As time goes on we naturally change, and sometimes the way we perceive ourselves doesn’t change in sync with our real selves. This can be extremely problematic because the way that we see ourselves dictates how we act in this world.
We all know people who have fallen victim to this scenario. Perhaps the guy who is always talking about how generous he is yet he never picks up the tab or wants to participate in the company charity. When we meet people like this, we automatically view them as an imposter and it is impossible to trust them. In order to be authentic we need the story that we tell ourselves, and our behaviors to match. This is crucially important if we desire to be strong, effective leaders.
If you discover that there is a mismatch between your self-image and reality, don’t panic; be grateful for this opportunity to find clarity. You essentially have three solutions to this problem.
- Accept your real self and alter your self-image
Pulling from the example above, this would mean realizing that actually you don’t enjoy or don’t have enough time or money to spend on other people. You would need to accept this and be happy knowing that you can remain mainly focused on taking care of yourself over others and all the results that come from that.
- Redefine reality and trick yourself
You can ignore reality and lie to yourself about what it really means to be generous. You can forget about all the times that you decline to help out others out and only focus on the rare moments when you have to do something for someone.
- Adjust your habits and lifestyle
If you want to keep your self-image as a generous person, you need to make some big changes to your behaviors and values. You would need to actively make an effort to do things for others.
It may not always be easy to identify the areas in your life in which your self-image and actions are out of sync, but you can discover these discrepancies by simply asking your peers or friends something like, “What are the things that I do that don’t go along with the things that I say?” The answers you’ll get from this question could majorly impact your life or at least help you to improve yourself and guide you on your journey to becoming a skilled and authentic leader.