If you ask my son to tell you his story after he’s lost a football match he’ll probably say that his life is terrible, and start enumerating different episodes to confirm this.
If you ask one of your colleagues at work to tell you their story they’ll probably adapt the story according to their mood and what’s going on in their head at the time.
The story we tell is a choice. My story on a rainy day is as authentic as my story on a sunny day. It’s good to know that there’s not only one authentic story about ourselves. We can choose our story according to what we want to create and who we’re telling it to.
Being authentic is an invitation to live our lives as who we are, in our full potential, in every moment. Authentic stories don’t require emotional moments and personal dramas: we can look beyond how we feel right now and what’s happened in our lives, and aim higher for the sake of making a contribution.
Authentic stories are personal in that they help us to embrace who we are. Think about Dove, Nike, and Armour’s commercials: these brands want to tell authentic stories by embracing the part of us that feels discomfort and embarrassment about being who we are. Dove uses the female body image, Nike racial discrimination, and Armour you don’t fit here.
You don’t need to tell your personal story to tell an authentic story. It’s not revealing more about your life that makes people trust you more. Stories that convey authenticity talk about how you show up day after day in a way that, while it doesn’t necessarily fit in, creates value for you and for others.