Authenticity. There’s a buzz word if ever there was one, and a buzz word I never really gave much thought to until recently. I just got things back on track after a very rough six months. Looking back, I realize that the key to figuring out this crisis was getting in touch with my authenticity. Somehow I had lost touch with what truly mattered to me. Reconnecting with my authenticity has helped me to get my work back on track and I feel so much more confident and fulfilled as a result.
This started back in June when, after a particularly busy and successful period of work, things came to a grinding halt. Eventually I learned that Post-Creation Depression is a thing. At the time I just felt adrift and didn’t know what to do with myself, so I made a strategic plan for my work. I just kept going until my summer holiday When I returned to work in September I just couldn’t get my head into my work. It didn’t have the same shine it used to. I felt like I wasn’t helping anyone and I wasn’t interested in what I was doing. I felt a little lonely. Because of the strategic plan I had written I was very focussed on marketing and overly concerned with making a huge impact. I felt oddly competitive. I was focusing on building a reputation rather than what was important to me and what I am good at. I had forgotten about authenticity.
Looking back, I now understand I wasn’t being true to myself. I lost sight of why I do and temporarily forgot that I am passionately committed to building great libraries. While working on my strategy was the right thing to do at that time, I think maybe it clouded my vision–which is kind of weird because strategy is supposed to be clarifying. But the problem was there is no mention of my passion in this plan. It lacks authenticity!
How did I get back on track? Running was definitely part of it. I spent some time in quiet contemplation on my runs. Seeing that I could steadily improve towards a goal helped me get my confidence back. So much so that I can now write about the struggle I experienced. I also took the advice of a colleague in my Mastermind group and reached out to others in the field. And I am actively looking for new and different ways to make a contribution, which may mean leaving consulting for a more traditional job.
Watching this conversation between Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert was also really helpful. In it they discuss creativity and its relationship to authenticity and confidence. When I watched this I had mostly worked through my struggle and was feeling more at peace with my work–more authentic–but watching this definitely was the final piece of the puzzle to get me back on track.
By focusing on my authenticity I have noticed an uptick not only in the quality of my work but also the demand for it. I once again feel proud of the work I do and feel excited to do it.