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“Hi Todd. First off, I loved your talk. You’ve given me a lot to think about.” pronounced the young woman at the mic stand.

“But I’m wondering… how do you reconcile the idea of an alter ego, with authenticity and being authentic?

I mean… don’t they kind of compete with each other?”

I’ve had that question a few times.

(Ironically, I’ve gotten that question the most from podcast hosts who operate heavily in the social media world. Influencers etc.)

So let’s dive into the ideas of:

Authenticity, and
Authentic Self.

30 years ago, when I purchased a rare trading card at a sports show, I received this beautiful piece of paper with it:

A ‘Certificate of Authenticity.’

25 years later my wife and I were eating dinner with friends in NYC and a lady leaned over and asked my friend:

“Is that an authentic Birkin Bag?”

(If you’re not familiar with Birkin Bags… they’re VERY exclusive.)

In both instances, the use of the words ‘authenticity’ and ‘authentic’ were placed on objects.

No matter where I take that trading card. It will always be a trading card.

No matter where my wife takes her handbag, it will always be a handbag.

I can hear it now… “Okay Todd, where are you going with this?”

The reason I bring up these two examples is because the words we use can either trap us, or free us.

Now, I don’t know about you, but over the past 13 years, since the rise of social media, there are a lot of words that have become supremely popular.

Impostor syndrome is one. (I did a takedown of the word this week on Facebook and LinkedIn, to the applause of many people.)

But ‘Authenticity’ and ‘Authentic’ are some others.

And it’s a problem.

Because language is how we create our worlds.

And people have been trying to apply those labels to humans, which I think it’s a problem.

Here’s why…

We’re not objects.

👉 You’re not a trading card or handbag.

You’re a human being, and you shift, change, and morph depending on environment, people, circumstances, roles, heck… even time of day!

👉 We’re not objects… we’re subjects.

And it’s an unfair linguistic trap to try and label someone ‘authentic,’ however there may be a little nuance with this…

[Here comes a little history…]

The current version of the word authentic, was derived from a 14th century definition meaning ‘authoritative, duly authorized.’

Which is taken from a Greek word – ‘authentikos,’ which means ‘original, genuine, principal.’

Hmmm… interesting… but we’re not done pulling the string on this yet.

Authentikos, is a spin on the Greek word, ‘authentes,’ which means ‘one acting on one’s own authority.’

I like that… but let’s continue…

When you break a part authentes, into it’s two component words you get:

autos – which means ‘self,’ and
hentes – which means ‘doer, being’

So when you look at the root words of authentic, a ‘self-doer or self-being.’

That sounds pretty good.

Except, there’s a trap that’s been laid that you need to be careful with…

And I’m going to share that trap with you in the next post…

Be Bold. Take Action.

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