“Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second
man, hypocrisy begins." 

I'm a Fraud

There was a time, once upon a time when I tried to go an hour without telling a lie. An hour. I couldn’t do it.

I would fail consistently. I wanted people to see me differently or better than I was so I would tell one white lie after another. I justified it with the pressures of work, church, or relationships. Trained in corporate to basically “never let them see you sweat” and certainly to look the part at all times. So, I was a fraud and I was like many men, I was terrified of being found out.

Around the same time, I had committed to register my newly forming coaching business with the county by my October birthday. Problem was, I didn’t have a name. OK. I had heard that starting a business name with the letter “A” was a good strategy because you would generally be listed first in the phone book or yellow pages. I bit. I made a list of all “A” words that could possibly be a business name. The list is very long. 

When I saw the word authentic, I was immediately sold. It by no means reflected who I was—but it totally reflected what I wanted more of in the world. It’s no secret that what we rail against in the world (hypocrisy, lack of authenticity) is at the heart of what is going on with ourselves. 

At the time, I had no idea how inviting more authenticity into my life would rock my world—over and over again. Truth is, Authentic Development has become just as much a statement about me as it is about my work. It was like the universe saw my business name as a challenge. I imagine a group of spiritual beings looking at me with incredulity, throwing up their hands and saying…”well if that’s what he wants (authenticity), let’s give it to him.”

So the chances to grow my authenticity came like wildfire. I starting developing my own authenticity. Inauthentic people in my life started leaving in droves in painful ways. Authenticity became a practice. Something I could attempt to do in spurts. Every once in a while I would let more of the real me out and cringe—expecting the world to judge me. Some did. Many more didn’t. I wrote blogs about my real life expecting to be ridiculed. Not so much. I starting publishing poems with my newsletters because at my core I’m a poet. I expected my client list to dry up. It didn’t. It multiplied. 

Still today, I’m a fraud; a hypocrite. But hopefully I’m less of a fraud than yesterday. I’m also less terrified of being found out—not because there is nothing to be found out, but because practice has taught me that love is on the other side of people seeing the real me.

Will you join me in moving towards authenticity? What part of you are you afraid to let others see? Will you unveil it this week?

I invite you to join the conversation about choosing to live out your authenticity. I’ll be hosting the last webinar of November in my Practice Makes People series next week Tuesday at 11:30am CST on the Discipline of Authenticity. Please join us. Our conversations have been rich—completely non-salesly and full of laughter and deep conversation. Sign up here.



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Counting the Cost of My Inauthenticity

It cost me my first marriage 
Not a small thing 
Fifteen years 
Mostly good—sometimes amazing 
Mostly loving—I was deeply loved and so was she 
I thought I couldn’t be me 
And be there 
So I left 
I made choices I regret 
I have done harm beyond repair 
To her 
To me 
To our kids 
Not that simple 
But the essence is there 

My inauthentic heart 
Gave me my religion 
My need for rules to live by 
My belief in the only answer 
Twenty years of born again evangelicalism 

In that process 
It cost me my true spirituality 
My inclusive nature 
My deep love for everyone 
Including myself 

It still costs me as I fight the years of 
Training to exclude 
Training to judge 
Training to have the answer 
Training to fix—and not to love 

It cost me decades of living small 
I placed my ladder on the wrong building 
I climbed and climbed and found emptiness 
I hit my head against the wall 
Attempting authenticity 
Not knowing that my box was bigger 
Much bigger 

It cost me my only true dream 
The one that I feel deep in my deepest spots 
To be the best dad I could be 
To allow my kids to be all that they are 
To not get in their way 
To hear them say at the end of my life 
That I was everything they wanted from a father 
That they felt adored every minute 
That they knew without a doubt in their minds 
That I would give up everything for their hearts 

Avoiding the truth about me… 
Costs me 
It costs me all my dreams 
All my values 
All that I am becomes less 
When I don’t have the courage 
To pull out the mirror 
Look deep inside 

Poem by Ken Carlson
More poems here.

Want a partner in discovering YOUR AUTHENTICITY?

Are you ready to try something different to get something different?
Are you looking for someone to really listen to you, hold you accountable, help you discover your blind spots?
Oh--and give you a little butt kicking too!

Still not sure? Try our NEW coaching readiness survey here! It's a five-question survey that will show you if you are ready for coaching--and if you are ready for coaching with me.

Coaching is a powerful tool to evoke the changes that you most want for yourself. Authentic Leadership Coaching is for those that want to discover what might be possible. It is a three month commitment with the following benefits:

--An initial two-hour discovery session is included for your first session.
--Two powerful 45-minute sessions monthly for three months.
--Safe and courageous. You'll be challenged to go for it in a trusting space that we create together.

Reply to ken@authenticdevelopment.com, call 847-873-9559 or just make an appointment at https://authenticdev.youcanbook.me/ to get started. 

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