Self Expression - Finding Your Authentic Creative Voice
By Leo Gura - February 10, 2014 | 3 Comments
How to express yourself authentically and share your greatest gifts with the world.
One of the greatest joys in life is expressing yourself through your work, and doing it in an authentic way. The feeling you get when you put your true values, your true opinion on the line and you prevail, is incredibly rewarding.
Unfortunately most of us never tap into our authentic selves because of inner blocks like fear, worry, limiting beliefs, lack of knowledge, and crippling social conditioning.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about authentic expression because I’m trying to polish up my speaking style. I don’t just want to speak more clearly, smoothly, and articulately, I want to express my ideas more accurately. So the question I’ve been asking myself is, “How can I express myself more authentically?”
Listening to as many great self-help speakers as I do, I have numerous excellent examples to copy.
But I’ve been noticing this inclination to say, “Oh, I love that guy’s style, he’s so methodical, terse, and serious on stage. I should speak like that.” But then I’ll see another guy and think, “Oh, he’s even better. He’s so light-hearted, funny, and enthusiastic on stage. I should speak like that.”
But this inclination can be dangerous. I have to be careful that I don’t try to become somebody else, sacrificing my own values or mannerisms. At best I can be a decent somebody else, but that will not set me up for success commercially. Nor will it feel good to always be trying to live up to someone else.
Working Hard To Be The Real You
So far, this might all be obvious, but there is wrinkle here. Being your authentic self is not the same thing as being your current self.
It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that being authentic means just sitting back and not doing any work on yourself: “I’ll just be who I am. Done!”
Not so fast! The truth is just the opposite: to be more authentic, you need to do more work. You need to undertake a journey to discover who you really are, and that journey is full of trials and tribulations.
Being your authentic self is not easy. You are NOT your authentic self right now (unless you’ve already done A LOT of self-exploration). You are conditioned by media, society, limiting beliefs, fears, lack of experience, lack of knowledge, etc.
Don’t kid yourself. Finding your authentic voice, whether in business, in a relationship, or in your craft, is hard work. But it should be your life’s work, and it leads to deep rewards, so let’s get you on track!
Style Is An Advanced-Level Thing
One of the biggest lessons I took away from being immersed in the pick-up community for 2 years now is that style is an advanced level thing. You’re not supposed to have style when you start out, whether in pick-up or anything else.
What do I mean by style?
Well, in the case of a public speaker, it’s how he talks and carries himself on stage. In the case of a musician, it’s how he sings and performs in front of an audience. In the case of parent, it’s how she disciplines her unruly kid. And in the case of a pick up artist, it’s he approaches and interacts with a girl in a loud dance club.
When you start out in pickup, you have no style. You are too worried about not looking like a fool and too attached to getting the girl to like you to have enough brainpower left to care about anything else.
But as you go out more and more, and interact with more and more guys who are really good with picking up girls in bars and clubs, you start to see that each guy has his own techniques, mindsets, and mannerisms — in other words, style.
It’s an eye-opening experience because you see guys with totally different styles getting amazing results. But the key to keep in mind is that the guys who have style have been doing this for years. They’ve acquired style as they mastered the technical skills.
The Authentic You Is Magnetic
The other fascinating thing I noticed is how opposite styles still get amazing results. Some guys go in very sexual and aggressive, and they do great. Other guys go in very chill and laid-back, and they do great. And some guys go in very social and friendly, and they do great. How come? What’s really at work?
The reason different styles can be equally effective is because — on a more fundamental level — when you are being your authentic self, people get attracted. Your authentic self is magnetic, it’s captivating and refreshing. And this applies both for men and women, and not just to situations in the club.
When you are your authentic self in a company presentation, people gravitate towards you. When you are your authentic self in a conversation with someone at the grocery store, he/she gravitates towards you. When you are your authentic self in your craft — be it painting, music, writing, or programming — people gravitate towards you and your work.
This is why I seek deeper and deeper self-expression in my speaking. I want my work to be magnetic. And I want my work to be as fulfilling to me as possible.
What Rockstars Can Teach Us About Authenticity
I think the coolest perk of being a high-paid rockstar in the music biz is not the tons of cash, traveling around the world, the free-flow of groupies, the groveling fans, or access to exclusive parties, but the thrill of authentic self-expression. All the other stuff is superficial. The real gem is that a successful rockstar has found his authentic voice and expresses it every time he performs.
