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Why Authenticity is Worth It

Tamara shares an outtake from a podcast, talks about 3 tips for authenticity and shares an announcement of a hard goal she’s working on.

Here is the transcript from today’s podcast:

Tamara Anderson 0:00 

On today’s episode, I have a couple of exciting things I’m going to share with you. First is that this will be the first episode that I ever do an outtake on. I’m taking an outtakes from last week’s podcast that you guys didn’t hear and I’m going to share it on this week’s podcast. I’m also going to teach you three amazing tips and share a big announcement about something I’ve been working on that I’ve been really nervous to talk about because it’s something new and different for me, so stay tuned.

Welcome to Stories of Hope in Hard Times, the show that explores how people endure and even thrive in difficult times, all with God’s help. I’m your host, Tamara K. Anderson. Join me on a journey to find inspiring stories of hope and wisdom learned in life’s hardest moments.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Tamara’s Takeaways on the Stories of Hope in Hard Times podcast. Last week, I had the opportunity to interview my friend Rob Gentile. We had a great time talking about his near death experience, about his life perspective and how it’s changed, and how love is so important.

But one of the interesting things that Rob and I talked about wasn’t even on the podcast. It happened to occur at the commercial break. I had a quick conversation with him that I wanted to share with you because we talked about something pretty important.

Now to give you some background before we dive into this outtakes clip that I’m going to share with you today, I have to tell you that Rob and I met several years ago at a premier author training put on by New York Times best-selling author Richard Paul Evans. One of the things that Richard Paul Evans emphasizes every single time he teaches about writing is the importance of being authentic. That is saying something coming from a man like Richard Paul Evans, because he is very, very authentic in his writing.

People can feel that authenticity and that’s why every book that he writes is a New York Times best-selling book. So one of the things that we talk about in here is a quote that he shared with us during this premier author training. I refer to Richard Paul Evans as Rick in the clip because that is what his friends call him. So that’s who we’re talking about when we talk about that. Here’s the outtakes clip.

“Okay, we’re gonna pause there. And I’m gonna wipe my eyes again. Goodness, Rob, I tell you sometimes doing these interviews is really hard.

Rob 3:18 

Well, it’s been hard on me on this. And so I’ve had to mute my mic a couple of times and wipe my nose.

Tamara Anderson 3:26 

Thank you, because these are the things that are meaningful to people. So I appreciate you being willing to share some tender things. Because I think people need to realize both the struggle but the blessing of the struggle.

Rob 3:43 

Right. Absolutely. You know, this book, you’ve seen because you’ve read it now. It’s all about how I took a lot of risks. Here I am, you know, I’m an executive in the professional world. And when this thing gets published, some people might say “Holy cow, I didn’t know this guy. This guy’s kind of wacky or this guy. He’s so tender.” I mean, but look, I had this revealed to me when I was writing, if God is anything, God’s authentic. And I knew that if, if this book was going to have the kind of impact on people’s lives that I wanted it to, that I better be authentic. I put myself out there in some of these vignettes and stories that I didn’t have to share. But I wanted the reader to know, hey, this is real.

Tamara Anderson 4:39 

Yeah. Well, and I think people relate because it’s like, I think Rick teaches this, you know, “slit your wrists and bleed onto the page.” He wants us to be authentic because people can sense when you’re not.

Rob 4:54 

Oh, no question.

Tamara Anderson 4:55 

I remember at one point in my editing process, writing my book, one of my editors I, I included a number of journal entries and one of them I called my day from hell. I just included this journal entry, which was just, it was just a super hard day and Nathan was pooping on the floor. You know, it’s just very, very raw emotions. And I talked about how I was full of hate at the time and I hated autism and and you know, all the stuff in my editor wrote a little note to me, she goes, I think this is just a little too much like, I don’t know that this should all be included. And I thought of Rick, and as much as I don’t like that entry but it shows what I was really going through at the time. My hope is that somebody else who is at that moment right there and they feel those emotions, they feel that despair and that hatred and that, exhaustion will recognize that and say, “Oh my gosh, she gets it. And look, she got from there to at the end of the book, she feels peace. Maybe I can get there too.” So sometimes I think we have to bear our souls in these intimate ways when we’re writing, because it will help those people that are at those low points, realize, okay, they did it. Maybe I can get through this too. So I think we have to be vulnerable. We have to, but it’s a struggle as a writer to be that vulnerable. You know, we want to paint the picture that everything is rosy and great, but life isn’t like that.”

