Introverted Feeling (or what we’ve nicknamed Authenticity) is the part of us that asks, “Does this feel right to me?” When we need to make a decision that is true and honest to who we are, it’s Authenticity that guides us. When you understand how an action or word will impact the subjective human experience or when you feel conviction, you’re using Authenticity as decision-making criteria.
There is a famous story in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible where three young gentlemen are faced with either giving worship to a god they believe is false (according to the religion and culture of their youth), or dying in a fire. Their conscience does not allow them to do even a single act of worship and so they are thrown into a huge furnace. In the story, an angel is said to protect them from death as reward for their loyalty.
The magical elements of this story aside, the willingness to die for a conviction or belief is at the heart of Authenticity.
Authenticity-driven people are far more driven by personal conviction than any other consideration. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to motivate an Authenticity person unless they are personally touched or inspired. Once committed, however, they are a powerhouse and oftentimes unstoppable.
This often takes them in idealistic directions, believing something to be possible because they first felt it on the inside. Outside considerations are not nearly as interesting or compelling as internal feelings, and so they are often strangers – or even blind – to metrics. Something can be done because they believe it can, and others will stand in disbelief as an Authenticity person moves mountains to accomplish a vision.
At best, Authenticity is a true inspiration to others, congruent with all of their inner voices and aligned toward a mission.
At their worst, Authenticity people are fickle, unable to tell the difference between something feeling ‘wrong’ or it simply feeling ‘bad’. Unable to deal with any internal negativity, Authenticity can become impossible to please and project all their internal discomfort onto friends and family.
In order to make the best decisions, Authenticity people should remember a couple of things. First, believing in yourself and in the power of convictions is your gift, but it can easily turn ugly if idealism is all you can accept. The best way to keep you from entering an unhappy world of disappointment is to keep a strong grip on reality. Ask yourself what is actually happening, not simply what you would like to be happening. A good exercise is to remove the word “should” from your vocabulary and your internal dialog, replacing it with the word “is.”
Be careful not to mistake convicted for right. There are times when you may believe something to the core of your being and still be wonderfully and fabulously wrong. Keep an open mind and stay observant. You can make amazing things happen as long as you don’t lose your grip on reality.
Authenticity people tend to have a blind spot in Effectiveness.
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