Being Authentic: "The only thing you have to offer is you."

Being Authentic: "The only thing you have to offer is you."

The only thing you have to offer is you. ... If it’s truthful to who you are and you’re concerned how people are going to react to it, stick up your middle finger and charge into that fire. You have to. If you’re trying to be a provocateur just to be a provocateur go f* yourself. That’s the bad stuff; it’s not real.

The quote was Darren Aronofsky’s response to the question on The Tim Ferriss Show: What advice would you give a filmmaker who doesn’t fit into the widget factory of movie making?

I pulled over my car to note the time on the podcast. I knew that I had to capture his words to include in this blog. His advice applies to you. It’s that important.

Your Human Value Proposition outlines why you matter, what you are known for. There are four things I listen for in your Human Value Proposition:

  1. Is it bold?
  2. Is it compelling?
  3. Is it unique?
  4. Is it authentic?

Aronofsky’s advice speaks clearly to the need authenticity, for being your real self. It also points out the real fear of being judged for that authenticity.


When coaching, I consistently speak about the need for personal authenticity. Hillary Clinton, for example, spent decades being inauthentic with us playing the role of First Lady. I know that I saw a whole new woman when she stepped out as the Secretary of State. Hillary as Secretary of State was herself; she was the First Lady of nothing. Do I think the years of hiding her true self-hurt her during her campaign? Absolutely. And this idea of authenticity doesn’t stop in politics. Think of any person (man or woman) who you unabashedly admire - isn’t there a consistency and realness to who they are, even when that realness isn’t always a positive trait? Just a few that quickly come to mind.

Steve Jobs

Oprah Winfrey

Larry Ellison

Betsey Johnson


And yes, I know there’s a big “but.” Being unapologetically authentic can be terrifying. Terrifying because yes, someone might judge. And, as Aronofsky colorfully mentioned, don’t try to be different just for the sake of it. That act, in itself, is inauthentic.

Trust me on this one. Pay attention to those moments when you’re your best self, those moments when you’re on a roll. Those moments when you’re fabulously you in whatever the environment. What are you doing or saying when that but they might judge voice is silenced? By noticing what actions and conversations manifest your authentic you, will allow you to start to be able to describe your authentic you. And with those words, you can start figuring out your Human Value Proposition, why you are awesome.

When you believe you’re awesome, isn’t charging into that fire much easier?

Believe me. It is.

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