don’t have to advertise. Something that is genuine leather just feels that way, smells that way. An authentic Louis Vuitton handbag can be spotted from across the room, if you know what to look for. I saw a Bentley the other day, parked on a side street near my office. I had never seen one in person before. But I knew as soon as I saw it, a block away, that it was the real thing. It was truly authentic, and probably the most beautiful car I have ever seen – and I’m not even really into cars (I drive a Saturn, for God’s sake).

The point is, running around telling everyone you are “authentic” means nothing without actions to back it up. Mr. Huckabee spouts that he is “authentic”. But somehow I doubt it, because his actions make him come across as being just another politician pandering for votes. I have seen nothing of him that makes me think “He’s the real deal.”

In your life, and your work, be authentic in your actions and words. When you tell a friend or a client you will do something, do it, to the absolute best of your ability. If you can’t do something, admit it, then go find someone who can do it. Don’t lie. Don’t make up stories to cover your ass. Just be a genuine person when you interact with others.

If you do that, people who want to interact with you, who want to do business with you, will spot you across the room, like a Louis Vuitton. They will seek you out and find you. And you will be successful.

Are you for real?

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