I was sitting the in the car driving a “professional drummer” to the music store to get some stuff before the concert. I was young and was helping set up a band for a concert they had that night. Being a hack drummer at the church made me feel like I was a real musician, but to be in the car with a guy who was getting paid to play was too much for me and I was trying very hard to sound cool. Talking “drummer” talk was my plan and I know I was coming on too strong. The guy was nice but he probably got tired of me and so he started talking to me in real drummer language and then he asked me a detailed question. I froze! I had no idea what he was talking about and I was busted. He let me sweat it out for a minute and then started laughing and saying he was just yanking my chain. My smile was forced and I learned a valuable lesson that day about being authentic.
One of the definitions of the word authentic is genuine. In a world full of posts and filters, how genuine are we as men? Do we even know who we are or are we playing a part that was pushed upon us by our society? Many men are searching for their own sense of authenticity, but too often they give it up for the acceptance of the crowd. An authentic man carries with them a confidence that actually appeals to others. Their influence flows naturally out of their genuineness. Men living in insecurity usually push everyone away because they try too hard to be liked. Others may listen at the beginning, but eventually, the aroma of fake will push them away. Authenticity grows as we engage in two very important areas as men.
1- Learn yourself
Learning yourself begins with being a student of ourselves. This is difficult for us as men because we are doers and we like to be busy doing something active that checks boxes and solves problems. However, the tool of self-reflection is the only one that will carry us to the true depth of our purposes as men. Just like a bodybuilder has mirrors in the gym to see how he is shaping up, we should have tools that help us see our reflection in everyday life.
One of the greatest tools for men to learn themselves is having a journal. Journaling is a powerful tool that helps us begin to learn what we truly think and feel. The art of journaling forces us to slow down and truly reflect on our life and purpose. We can look honestly at how we are doing and deal openly with our struggles. There are many different ways to journal and many men journal in ways unique to their personality. There is no right way or wrong way to journal. Starting is the key to developing the habit. As we begin, we start an inward journey that will bear fruit in our influence for years to come.
Personal growth always increases our influence as men. We all have friends who take the before and after shots, they post about their weight loss. The influence they have over us is based on how much they actually lose and how it looks in the picture. Our life gives a daily picture of our own personal growth and people notice. However, just as personal growth increases our influence, the lack of personal growth will decrease our influence as men. As we stop growing, our life begins a process of decay that will adversely affect those around us. We begin to settle for lower standards and make excuses for the lack of growth in our life. We can also build a security blanket of excuses and blame that make us feel better about our lack of growth
The mirror of life shows us that we are responsible for our own personal growth. No one forces us to grow and we can choose whether we keep growing or we stop trying. Growth can come in many different areas of our life: intellectual, emotional, physical, or spiritual. The key is to begin the process of growth somewhere. Even if we start growing in just one area, the benefit will be seen in all areas as we make growth a habit.
The only person keeping you from becoming a man of greater influence is looking at you every time you look in a mirror. Get a journal and write down some areas in your life where you want to grow. Make a plan and work the plan. Then watch your influence naturally increase.