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New Year 2024: If You Want to be Genuinely Authentic Knowing Yourself Really Matters

Knowing yourself and staying true to your inner core is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself in order to live free and with joy. What a fantastic way to begin the new year.


When your authenticity is clear in your life, you are acting in service of yourself. This enables you to live true to yourself and build your resilience. Knowing who you are and being in love with and proud of who you are will fuel your ability to move confidently toward your north star and confidently fulfill your purpose. When you’re doing that, nothing gets in your way.

Getting to know your inner self is vital to defining your authenticity. This stems from understanding your core values, beliefs about yourself, and personal strengths. You need to figure out what makes you you so that you can use that information to define your purpose in life.

As written previously, your authentic self is sometimes below the waterline of the iceberg. Looking for your core values, your strengths and beliefs requires you to "dive deep" within yourself.

Iceberg image of core values, strenghs, beliefs copy

Identifying Your Values

Your core values are the guardrails between which you steer through life. They are the principles that determine your behavior. Your values are uniquely yours, and they are behind all of your day-to-day decisions. They drive your motivation and fuel your understanding of your intrinsic worth to yourself.

Core values are what you hold dear about who you are and how you choose to engage with the world and with yourself. They are the things that you consider important to your self-worth, self-motivation, and understanding of how you want to live your life.

Finding your values involves visiting important moments and beliefs in your life and evaluating how they affect you now. Investigate what has become important to you. Ask yourself questions and be honest with yourself about the answers. Self-reflection is the key to this step, which is why it’s a good idea to do this with a trusted friend or to hire a coach. Having someone to listen and make observations can help you talk through and identify the key information you need to reflect on.

Identifying Your Beliefs

Beliefs are easily influenced. It’s possible—common, in fact—for people to hold false beliefs about themselves fueled by negative experiences and feedback. I define belief as a process of evidence-searching in your reflections about yourself. What do you believe about yourself as a person, and why?

“Evidence” in this context refers to the memories that support your beliefs. For instance, if you believe you’re a smart person, you can probably point to achievements in school and work as evidence that supports this belief.

It should be noted that beliefs are not necessarily based in values. For example, you can believe you’re a funny person without humor being a strong value you hold. Values are what you think is important when engaging with the world; beliefs are evidence of some of your core strengths (and weaknesses) at play. When you see your core strengths working, they show up as beliefs about yourself.

Identifying Your Strengths

Core strengths are your skills and abilities, conceptualizations of what you are good at in your engagement with the world. They indicate the things that you like to do and how you prefer to engage in the world.

Several great industry-standard resources already exist to help you identify your core strengths. Via quick online assessments, they ask dozens of scientifically designed questions and immediately collate your responses. It will be a far more efficient use of your time to visit one of these sites than to answer in print a list of questions I provide. Anyway, that’s what I do with my clients! Here are my favorites:

  • VIA Character Strength Assessment

  • Gallup StrengthsFinder—CliftonStrengths

  • High5 Strengths Finder

There are a ton of other options out there as well. If you want to dive deep, I recommend using a few different ones and looking for common patterns in the results.

Identifying Your Purpose

It’s important to find the connections between your core values, beliefs, and strengths because those are what you use to craft your purpose, which is vital to living your most authentic life. You have to define your purpose with the best of yourself.

For some, this is easier said than done. Occasionally, someone’s personal strengths will align directly with their values in name. For example, a person who values curiosity and learning might find that learning is one of their main strengths. But oftentimes, the connection is not so direct. You have to do the work to connect your values and beliefs to your strengths by seeing both the black and white core values that drive you and the evidence about yourself.

Considering your purpose takes reflection and integration of values, strenghts and beliefs about oneself

Purpose is a unique source of spiritual energy and power. It can be the north star that helps you focus and find direction in this life. Your purpose fuels your passion and perseverance. When your purpose is clear, it puts you in what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a state of flow.

Living in Your Flow

Flow refers to those moments when you’re completely absorbed in a challenging but doable task. It’s often described as “being in the zone,” where time passes quickly, personal performance or productivity is at optimal levels, and your state of happiness increases. In Csikszentmihalyi’s words, flow is “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”

It is often when we connect with the deepest part of ourselves—through our values, beliefs, and strengths—that we can tap into our flow, a state that can help propel our purpose.

That energy you use when you’re in flow is aligned with who you are. In that state, everything becomes easier—including overcoming adverse events, obstacles, and stressors—because you know exactly who you are, and you can stay true to that by acting in service of yourself.

For more advice on how to find your authenticity, you can find Your Real Life on Amazon.


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