Allow Me to Introduce Expert
Susan White, LCSW
When Susan White, LCSW, told me she wanted to author for a 3rd volume in our series, I should have been surprised – but I wasn’t! Susan has a strong client base of business professionals and Small Business Owners. We must remember all business is conducted by people, so why wouldn’t a social worker be an excellent contributor for fresh perspectives on how to do the people thing better? I assure you, this topic will significantly improve YOUR Business’s Performance.
Today’s blogging guest is 3x #1 Bestselling Business Author and #1 International Bestselling Business Author Susan White, LCSW, who penned a chapter in Volume 1 (Hope: Out of the Shadows and Into the Light), as well as Volume 2 (Are You Willing to be Successful?), has also wrote a chapter in Volume 5 (The Real Deal on Authenticity in Relationships) in the Brilliant Breakthroughs for the Small Business Owner book series. This #1 Bestselling Book Series for Small Businesses was created by Small Business Thought Leader, Maggie Mongan, who vetted experts in business to join the Brilliant Practicing ExpertsTM Authoring Team.
The series is written specifically for Small Business Owners, by Small Business Owners, to help you learn how to win BIG at small business in the 21st century!
To give you a glimpse of several different chapters, I invited our co-authors to write a short guest blog to learn about why their chapter topic is important to YOUR Business Success.
Expert Susan White, LCSW
In Brilliant Breakthroughs for the Small Business Owner: Fresh Perspectives on Profitability, People, Productivity, and Finding Peace in Your Business – Vol 5, #1 Bestselling Business Author Susan White, LCSW shares how most business owners still need to improve how they are authentically building relationships throughout their businesses and communities.
The following is what Susan White, LCSW wants to share with you:
The Real Deal on Authenticity in Relationships Primer
One of my biggest fears in writing about authenticity is having someone approach me and cite a time or experience when I was a big fake! How humiliating would that be? Whew… That hasn’t happened – yet!
Regarding authenticity, it’s my intention to explore it, as well as peel away misconceptions about it – especially, in our relationships. What comes to mind when you read that? Most people begin to think about other people, or perhaps even a beloved pet. Do you ever stop to think about your relationship with yourself? It’s the only human relationship that’s enduring. We’re with ourselves all the time, aren’t we? Although, I’m curious, when you read the word ‘relationship’, did your mind veer to a person other than yourself? What kind of relationship DO you have with yourself? How would you describe or categorize it? When you contemplate these questions, what thoughts and feelings come up for you?
As a result of my decision to write, you are going to get to know me and get a sense of what I’m about. You may even experience me in ways I don’t even know about myself. You’re going to hear what’s going on inside me, as well as learn some experiences I’ve had through the written word. I’ll reveal myself to you from the inside out. That’s the foundation of authenticity. Revealing myself is a much different experience from observing me, then concluding who I am based on how I look and behave. One of my core values is authenticity, although a part of me is concerned about being judged, criticized or even worse. Although at the moment, I can’t quite put my finger on what “worse” might mean! How am I doing with being authentic so far?
What is important?
As a clinical social worker engaging in counseling with various people, I assure you the relationship I have with myself is the second most important one in my life. Surprised? The first most important relationship, if you’re wondering, is spiritual. Then again, that’s not the focus of what I’m writing about. Authenticity is! Are you becoming more curious about authenticity?
I wouldn’t be truthful had I not shared that valuable piece of spiritual information about me. Are you beginning to get a sense what authenticity is, as well as some clarity about what it means to have an authentic relationship with self? Honesty is key.
The other day, I heard myself spontaneously saying, “Authenticity isn’t going to look or sound the same in you as it does in me.” The moment the words left my mouth, I knew my intimate definition of authenticity was shifting, and if nobody else holds me accountable, I need to do so. Authenticity is not a constant. It’s a fluid experience I have with myself that trickles out of me in word and deed that seeps into all relationships I create with others. We affect one another.
As a counselor, I can tell you when I’m sitting with a new client who desperately needs help, although his or her focus is on charming, manipulating, controlling or humoring their way through those early sessions as they assess personal safety, I am authentic. I use my authenticity to respond. I do the same with the client who is doing deep, painful, sad, truthful grief and loss work. I respond. If you were to observe me in both scenarios, you might be confused about what authenticity is because I look and would feel very different in both scenarios. I’m the exact same person, and am mindful in how I show up in response to what will create safety and acceptance in either relationship.
Phony? Fake? Genuine? Authentic?
While describing authenticity in this light, you may wonder if I’ve described being fake or phony? I assure you the scenarios I shared are real, and I was as well. Real, genuine and authentic are synonymous. Authenticity is an inside job! To clarify, authenticity is me meeting you in relationship. Do you see why having an authentic relationship with yourself is so significant? Being authentic with myself involves acknowledging thoughts and feelings and allowing them to be known.
Invariably, when we show up authentically, people are going to learn who we genuinely are. Through the written word, you may believe you’re getting to know me. No doubt, there’s also an emotional response to what you’ve been reading. Authenticity makes us vulnerable. That’s a quality some people aren’t willing to experience. I am. Over the years, I’ve become incredibly comfortable with discomfort. Vulnerability is often uncomfortable.
Authenticity is not a panacea. Others are going to respond to you or me however they choose to respond. It’s outside our control. How others choose to behave is never about me, or you. According to Wikipedia, “Authenticity is the degree to which a person’s actions are congruent with his or her values and desires, despite external pressures to social conformity.” I love the word,’ and strive for it.
Authenticity can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m clear when I’m authentic, as opposed to when I’m fake or phony. It’s been my intention to explore authenticity, primarily with yourself, in order to begin to explore your internal relationship with yourself, as well as relationships with others. Hopefully, this has been a helpful and useful look into authenticity.
Getting to know ourselves throughout life, given all the unexpected paths we take and all the sights we take in, can be a wild ride. Buckle up!
Thank you ~ Susan
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p.s.: One of your key components as a Small Business Owner is your relationship with people. Taking time to improve your relationship with people literally pays-off long term!
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