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  • Jeff Schuster

Authenticity & Awareness: Your Invisible Obstacles

Updated: 3 days ago


There are two words us coaches use a lot: 1) awareness; and 2) authenticity.

a·ware·ness noun: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

au·then·tic·i·ty noun: the quality of being authentic. au·then·tic adjective: of undisputed origin; genuine.


There's a reason that these words are so important to us life coaches. We believe that you are perfect just the way you are. The problem is that you have masked your perfection with limiting beliefs about yourself and the world. Us coaches believe that once we lift this self-imposed filter, you’ll achieve whatever goals your heart desires.


Awareness: What Creates the Fake You?

The fake you is created by all sorts of things in your life. It could be…

  • childhood trauma;

  • family expectations;

  • fear of failure;

  • inferiority complexes;

  • disagreeable spouse;

  • past failures;

If you want to dig into the cause of the fake you, find a good psychotherapist. If you want to replace your fake self with your authentic self, hire a life coach.


Fake Business Owners

As a business coach, I am mostly concerned with how your fake beliefs affect your business.

  • My product or service isn’t needed.

  • I can’t find prospects.

  • My prices are too high.

  • My customers are idiots.

  • My Employees are deadbeats.

  • There’s too much competition.

  • I don’t know what I’m doing.

  • I’m not as good as my competition.

  • I can’t find investors.

  • I can’t afford a business coach.

This is a limited list of the excuses I’ve heard about why my clients can’t succeed in business. As odd as this may sound, my clients didn’t know about these beliefs until they started coaching. Afterall, who would start a business if they believed that their product or service isn’t needed? In a coaching session, us coaches are trained to pick up on limiting belief phrases. We then challenge these phrases. At first, our client denies that they believe what they stated.


For instance, a client may say, “I am concerned that my customers cannot afford my service.”


Translation, “My prices are too high.”


This particular business owner may have prices that are higher than desired by their customer. However, in most cases, my client does a poor job of articulating the value of their service and think they will get more customers by lowering their price. In business coaching fashion, I find out that my client’s competitor is charging twice as much for an inferior service. Once this truth is know, we can make progress.


If your competitor is charging twice as much as you and they are gaining customers while you are not, price is NOT your problem.


This process continues until the “truth” becomes clear. My client is now fully aware of the “truth”… Awareness has been achieved. Now my client will at least try to solve the right problem.


What about Authenticity?

Awareness is an unveiling of the truth. This is a step in the right direction, but the work of a business coach cannot end here. The next step is helping my client to be authentic.

Authenticity is uncovering the value of your true giftedness. Us humans are good copycats. We see what is working for someone else, and we copy that thing believing that we will be as successful as the person we are copying. This isn’t a bad start. However, copying another’s success will only get you so far.


A good example of inauthenticity is a business owner who forces themself into a sales role. Any new business owner knows that to succeed in business, you must sell. Right? Wrong. I’ve trained many salespeople. I believe that most people can be trained to sell. Some will be better than others. However, if you’re not a gifted salesperson, you cannot force yourself to sell. You will come off as inauthentic to prospective customers.


New business owners are forced to wear several hats. This means that they will inevitably perform roles for which they are not as qualified as others. When you fill a role that you are not suited to fill, you will be inauthentic. Sadly, many business owners continue to fill these roles because they either:

  • like doing the work associated with the role; or

  • they think they can’t afford to hire a person who is good at that role; or

  • they feel they are better at that role than anyone else.

Authenticity isn’t just a problem for business owner roles. In some cases, employees are in roles for which they are not suited. To avoid a difficult firing, business owners try to train and disciple failing employees until both parties are extremely frustrated.


Awareness & Authenticity Problems are Invisible

Interestingly, the symptoms of unawareness and inauthenticity are the same. Business owners see a problem in their business. They try to fix it with the same actions that worked in the past only to find that those actions no longer work. Frankly, they probably never worked. The reason they don’t work is that the business owner is blind to the problems.


The only way to see challenges with awareness is to become aware. You will not become aware of something that you are unaware of because you are unaware. Right?


The only way to see problems with authenticity is to become authentic. You will not become authentic, if you are unaware that you are not being authentic in the first place. Right?


The Good News

There is a silver lining to these of invisible problems. First, you have inherent value and are perfectly suited to fill a productive role in your company. Second, once you become aware of which problem is the right problem to solve, solving it is easy. Third, a business coach can help you quickly become aware and act in an authentic way to grow your business and enjoy your life.


Just to be clear. A business coach is rarely as good or better at you at your business. A coach’s value is not in their expertise. A coach's value is to be an objective observer of your awareness and your authenticity. Think about what famous athlete’s employee coaches. Tiger Woods uses Hank Haney as a golf coach. Alex Guerrero is a personal trainer for NFL superstar Tom Brady. I’m guessing that you have never heard of Hank Haney or Alex Guerrero. My business owner clients are good at what they do. In fact, they are much better at what they do than I am at their business. They hire me as their business coach to be the best at what they do by being authentic and aware.

 

About me. I have been actively engaged in the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy conservation industry all my professional career from 1987 until now. I was a licensed Professional Engineering in six states and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM). I worked as a sales executive, energy engineer, sales manager, and entrepreneur. I started, grew, and sold an Energy Service Company (ESCo) called Ennovate Corporation (1997 to 2013). I now coach business owners, engineers, and business development executives in the energy efficiency industry.

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