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  • Writer's pictureRipley Fletcher

Speaking in my own voice

I’m not a fan of buzzwords, because they often get banded about, but I’m going to use one now. And it’s authentic. People have banged on about authenticity for a few years now and I’ll be honest, until now, I didn’t really get it. How could you not naturally be authentic? Who else could you be but you?

Yeah, I was wrong, you could be very much not you and not even realise. If you asked people who knew me, they’d say I‘m outspoken and speak my mind, and I did, a bit. Just not that much.

Luckily, something has shifted and in the year that I turn 50 years old.

I feel I’m getting the hang of this authenticity thing. And it’s subtle. Now that I’m my own boss, I don’t have to fit any mould of what to think, or I’m told I should be. I don’t have to adapt to the team, or tow the line, and that left a gap for me that I didn’t know was there. I’m left to my own devices, and after a lifetime of rules and structure that was handed to me, I’m making my own, and it’s not in the area I’d have guessed. It’s not about productivity or motivation, it’s in the voice and the words that I use. And from the words that I use, comes a behaviour change too.

When I don’t have to fit someone else’s pattern, I don’t have to make excuses as to why I’ve deviated from it. A lifetime of accepted corporate behaviour- don’t be overly honest in case you offend someone or actually say you’ve made a mistake, or just forgot, or don’t actually want to. Don’t admit you weren’t listening to the conference call because it’s boring so you’re scrolling Facebook, so you say the other person was ‘breaking up,’ so can they repeat it.

The big difference now, is that not only would I say that I’d drifted off and wasn’t listening, but I wouldn’t go on the fucking call anyway. I’m happy to admit I messed up someone’s Zoom invite, so I’ll send another. I’ve posted the wrong video on Instagram, so I’ll just change it. I’m not going on the thing they invited me to, because I fancy doing something else or just don’t want to. And that’s not me bucking the system, as it were, it’s just me being honest, and putting my own opinion, and what I think is right, before other people’s opinion of me.

The other change this has brought about, is how often I just observe stuff going on around me, without judging it. I don’t have to affect everything. I can just let it be. When I drop the attachment to what someone thinks about me, I can just go with the actual truth, rather than changing the story.

I can just be my authentic self. And I can say that and know what that means now.

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