Why I Don’t Like The “C” Word
There’s a word I’ve come to be highly suspicious of. The “C” word. Whenever I hear it, I’m alerted to be careful of what’s coming next. Because what’s next may be pretty unpleasant. What’s the “C” word I’m talking about? No, not THAT one. Compromise.
To Compromise or To Be Compromised – That is The Question
Compromise has two very different meanings. One is supposed to be an admirable way to achieve an acceptable outcome to a conflict. But the other definition is more accurate in many applications:
Compromise (verb): to accept standards that are lower than is desirable.
Often, when we compromise it means we’ve given up something that’s important to us. Sometimes, perhaps often, that can mean we’re accepting things that are lower than is desirable. And that’s where the challenge is.
Compromise vs. Authenticity
In the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about authenticity. About how being authentic is a desirable characteristic. But in doing life, being authentic, being true to ourselves, is often at odds with the demands of being a part of our human world. Too often, in the end authenticity loses out to compromise.
In your personal life but also especially in your professional life, there frequently seems to be a conflict. On the one hand, there are your goals and aspirations. On the other, there’s your values and beliefs. And the paths to either don’t seem to follow the same map. So how do you resolve the conflict? Do you compromise? Do you sacrifice your goals and aspirations? Or betray your values and beliefs?
The Journey To Authenticity
In reality, choosing to be authentic may not be a destination, but more of a journey of it’s own. In her book “The Art of Authenticity,” author Karissa Thacker says that the more you contemplate authenticity in the small moments, the greater the liklihood you would be ‘in shape’ to behave authentically in the big, defining moments. And as always, it begins by asking questions. She poses these as a start:
- What are my strengths?
- How do I work best?
- What are my values?
- Where do I belong?
- What can I contribute?
From that basic examination of self, you then build on and interact with the outside world. Until, ultimately, there is complete congruency. In the extreme, being authentic means that we observe what is appropriate for each given moment. Our actions are not dictated by conditioning, fears or expectations. Every moment is unique and cannot be predicted, nor can the outcome of our actions. But again, we live in the real world, and it’s more like building the muscles of authenticity rather than claiming a title.
The Real World Test
Theory is always so . . . theortical. But what about the real world? Ms. Thacker suggests the following seven steps to authenticity:
- Try a new behavior as opposed to just thinking about it.
- Write down on a scale of 1-10 how effective it was. Did it work?
- How did it feel to you on an internal level? Was it awkward?
- If you were to do it again, what would you do differently?
- What did you learn?
- Where else might this new behavior work or not work?
If you have a real interest in moving away from compromise and into being authentic, you’ll want to check out her book. In both your personal and professional life, living authentically holds the keys to much greater satisfaction. And, not surprisingly, it’s evident that it also leads to greater success.
ABOUT DR. KARISSA THACKER
Karissa is founder and president of Strategic Performance Solutions Inc., a management training and consulting firm dedicated to elevating people to reach their highest potential and career satisfaction. Over the past two decades Karissa has done just that for countless individuals, working with nearly half of the Fortune 500® companies to drive performance and leadership growth. She specializes in executive coaching and development that balances on-the-job performance with the need for sustained personal fulfillment.
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