by Linda-Ann Stewart
Recently, I was watching a video podcast interview of a
business coach. I was inclined to like him, as his promotional materials
indicated that we shared values of being heart-centered, spiritual, and
purpose-driven. However, as I watched the podcast, my inner alarms were
clanging. I felt something was off between what he claimed to believe and
teach, and what I was actually seeing on the podcast.
There was a definite conflict between what he was saying,
and how he was acting. He said all the right things, but his unconscious
reactions to the discussion and questions were contradictory. They showed that
his values were quite different from those he espoused. Because of that, he
lost all credibility with me and my interest in pursuing any kind of business
relationship with him.
Be Wary of Inauthentic
Haven’t you ever encountered someone like that? Someone who
seems to be in alignment with your values, but it’s just a mask? This can happen
in your personal and professional life. You’re drawn to an acquaintance, but they’re
always late to coffee or never show up. A business colleague collaborates with
you, but you do all the work and they get all the credit.
If you’re not prepared, the inauthentic person can take
advantage of you and leave you the poorer for it. They can undermine your
self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect and sabotage your progress in every
area of your life. They can also make you doubt yourself and your perceptions.
It’s sometimes difficult to detect the inauthentic person,
especially when their reputation sings their praises. Other people have been
taken in by their charm. Don’t let them sway your emotions. They’re probably
very good at manipulating your feelings for their purposes. Listen to your
intuition and don’t get drawn into their self-promotion.
Everyone hides pieces of themselves to be able to deal with
their society and culture. For instance, if you’re an artist, you wouldn’t wear
bohemian clothes to your job at the bank. Or when your mother-in-law visits and
claims her son loves her goulash, but you know he doesn’t. It wouldn’t be good
for family harmony for you to tell her the truth.
The difference is a person’s intention. A truly inauthentic
person is deliberately insincere and wants to project an entirely different
personality to fulfill their agenda. They may need approval, acceptance,
control, status, money or power and the only way they think they can gain it is
through playing a role.
Here are some behaviors that people have when they are inauthentic
They don’t walk their
talk. They say one thing and act contrary to what they say. For instance,
in the podcast, the coach said he wasn’t trying to sell anything and just
wanted to share information. But he constantly pushed his services hard and
disparaged anyone who didn’t use them.
They try to impress
or intimidate you. There’s a difference between benign self-promotion and
boasting that they’re better than anyone else. A person can show how their
talents, skills and decisions set them apart without being a braggart. When
they keep telling you how great they are, be wary.
They need flattery
and attention. Wanting appreciation is normal. Needing constant praise and
approval shows a lack of self-confidence. They need external reassurance that
They treat people
like commodities. They consider that people exist only to fulfill their
wants and needs. Even though they act like they’re kind and giving, it’s very
calculated. There’s always a major payoff for them.
They get defensive
and aggressive. When they don’t get what they want, they attack the person
who has withheld it. The coach belittled a caller who questioned his process.
The coach took it as a personal attack, when the caller just wanted
Keep your distance when you meet an inauthentic person. If
it’s someone in your inner circle, like a relative or coworker, minimize
contact as much as possible. Unfortunately, they cannot be trusted with your confidences.
When they don’t get what they want from you, they’ll lose interest and find
someone else who will fulfill their need.
Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone, pay
attention. You’ll notice when something is out of alignment. Let them go, and
move on. Because of your new awareness, you’ll start noticing people who are
genuine and sincere. These folks are the ones you can trust.
The One Life within me guides and directs me into safe and appropriate relationships. I listen to the still, small voice from within that whispers to me, letting me know who is an authentic person and who is not. I bless all people, no matter who they are. But I choose to spend time and energy with those who are trustworthy, genuine and sincere.