There you go. You got to listen to one of my little outtakes from my podcast about Rob and I discussing vulnerability and authenticity and how it’s hard to walk that line. I think it’s something that we all struggle with in today’s society, especially with social media. It’s so easy to post the pictures that show that everything is beautiful and dandy and fantastic. But the reality is that the posts that I have done that have gotten the biggest response on social media have been the times when I write the things that have made me cry, or the things that have challenged me, or things that are hard, because there’s plenty of sunshine and roses. There’s also plenty of yuck out there. But I think people love relating to other people who are real.

3 Tips to Be Authentic

So today, I’m going to give you three tips to becoming and being real.

Know Who You Are

Number one, know who you are. In Romans chapter eight, verse 16, we learn we are the children of God. If you were to bare us down to our soul, who would we be? You, me? We would be a son or a daughter of God. That is who we are. That is our most authentic self. And I love what Rob said. During that outtakes clip, he said, “God is authentic.” And so if God is authentic, and we are the children of God, we to have the capacity to be authentic.

God is also a creator. And so we also have creativity inside of us. God is also full of love. And so we have the germ of perfect love inside of us. We have all these things in embryo form, and we’re developing and we’re learning and we’re growing and we’re figuring out who we really are. Deep down. It’s so interesting. I’ve learned that when we experience trauma, we tend to put up a shell and we hide who we really are. I know that as a teenager when I experienced bullying, I did. I put up a ginormous shell around myself and I hid the real me because I had been hurt. And it took years to peel the onion layers back until I felt comfortable being the real Tamara. It took me years. And so the first point is so important that we first realize who we are and our potential as children of God.

In the next verse in Romans He teaches us that we are heirs of God through Christ. And I think that is so powerful. We are heirs of God in embryo, and as such, we have such tremendous capacity and capability. It is incredible, but we have to figure out first who we are if we’re going to be authentic.

Develop Gifts and Talents

Second, once you’re starting to figure out who you are, it’s important to do the second thing, which is develop your gifts and talents. Now, I know there’s some of you out there that are thinking right now I don’t have any gifts and talents. But let me tell you, as a son, or daughter of the most powerful being in the universe, and as His heir, you have unique gifts and talents. You do. I promise you. American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou said, “I believe every person is born with talent.” Everyone. Every single person on this planet is born with talent. Even my son Nathan, who has a hard time expressing himself because of his autism has talents. He has things that he does better than anybody else. He has like a perfect memory for music. We call him our little jukebox, he’ll just burst out singing at almost any time. He has also an amazing capacity to do puzzles. He sees puzzle pieces and how they go together faster than anybody I know. He can do a 500 piece puzzle in under two hours, probably like an hour and a half. It’s unbelievable. So even people with disabilities have talents, they have capacities. And so each of us is born with talents.

There is an interesting parable in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 25 where a man is traveling into a far country. But before he goes, he takes a few of his servants and he gives one servant five talents. He gives one servant two talents. He gives one servant one talent and he tells them to use those talents and develop others. The first person with the five talents, he develops five more, the second person develops two more. The last one, he doesn’t do anything with his one talent. He buries it.

When the master calls for an accounting, he praises those who doubled their talents, those who tried And the one who didn’t? He takes it away and gives it to the one who had five talents. Now there’s a couple of things we can learn from this amazing parable. The first is that we can develop our talents and God isn’t going to give us more than we can handle. He knows that some of us have five, some of us have two, some of us have one. It’s all according to our capability and our capacity. Whatever you’ve been given, you can develop that and double it.

I know some people that have been given super tough life circumstances they’ve been born into. They have become incredible people. I would say they have 10 times what they’ve been given. I know people who were given a wonderful circumstance that they were born into, and they’ve done nothing with it. So just know that your potential is up to you. Your potential to then be authentic with your talents is also up to you. So we each have talents that we can develop, and this is who we are. This is the authentic us.

There’s a great quote by all Oscar Wilde that says, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” I love that. Be yourself. You don’t have to be anybody else. You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else. Your talents are going to be different than your next door neighbor’s, they’re going to be different than your brother’s, your sister’s, your aunt’s, your uncle’s, your cousin’s, they’re going to be different. And that is okay. Find your talents, develop them. Because that is the true and authentic you. Talk to God about it. If you’re not sure what your talents are, talk to him, make a list. Sometimes talking to other people that are close to you that you trust and that know the real you is another good way to figure out who you are and what your talents might be. Just ask somebody. Say, “What do you think my talents are?” And I bet you’ll be surprised. Sometimes people are pretty intuitive and they see stuff that we can’t.

Share Your Talents

All right, third point, share your talents. Once you know who you are, and you’ve developed your gifts and talents, it is important to share them. I love what Michael Tellinger, a scientist, said about this. He said, “Let each citizen contribute their natural talents or acquired skills to the greater benefit of all in the community.”

