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From the tender age of around two years – when we develop self-awareness – we start to behave in ways that will make other people happy. As we become exposed to people with different likes and dislikes, we adapt to please them in order to be accepted. It’s a fine skill set to develop, but unless you keep it in check, it can damage the authenticity and unbound-ness (yes, I invented a new word!) of your business.

Authenticity and the Entrepreneurial Mindset

One of the biggest reasons why people want to become entrepreneurs, is because they want to live more authentically. They want to do what they love, be their own bosses, and do things in ways that reflect who they are, intrinsically.

Yet, fear stops us from truly living that authentism in our businesses, because we don’t really know WHO WE ARE. We fail to develop that brand personality that shines from within ourselves. Instead, we start copying other brands, adopting it as our own.

Today, I want to advise you to stop being a copied version of someone else, because the world needs the unique gift that only you can offer. Your business will thank you for it.

7 Steps to Less Stress and More Achievement in Your Professional Life

Stepping out of your comfort zone and creating authenticity in your business is not difficult, but you need to be prepared to look to the inside and delve into your own thoughts and values. I will promise you one thing though – it is worth it!

Follow these steps to learn how to find your true self, underneath the layers you have developed:

1. Assess Your Values

An authentic life is developed on your intrinsic values and those beliefs that you hold dear. Your goals develop from your values.

Introspection will help you to identify your core values. When you know what your values are, you can make a commitment to work and live according to those values by setting your goals (both career and personal) to align with your values.

2. Mind the Gap

Most of us are aware of a gap between who were are at the moment, and who we want to be. We develop a mask to cope with relationships or situations, particularly in the workplace.

Write a list of qualities of the ideal you; words that reflect the person you want to become. You can measure that against who you are right now, and start working on one characteristic at a time.

3. Live with Unbound Integrity

Your integrity shows in the choices you make every day. Oh yes, it takes courage to learn to persevere with integrity. However, knowing who you want to be and do, based on your values, will help you intuitively make the right choices. The key is to listen to the little voice inside that tells you “something is wrong” when it comes time to make a decision.

Integrity means that you have to do what’s right, even when everyone else does what is wrong. It also means that you should take responsibility for your mistakes, making them right, and working on your shortcomings.

4. Be Honest and Gracefully Assertive

Honest communication is about more than not telling lies. It also means communicating directly – saying what you mean while at the same time respecting other people’s feelings. You can develop better communication skills and emotional intelligence by learning to avoid playing games and by speaking your mind instead of leaving cryptic hints.

Honesty is about keeping your promises, in life and in business.

5. Be Open-minded

Every day we encounter people who behave strangely. Just like they make assumptions about us, we also prejudge their behaviors and actions.

It’s important to to allow others’ actions to speak for themselves, rather than taking their words at face value. Be open-minded towards other people and you will find that they will certainly extend the same courtesy to you as well. Even if they don’t, you know that you have done your best – ultimately, that is all that matters.

6. Manage Your Emotions

People who live authentically consider the needs of others and they go out of their way to be courteous and respectful towards other people. When stressful situations occur, your authenticity will be tested. Do you have the inner strength to practice authenticity in stressful situations? Developing this skill will stand you in good stead in all aspects of your life and business.

7. Build Your Self-Confidence

In business, you will be under pressure from time to time to act in ways that don’t feel right to you. By building your self-confidence, you will develop the graceful assertiveness you require to stand your ground in precarious situations.

When you live authentically, and make authenticity the cornerstone of your business, you will find it easier to make business decisions. As a result, you will be less stressed, and find it easier to move from one goal to the next. Most importantly, you will achieve the goals you set, as guided by your core values.