Top 5 Tips to Embracing Authenticity

Kevin JonasHave you ever gotten in your head and over analyzed a situation? I see it happen often during the job interview process. I’ll never forget one former NYU MBA student who I coached on the interview. As soon as he started the mock interview, he put on what I call the Interview mask.  The persona that you think the future employer is looking for.

I even tried to trick him into not knowing that he was being interviewed, but as soon as he realized it he went from being a normal human in a conversation to a robotic “I am now a candidate, I am interviewing” and stiffened up. His whole demeanor changed from relaxed to extremely ridged, he lost his smile and interviewing became painful not just for him but for the company to figure out who he was.

I did a screen test for the TV show and thought it went well. Then I got in my head. I started thinking maybe they want more of a personality like Judge Judy or I needed to be edgier. I did two more screen tests and let’s say the third one wasn’t my best.

A few days later I found myself at a conference talking to Kevin Jonas who had just appeared on Celebrity Apprentice. I asked him if he had any advice about reality TV. And he gave me the perfect answer, “just be yourself.”  You would think someone who wrote a book founded on the Law of Authenticity wouldn’t need this reminder – but clearly I did.

This in-authenticity often rears up when something is important to us; sometimes it is hard to stay our authentic selves. Here are a few ideas to help you (and me) next time you want to put on the “mask.”

  1. Build Rapport. This I did well! I had a great email exchange with the first casting director before we even spoke so by the time we did chat, I felt like we were already friends. Put yourself and anyone else at ease with a little chit chat.
  2. Trust Yourself. I fared ok on this one as well. They found me on google so that meant I was doing something right. I had the credibility, expertise and passion – where I fell off was in the translation to the little screen. Realize and trust that you are in the place you are for a reason – you earned it.
  3. Breathe: I definitely need to get better at this one. People who know me well know I exist at abnormally fast speeds and sometimes that translates to very fast, hard-to-follow talking. Before you enter the situation (or speak) take a moment and breathe. It will help calm your nerves and direct your focus.
  4. Don’t Try, Just Be. Now this might be easier said than done but it is true. The real you is always the best you. I had to re-learn that lesson once again.
  5. Realize It’s A Process. Sometimes when you want something you build it up as if it is the only chance. It never is. Even if the answer is no, don’t let it be the end of the connection.

So what happened you wonder? Well I finally understand the saying at the Oscars, “It was an honor just to be nominated!” I didn’t get the role.

Don’t be sad for me, I have a call with the casting director next week – I am following tip #5.  I also had someone else approach me for a different TV project. By following tip #4 I already made the cut and we are on to the next phase.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips to Embracing Authenticity

  1. Congratulations, Michelle!

    I sign all my emails with “breathe” as a reminder to tap into the natural calm and flow that is always available to you.

    Here’s a helpful breathing exercise to prepare you to speak.
    Sit up straight using core muscle with your head on top of your body – earlobes over shoulders.
    Soften your jaw muscles and let the mouth drop open.
    As the mouth releases open, feel the breath dropping all the way to you bottom.
    Release the breath.
    Repeat, repeat, repeat.


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