Word-Of-the-Week #810: Virtuous

February 13, 2020 by  

Virtuous having good qualities or ways of behaving.

Would you say you are open, honest and true? Have you ever been told to “tone down your personality? How did that make you feel?

This week features the 2nd half ofThe Secrets of Being Authentic (and Why It’s Important)” by Jamie Friedlander at Success.com.

To Recap: “Being authentic boils down to one concept: trust. Be truthful to who you are. Tell the truth. It really comes down to being you. It’s having the confidence to be you.

Don’t be afraid to tell people what you believe in. Don’t think you need to straddle the line to please all of your friends, family or clients. Stay firm on your values and beliefs.”

  • Forces Within

“In attempting to appear open, honest and true, some people might inadvertently create a false sense of authenticity. Thacker believes both external and internal roadblocks stand in the way of becoming truly authentic. 

The external forces are environmental—say, worrying your boss might think you’re not competent if you tell her you’re uncomfortable with a particular project, or feeling concerned that your husband will be hurt if you tell him how you really feel about his relationship with his brother. 

Internal forces are more ingrained and much more difficult to overcome. For example, if you’re a naturally gregarious and extroverted person and someone told you to tone down your personality early in your career, you might have dialed it down too much. If you’ve squelched it for long enough, it will be much more difficult to bring your true self back. 

“Stepping back and examining those habits of mind that are internal is a powerful step,” Thacker says. “Our internal barriers are often harder to move than the external ones.”

  • Double-Edged Sword

Because people in leadership positions are among the most scrutinized, being vulnerable, honest and letting go of the “perfect” image can be challenging. But conversely, these are the people authenticity matters most for because it goes hand-in-hand with trust. Leaders who are kind to others are often seen as more authentic. 

“Embracing your weaknesses and your quirks is just as much a part of being authentic as embracing your strengths.”  

“I think [authenticity] does fundamentally come back to this: If I’m going to follow you, if I’m going to take a risk, if I’m going to put hard work and effort into a vision that you’re throwing out, can I trust you’re also looking out for me? Can I trust that you’re a kind person?” Thacker says. 

The kindness and trust a leader emanates will ripple through one’s entire organization. 

“When you see somebody else do something kind, what happens for you?” Thacker asks. “When you see somebody else do something you know is selfless, how do you feel in that moment? The scientists call it a feeling of elevation. I call it a virtue buzz. I think the vast majority of us want to be around goodness. We want to be around higher virtues like curiosity, kindness and honesty.” 

Whichever virtues leave you buzzing, keep in mind that no matter who else is around, your constant companion is yourself. So like who you are (or grow into the person you want to become) and enjoy the company.”

This week’s focus is on being virtuous. Would you agree that the vast majority of people want to be around goodness? Are you willing to be vulnerable and let go of being perceived as perfect? Would your family, friends, co-workers, and customers say you are curious, honest and kind?

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