Entrepreneur: Kristen Quirk
Title: Transformational Coach & Inspirational Speaker
Living authentically is so common a catchphrase that you may have to stop and think about what it means. A specific definition is tough to nail down, though, because it looks and feels different for each of us.
I describe living authentically as being so in touch with who you are and what’s important to you that you make the conscious — and sometimes difficult — choices that bring your inner visions, values and priorities to life.
As we head into the new year, here are four ways you can experience an increased sense of authenticity every day.
Be aware. From meeting up with friends to researching interesting things online, there are many worthwhile ways to spend time. But if you stop to think — or, better yet, feel — about it, which activities truly add value to your life in terms of qualities like greater peace, joy or fulfillment? Which are real expressions of who you are, and which are distractions that help you deal with the over-stimulation and stress of daily life? Sometimes you may indeed need to check out and relax by binge-watching a Netflix series. Whatever you’re doing, the key is awareness about whether you are engaging in it as an automatic, patterned response, or if you are making an active and conscious choice to participate in something that feels beneficial.
Reconnect. As women, we tend to be so focused on getting things done — at home, at work, in our relationships — that we forget to allow time to connect with what feels meaningful, restful or fun. If that happens for long enough, we may even lose touch with those parts of ourselves altogether. Given that interests change as we grow and evolve, the way to connect with what is relevant and fitting now is to play, experiment and (re)discover. Two huge clues that reveal what’s authentically meaningful: being so immersed in what you’re doing that you lose track of time, and feeling energized rather than drained by the activity. Notice when you feel either of those ways and let yourself increasingly be drawn to the actions that elicit such an experience.
Shift slowly. If you’re feeling unhappy or disconnected and you’ve decided something simply has to change, the temptation can be to make big shifts to fix or alleviate what doesn’t feel good. But trying to change too much, too quickly leads to overwhelm and immobility — one reason that many new year’s resolutions are abandoned by mid-January. Spend some time thinking and feeling about what you’d like more of in your life and find small ways to add it into your daily routine. What you desire is much more likely to come to fruition if it’s incorporated and practiced regularly, like a healthy and happy habit.
Feel the love. While it is true that only we can decide what feels authentic and genuine and then implement it in our lives, effective support significantly enhances the process. Whether it’s a kind and loving social or spiritual community, a good friend who knows you well or someone you work with one-on-one like a life coach, a solid support system offers many benefits. For example, it can help you feel like you’re not alone, remind you about what’s important when you forget, and offer constructive feedback that helps you stay on track toward your visions for yourself and your dreams. Focus on including those who show a deep understanding of who you and what you’re about in your inner circle. And, if you encounter well-intentioned but unhelpful or critical “advice” from family members, friends or even strangers, let their opinions float by like a leaf that’s carried on a cool breeze.
Living authentically is a way of being that results from awareness, conscious choices and actions that align with what makes your heart tick. The path to get there may feel more like a loopy circuit than a straight line, but it is a route with an amazing view — and one that is so worth taking.
Kristen Quirk is a transformational coach who helps professionals and spiritual seekers explore what it means to know themselves better, love themselves more and share from the heart. Kristen hosts the Being and Doing Now podcast and blog, and she is passionate about continually finding ways to connect more deeply with life, humans, animals and nature.