I often find myself driving in my car listening to the radio. When a good song comes on, I can’t help but wonder, “Oh man, I love how he signs those lyrics right there! I wonder if I could pull that off if was a rockstar.”
But then I realize, “Oh, that song was tailored to him!” He can pull it off because that’s his style. He’s perfected his style and that’s his brand. He even owns the imperfections and odd mannerisms. He found himself and he’s now sharing his voice with the world. And that is what’s truly attractive. That emotional energy, that enthusiasm, transfers into my brain right through the speakers.
If I were a rockstar, I would perhaps look up to the industry legends and try to attain their levels of success, but I would commit to doing it my way. I would do with my songs, my style. I couldn’t sing their songs and wear their mannerisms. The chances of me being a better copy of someone else are slim to none.
But the deeper insight is, Why do I want to? What a horrible existence to lead. The fulfillment is not in the external success but in sharing your unique gift (voice) with the world. That’s truly priceless. You can only earn that by undertaking the your own hero’s journey.
How To Find Your Authentic Style
Okay, all of the above may sound great, but how do you practically go about cultivating your authentic voice?
The first step is to become aware of this issue, as hopefully this article is doing for you right now. Understand and be sensitive to this idea that you need work to express yourself well to feel fully alive. Admit to yourself right now that you are not being authentically expressive enough. Admit that you have filters on that you need to work to remove.
The second step is to realize that style comes out of a process of mastery. How long have you been at your craft? 1 year, 2 years? That’s nothing. Real self-expression comes after 5, 10, 15, 20 years of disciplined work. So put your current position into perspective. Set the right expectations. Don’t worry too much about style if you’re still a newbie. What you need to pay attention to is simply practicing. Practice, practice, practice. And don’t quit to pursue something else.
The third step is to be more open-minded within your field. Stop thinking that you know best. Explore different styles, even if they seen unnatural. As a newbie, you just don’t have a very good sense of what will and what won’t resonate with you. Stop being prejudiced. Get hands-on experience with all the styles in your field so that you have seed-ideas for the future.
And lastly, don’t get caught up in hero-worship or envy. If you’re in a worthwhile craft or industry, you will surely come across grand-masters and legends who everyone worships. This is the case in every industry or craft, from painting to business to sports to music to underwater basket weaving.
Realize that you will be tempted to jump on the bandwagon and start worshiping just like the masses. Instead, acknowledge the greatness of what the masters before you have accomplished, but tell yourself, “What he did, I can do! I just need to apply myself. And my style will be unique. I will contribute in my own way.”
It’s okay to be inspired by the size of someone’s contribution to a field, or his proficiency to self-express — you can even seek to emulate the magnitude of his achievement — but don’t try to copy the style of the achievement. Your achievement will be greatest when spoken from a unique, authentic place from within you.
Okay, go out there and find your authentic voice! And let me know how it’s going for you.
Bottom Line: Commit to discovering your authentic voice. Pace yourself, explore different styles, honor your values, and remove your filters.
– Expressing yourself authentically is one of the keys to happiness. It’s also one of the life’s greatest joys.
– Copying styles in self-help public speaking
– Do NOT subbordinate your own values and vision
– Being your authentic self is NOT easy! This doesn’t mean you sit back and relax because you’re perfect. No, you have to work your ass of to express authentically because you have inner blocks and demons that must be slain.
– You are NOT your authentic self right now. You are conditioned by media, society, limiting beliefs, fears, etc.
– Look up to people, steal ideas, but don’t sacrifice your authentic strengths and mannerisms.
– You need to discover your authentic way of expression. It’s a process
– Style is an advanced level thing, lessons from pickup
– Style comes out after 5, 10, 20 years of practice
– Your real, authentic style is magnetic
– Don’t worry too much about style at the start, you will get there naturally with time.
– Explore different styles just so you know the field and have seed ideas
– Authentic expression come out of mastery
– Musicians: rockstars express authentically, they’ve found their voice. And that’s unique, original, and authentic.
– The real perk of being a rockstar is that you get to go and self-express
– Let yourself follow your passions and tastes, explore different styles, be patient with developing your own style if you’re just starting out, own your mannerisms.