The Journey to a State Called Authentic

Sometimes when I refer to the Authentic Self, I receive confused looks. Can you imagine? Authentic is a word which is commonly used to describe an article or concept as genuine. When I talk about the Authentic Self, however, I am referring to who we really are at our core, a unique blend of four equal components: values; passions; talents; skills.

So, this summer plan a road trip. Gas prices don't matter; you don't even need a car. But an exploratory attitude is necessary. You'll be taking a voyage toward this new self, to a state called Authentic. It's a place where you may not immediately recognize the people and it will take some work to get there. But when you arrive, decisions are easier, success is genuine and your life feels complete.

Let's begin this journey by looking at a compass designed for our Authentic Self. For easy recall, we'll still use the standard points: N, S, E, W. This compass serves as a manual for our expedition to Authentic.

N=Notice the Should's. Should's and their evil twin, Must, maneuver you away from your Authentic Self. They are danger words. Avoid them at all costs! If you find yourself using should or must in your life, you will be perpetually disappointed in your life. Because by speaking in should and must you measure your life against someone else's standard. This is a recipe for failure and frustration. Our Authentic Self is measured by our own internal standards.

S=Start with honesty. Do you speak truthfully and behave in a way which illustrates your personal integrity? Are you aware of how your mind speaks to you? When we begin all acts with our honest self facing forward we know that our subsequent thoughts and actions are worth following. Honesty honors your Authentic Self and others, anything else simply does not.

E=Envision your desires and wishes as essential. Think of them as powerful conductors. Desires and wishes are like leafy greens and healthful blueberries to our Authentic Self, essential foods for strong growth. When we accept our desires and wishes as crucial and do some dreaming about what it takes to bring them to fruition, we start the process of their actualization. This actualization is one of the ways that we nourish our Authentic Self.

W=Wander with your values in mind. Ramble along this journey with your 4-6 unique values in the forefront of your mind. They are essential to living your Authentic Self. Values are the reference points that you hold 'most personally meaningful in your life'. You use them to make decisions, act with confident trust and remind you of your Authentic Self. If you haven't attended Awaken Your Passion and unearthed your 4-6 values, email me for an activity that can get you jumpstarted on figuring out one of them.

With this compass in mind, you are ready to start your journey toward Authentic. Here's what you do next:

Plan at least one day (24 consecutive hours-travel not included) where you will be away from your home & office. Make this escape alone. Borrow a friend's beach house or her apartment while she is away at her beach house. Book yourself into a room at a hotel or retreat center. Many retreat centers are centered around individual time alone. Wherever you go, do not bring anyone with you. Do not spend time on food preparation. Elect to order room service or bring in take-out. If you are a foodie like me, pack some delicacies that you especially love.

Once you have made a date with yourself, plan your time away. Gas up the car in advance. Leave your cell phone in the car. Your family can manage for 24 hours without speaking to you. Keep your laptop at home. Turn off the phones in your new space. If you like colored pens or sharp pencils, bring those. Consider candles, bottles of cream soda, flowers or whatever else you would like to make this new space completely yours. Bring a blank notebook and something to write with. Make this time all about you. The important thing is to schedule this time and plan for your journey. Next time, we will discuss what we'll do on our Authentic retreat. Happy trails!

Bonus Challenge:If you are going to try this experiment, let me know I'll give you a little extra coaching before your retreat and after. And, I'll also send you a coupon for $50 off Personal Revolution!-A self-esteem retreat for women. Just for being a daring experimenter.

Elizabeth Johnson is a life coach who specializes in women's empowerment through authentic living. Elizabeth helps women recognize that everything in their life is a choice and by putting themselves first, clarifying their passions and values and by building self-confidence, they can have the life that they want. Her business, E. Johnson & Company offers personal growth workshops & seminars, coaching for individuals and groups, life / work planning services, speaking engagements and facilitated retreats. Subscribe to Elizabeth's *free* monthly ezine, In The Pink, and receive a *free* copy of her Women & Confidence survey results: 30 To learn more about Elizabeth, please visit

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