I recently read an article on, “How to Be A Better Public Speaker, Like A Toastmasters’ World Champion” Aaron Beverly, our newest WCPS shared some advice with on being a more impactful speaker. You can read the full article here, but he mentioned authenticity a number of times, firstly to be your authentic self on stage, and not to be overly theatrical and to avoid using words that you don’t use in your everyday language.

Aaron’s words of advice really resonate with me, as there is a lot of discussion daily about being authentic and intentional. I feel that some discussions around authenticity become very complex and detract from my definition of authenticity as I prefer to keep things nice and simple.

The definition of authenticity is to be real or true, and I believe that authentic leadership is built through honest relationships, that are built on an ethics, compliance and integrity.

I am learning a lot about authentic leadership – trust and accountability, conflict and commitment. I try to put a few practical tips in place to ensure that I have time to reflect on my life and can grow and develop and become a more authentic leader. Id like to share a few of these with you:

1.      Recognize where you don’t have boundaries and then create them.

I had to get real with myself, and I encourage my friends to do so too. Do you let others ask too much of you? Do you always give when you are asked to give? Do you say yes to everything? Perhaps you need to set clear boundaries at work, or to stop taking work home with you. If you give more than you get you run the risk of fatigue and burnout. Put boundaries in place that will help keep you connected to your purpose.

2.      Unplug

Technology has become an incredible enabler over the years, and I am grateful for the ability to instantly connect with friends and family next door and 1000’s of miles away but I also find technology overwhelming sometimes. Technology can damage our relationships, sleep patterns and healthy eating & exercise regimes. I have made a concerted effort to unplug and not be on my phone or laptop for at least 4 hours during the day. I have also stopped charging my phone in my bedroom, next to my bed & my sleep patterns have improved dramatically.

3.      Do things you love

There is no doubt that I love Toastmasters, but it’s certainly not the only “thing” I love. I love to cook, I love my family, I love camping and gardening and I love many other things. We often make excuses that we can’t find time for the things we love. I acknowledge that if I could bottle time and sell it, I would be wealthy.  I decided about 4 years ago that I had to stop making excuses, if you love reading, go on read a book. If you love playing tennis, go and play game of tennis, but do something you love.

4.      Spend time outside

More and more people are suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency, which can be caused by lack of exposure from the sun. We spend so much time indoors, in artificial air and lighting.  I have found that by going into my small garden daily, watching the sunrise or sunset, watering my plants, watching and listening to the birds, spending some quiet time in open spaces, helps me feel reconnected with myself. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of how connected to nature we truly are.

I am sure that many of you have your own tools to know and reconnect to yourself, listen to your own thoughts, and be authentic, I’d like to hear about them, and reconnect to you as we all take more #onestepforward.

Nikkki Quinn DTM