The most important thing I learned this week about storytelling is authenticity. A writer friend of mine once told me, “you have to sound like a lot of other people, before you officially find your own voice,” and it always stuck with me. Getting to know oneself is often a gruellingly gradual, yet very important process. Only upon having a solid understanding of yourself can you truly learn to engage effectively with others.
I strongly believe that intelligent people can see through inauthentic mirages we present to them. It’s so much more fruitful to show people who you truly are and let them engage with that person – the interaction will be genuine, thoughtful and honest. Trust is a huge part of communication, and you can’t expect your audiences to trust you if you’re being a phony.
I’ve always prided myself on being approachable and I think I do this by showing people that I am not perfect. In today’s world it seems we’re all competing for the biggest and best trophies: battling in the online minefield and feeling constantly pressured to flaunt our successes and achievements. But I believe in showing your real self: the self that isn’t always perfectly put together. The self that occasionally makes mistakes and has lows. The self that makes monumental mistakes but doesn’t regret anything because each experiences brings a life-changing lesson. I believe the world would be a better place if we communicated with this level of raw radical honestly. When I think about my goals as a communicator I think about how I can make people smile and laugh in the face of life’s painful qualms. I want to make people feel less alone than I did. And the only way to do that is through being vulnerable, genuine and honest.