Monday, August 15, 2011 · 12:27pm ET


Posted by: Harold Byne

This above all:  To thine own self be true, 

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man         Shakespeare – Hamlet

I love the “Dove for Men – Journeys to Comfort” television commercial series, where the professional athlete gets up front and personal. A favorite is Brendan Shanahan, talking about his early years, his start in hockey, his marriage and family life, and the experience hoisting the Stanley Cup. The commercial ends with the Dove tag line – “I’m Brendan Shanahan and I’m comfortable in my own skin”

I like these commercials because I personally know the experience of notbeing comfortable in my own skin, and I know the dramatic difference of arriving at that place. I also know from working with people in a coaching capacity, that so many are struggling with this, and have been all their lives. The human experience can be a very unhappy place when a person is desperately reaching for some idea of success, and trying to get there without first arriving at the place of personal authenticity.

There are many and varied definitions of success, but the bottom line is and will always be – Can I look in the mirror, and value and validate myself for who I am? Do I genuinely like the person looking back at me? Am I being true to myself? In reality, the ultimate gift I have to give to the world, is the gift of myself, and without authenticity, that gift is counterfeit. On the other hand, when I am able to be me … authentic, true to my core, living that authenticity out on a daily basis, there is great power, potentiality, and the possibility of real success.

I would like to make five suggestions for working toward this authenticity. Practicing these will set you on the journey to being comfortable in your own skin, and it won’t matter what soap product you are using.

  • Turn off the noise. Everyone has an agenda for you. You are bombarded every day with messages that if you listen to them, they will leave you in an unsettled state of confusion. You must filter out that noise, and replace it with what you know to be true about you, about life, about your business, etc. The voice inside must be stronger than the push and shove of the noise, or you will never be comfortable in your own skin.
  • Beware of the “bull”. Everywhere we go, we are subjected to people trying to convince us of how great and accomplished they are. This is the culture of the business environment, the sales conference, networking groups, even Sunday morning church. How often have you come way from listening to the rhetoric, asking yourself, “what is wrong with me?” You gotta know, the swagger and pretense you hear, is a cover-up for the fear of exposure. It simply illustrates most people are not comfortable in their own skin.
  • Embrace the questions. There is nothing more important in the journey to authenticity than the self-discovery that comes from engaging lifes real questions. It is at the point of your questions that you will learn to become who you really are. Only when you embrace and engage the questions, can you discover and embrace your true self. Being comfortable in your own skin means you are no longer afraid to ask the probing questions.
  • Pick up a pen. I believe in the value of journaling. I believe it to be my most important daily discipline. It is in writing it down, that I am able to work through my questions, clarify my thinking, assess my options, understand my opportunities and discover my personal unqueness. This is why I am constantly encouraging the people I work with, to embrace this daily discipline. Try it, it is a valuable tool in the quest to becomfortable in your own skin. (I’d like to email you a brief article I wrote entitled – “Developing the Rhythm of Journaling” – email
  • Engage some risk. I will never get comfortable in my own skin, until I get some skin in the game. I have to step out of my box, push through my comfort zone, and risk my vulnerability. There is nothing in life that compares to the gratification and sense of fulfillment that comes from taking a risk and in so doing, knowing you have been true to yourself.

Our world is full of “wanabes” and pretenders, immatators and imposters. On the other hand we know the experience of encountering a truly authentic person. In a business world of product branding and grandiose promises, we really want to do business with someone who is authentic and real. In a world of strained and broken relationships, we want and need that connection with someone who is genuinely
and uniquely themselves. We want someone comfortable in their own skin, and deep down we know that the pre-requiste is to be comfortable in ours.           HByne


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