- A sincere devotion to personal growth and self-awareness. Sincere is derived from the Latin ‘sine’ (without) and ‘cera’ (wax) or without wax. According to one popular explanation, dishonest sculptors in ancient Rome and Greece would cover flaws in their work with wax to deceive the potential buyer; therefore, a sculpture “without wax” would mean honesty in its imperfection. Authenticity is indicated by a level of comfort with one’s self and one’s cracks. This comes from a life-long commitment to knowing yourself. To quote Leonard Cohen, “Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
- A commitment to discern how you share your imperfection with the world. Authenticity isn’t about exposing yourself recklessly. Authenticity, by definition, requires a commitment to both honesty and respect. Indiscriminate spewing of your faults, weaknesses, and emotions is disrespectful to the people who depend on you. This is why a dedication to self-awareness is an indication of authenticity. Don’t turn your team into your therapist. Be 100% honest with your support system away from your work, so you can be comfortable with yourself when you get to work.
- Measure your life by how you make the world better. Anything short of an imperfect dedication to helping make a better world is not authentic. Caring about others and basic goodness is in our nature. Don’t mistake authenticity for a method of coping and surviving. For example, being a jerk is never authentic. No one is born a jerk. It’s not in our nature. Being a jerk is a coping response learned somewhere along the way. A sincere desire to serve a cause beyond self-interest is a necessary quality of authentic presence.
Signs of burnout: How to recognize and evaluate what to keep doing and what to let go of.
From personal experience, I know that burnout is real. It is not to be dismissed.
Here are some signs:
- Lack of enthusiasm and vitality
- Difficulty getting up in the morning and falling asleep at night.
- Speaking in a monotone.
- Feeling bored and listless.
- Feeling alienated from your family, co-workers, and friends
- Feeling hungry but lack an appetite.
- Becoming depressed (the line between burnout and depression is very thin).
If you notice some of these symptoms, here’s a suggested strategy to start a recovery path:
- Be honest with yourself. Most people cross the line into burnout at some point in their life.
- Have a heart-to-heart conversation with people who depend on you. Ask them what absolutely needs to stay on your plate and what you can let go of.
- Get clear and ask for the support you need.
- Take an Energy Inventory. Assess what activities, in the last week, gave you energy and which depleted you. Ask yourself if your tiredness is “bad” tired or “good” tired. Remember: Burnout is not about hard work; it’s about heartache.
- Delegate everything possible that you hate doing to someone who would love doing it.
- Accept that guilt is inevitable for conscientious, accountable people. Just don’t put guilt in the driver’s seat. Walk through with grace.