I think this is amazing because sometimes people don’t want to share their talents, because they feel it’s being prideful. But here, Michael explains to us that as we share our talents, it benefits everyone. It benefits everyone in the community. It benefits those around us. Because none of us have the same talent. I have a sister who is a gifted, natural teacher. She has a way with children. She was born that way. I remember when she stayed with us for a little while she had all my kids around the table and she just had them eating out of the palm of her hand, basically, because she knew how to teach children. And I will admit, I was a little jealous that I didn’t have that natural gift. But that’s okay because she has that gift, and she can share it with others. My gifts are different than hers. And guess what? It’s okay. Because we can love and support each other. Just the way we are. It’s pretty cool.

There’s another quote by Tama Kieves, who is a master coach, author and speaker. She said this: “There is nothing divine about deprecating your gifts and talents or diminishing their worth in any way. Shining is sharing an abundance with us all.” So she encourages us to not put down on ourselves, to not say, “Oh, I suck,” and demean and deprecate ourselves because we each have an abundance in something. We each have one way that we can shine and share and authentically be ourselves better than those around us. And that is a gift. That’s a gift from God and I love it.

So those are my three tips to being authentic: First, know who you are. Second, develop your gifts and talents. And third, share your talents.

Now, I know some of you out there thinking, “But my talents may not be very popular or very cool to share.” Tama Kieves also said, “Our culture obsesses over image but our hearts crave reality. What will you live for?”

Our hearts crave reality. Remember, going back to what I was talking about at the beginning of the podcast about authenticity, about sharing our raw and vulnerable things. Maybe you’re developing a talent and it’s really hard and it’s really scary. And it’s not easy share that. Share that.

My Annoucement

I’m going to be very vulnerable with you guys. You guys are going to be the first to know this. I have an announcement to make. About a year ago, I was driving home and a song popped into my head. This song just stayed with me. So I finally pulled out my cell phone, I hit record and I just sung the song into my iPhone so that I wouldn’t forget it. That song stayed with me and stayed with me.

At the beginning of this year, as I was praying about what I should do for this year, what goals I should set. One of the goals that I felt God pointing me towards was to do something about that song and I was like, “But I don’t know what to do about songs or music.”

I’d written some songs back when I was a teenager, but I just haven’t had time to do much with it, being a mom and busy in life. But I really felt God pushing me towards this. So I kind of prayed about it. I said, “If you want me to do something, you’ve got to help me talk to the right people.”

Well, one of the people two doors down for me happens to have been in the music industry for decades. So I felt like I should reach out to him. And I did. I reached out to him. He talked me through what it takes to get a song out there, who I would need to contact, who the best studios are, and, bless him, he even set up a studio tour that he would go on with me to a studio that he had used which is close by to us. So I went on this studio tour and my mind was blown away by the talent and as intimidated as I was with my little song, I felt comfortable moving forward with this.

So I’m really excited to tell you that I have started the process of getting this song professionally done and recorded. It is quite intimidating to be in this situation, but I’m really, really excited about it because my soul resonates with the message of the song.

The Song

The title of the song is “Don’t Give Up.” I feel that it’s a message from God to all of us at this time. I feel kind of like a little drop in a big pond as I am exploring this new talent, because I don’t know very much about what I’m doing yet. But because I’ve surrounded myself with people that do know what they’re doing, it has made it so much easier. And so I’m thankful that they’re sharing their talents with me, as I’m starting off in an industry that is so unknown to me, and I’m really excited and hopeful to get this song out to you guys in the next couple of months because I think it will inspire you and give you hope, and courage.

So, guys, sometimes developing these talents is scary. And being authentic is scary. I will tell you I was so scared but excited at the same time. The first time I went into the studio and got to work and record and see another amazing professional musician record his part for my song, it’s very, very humbling to work with people that have such amazing talents. So be authentic. I’m excited to share with you more of this journey as I go along and do my best to get the message out there that I feel God wants out there.

My Invitation

My invitation to you before I close today is a simple one. I invite you to be authentic today, to be real, to be vulnerable, maybe to share a post online that talks about how you’re really doing right now. It’s hard. It’s harder than you think, to be authentic. But guess what? The cool thing about being authentic is that it resonates and people are attracted to others who are authentic. Because chances are, if you’re having a hard time, somebody else out there is having a really hard time too. And they can relate.

So it’s good to know you’re not the only one feeling discouraged or depressed. You’re not the only one attempting something new and scary. So share your scary things. Be authentic. I promise that as you do, you will find the real you. You will develop your gifts and talents. As you share those talents, I promise you that as you do, you will feel more of a connection with your loved ones and your friends. Because we all love, authentic people. Hope on friends.

About the author, Tamara

Tamara K. Anderson is a speaker, author, podcaster, and is a professional in HOPE. She has four children who struggle with autism, ADHD, anxiety, visions issues, and all bring her great joy.

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