Several weeks ago, I started a dance program at my kids' school. On the very first day, I noticed a huge difference between the younger and older group. The major difference I noticed was in the kids' ability to be free in their authentic expression.

When the music came on, the younger group, began dancing without hesitation. Their movements and expressions were completely uninhibited. There was no filtering in their moves. Instead, they were free-flowing, unoccupied with how they looked, unconcerned with whether or not they were doing it right. When they heard the music, they just went for it. As a result, they had a blast and created some pretty unique dance moves.

The older group, on the other hand, started moving but it was much more reserved. Their movements were more of simple swaying, tapping their feet and nodding their heads. They looked around quite a bit, noticing what others were doing and looking for instruction on what they could do next. As a result, it appeared that their level of enjoyment was stifled and their movements lacked freedom and authenticity.

Authentic expression is pretty obvious. We can all see the difference between free-flowing, authentic expression and filtered expression. The difference is aliveness, uniqueness and inspiration. We can see it, we can feel it. That difference shows up not just in dance or the arts, but also in our work, in our communication and in our creativity. It shows up in HOW we show up. So, what causes authenticity or the lack thereof?

The biggest hindrance to authentic expression is the desire to look good and do things right. When we try to do things “right” we limit creativity. When our motivation is to “look good,” we drastically compromise our authenticity. So, how do we do things well, while having authenticity at the same time?

The answer I’m suggesting is that we be willing to do things “wrong” and willing to look silly. In that willingness, in that space, we stretch ourselves. We test the limits. We think outside the box. Whether it’s through dance, writing, conversation or how you dress, break free from the box and live freely in authenticity.

Take notice throughout your day of when you are holding back or filtering what you really want to say. Pay attention when you are hindering how you truly want to express yourself. Notice when you are seeking to look good or do things “right.” Instead, break free from the mold and try something new.

Step outside your comfort zone and into your authentic expression zone. Let go of the need to look good or be right and I guarantee you will create more fulfillment and self trust. You will create more self confidence. It may be uncomfortable at first, but the rewards outweigh the initial discomfort. I’d love to hear what you do this week to increase your authenticity.

Make this your most authentic week ever!