The Edge of Authenticity & Why We Must Find It

Last night I delivered a masterclass that went so epically sideways, I am still cringing slightly thinking about it. I am not cringing because it was a poor example of myself, my leadership, my business, or work – I am cringing because it was a full example of myself and leadership and business and work. 

You see, we are all constantly learning, growing, and evolving. I had a manager once (shout out Tina Gentile!) who used to say “we are learning as we go.” I have adopted this as an internal tagline to inspire myself to stay within the edge of my becoming; to inspire myself to constantly be pushing myself just a little further than I think I can handle – to step out of the predictable and known results, and into the experimental. 

When we can master living in the edge without losing our center, we expand. It is this experimental zone that really grows us, that really shows us what we are made of and how far we can go. It’s the good stuff. It’s the juice. 

When we can live in the edge of ourselves (our capabilities, our desires, our becoming), we must completely let go of what we believe we know, what we believe to be true, whoever it is that we think we are, whatever it is that we think we should be. That is, when we can live in the edge of ourselves, we are no longer ourselves. Because, we have morphed into beyond

If you believe yourself to be a good speaker, and you want to enhance your speaking abilities, you can’t keep doing the same presentations, to the same people, using the same methods. If you do, you are living in a zone of comfort that supports your identity as a good speaker. If you really want to enhance your speaking abilities, you have to first let go of the good speaker identity. You have to place yourself in the edge of your speaking capacity, that is, the place where you can no longer, with certainty, identify yourself as a good speaker. You must speak in a zone that provides space for you to learn. You must speak in a zone where a possible outcome is room for improvement

This zone is uncomfortable AF. And no one talks about it (especially when they are in it) because our culture has taught us that we must always be right, that we must always be perfect, that we can and should fail, but like, not in front of people. We know and understand that we are human, but again, not in front of people. So we grow, but we grow incrementally. We stay mostly in our comfort zone. Sometimes we push slightly beyond it. And we hold tight to whoever it is that we believe ourselves to be, so that we feel safe, and competent, and generally good at what we do. Because if we don’t, we will feel shame. 

Hence, why I felt and still feel a little cringe after delivering my latest masterclass. It’s not widely acceptable to present our full selves, no matter how much we exclaim that it’s safe and OK to do so. 

I actually cried as I kicked off the experience, and shared my backstory. While I spoke, I was feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and exhilarated. I thought to myself, “What are these people thinking right now? What would I be thinking if I were listening right now? Dear god, this goes against everything that I didn’t even know I believed to be true about business, professionalism, and delivering a masterclass.” 

It was part of the exact beauty of the in-between that I was trying to illustrate, I suppose. 

It was so vulnerable, and felt so raw, that I truly debated whether or not to post the replay. 

It challenged the way that I believed a professional business or an offering ought to be delivered. Though that gave me pause, it affirmed that I am exactly where I set out to be, and that I am doing the exact work that I set out to do. 

It’s not widely acceptable to present our full selves, no matter how much we express that it’s safe and OK to do so. If I felt cringe delivering an authentic experience in my own space – a space that I have built to be extremely safe and full of compassion, how on earth are people feeling when they go off-script in a boardroom, or with a customer

No matter how much we declare our workspaces (or any spaces) to be a safe place (where an entire human being and experience is accepted) everything about our culture and conditioning tells us otherwise. 

And while I am here to transform the way we work and do business, I suspect that if you are reading this, you may or may not be of decision making power. So I leave you with one simple thing that you can do, if you wish to create more safety in yourself so that you are able to truly live in the edge of your becoming:

  • Next time you pause when you feel a desire to move (e.g. to raise your hand at work, to try a new skill, to ask for what you need from your partner, etc.), ask yourself “Who do I believe myself to be?” and “What do I generally believe to be true about this construct?” Note your answers. Then ask yourself, “What really matters?”. Whatever that answer is, let that guide your next action. 

For example, I paused before posting The Inbetween Masterclass Replay to my community. I believed myself to be a professional business owner, who has her shit together. I believed that businesses have to be conducted a certain way, and that presentations are a part of business. I believed that whatever happened in that masterclass, was not an example of professionalism. I believed that I should hide this, in order to present to my clients a more polished version. But when I asked myself what really mattered, I knew that it was not polish, professionalism, or any way of doing business. What really mattered was opening up a candid conversation to normalize life transitions and to speak openly about how we lead ourselves through them. 

So, I posted the replay. 

And if you want to watch it, in all of its cringe glory, you can find it in my community ( under courses, 2022 Masterclass Replays. And if you aren’t a member yet (it’s free), joining is super simple & you can find all of my masterclass replays there.  

I referenced some links and resources toward the end of the masterclass. And for ease of access, you can find them here:

Thank you for your readership. If this edition triggered you, I invited you to share & subscribe.



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