Dec 2021 Week 3 – Authenticity

This week, I watched the documentary, “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” on Netflix. It shows the journey of a high-altitude mountaineer, Nims Purja, from Nepal, as he undertakes a project to climb all peaks higher than 8000 metres in the world – just 14 of them – in 7 months. In 2019, he made a world record by climbing them all in just 6 months. The last time anyone achieved that feat was over a period of 16 years! This feat seems almost unbelievable. There was a part where he climbed 3 peaks in 48 hours – it sounds beyond human capacity, but he did it. A question that astounds me while watching such memoirs of adventurous people is that what motivates them so strongly? During a particularly challenging part of the climb on Shishapangma, a mountain that no one had climbed since 2014, Nims said something that struck me. They were caught at an avalanche then. 

In life, you have to keep doing what you believe. You have to ask yourself, do you really want this from your heart? Is it for the self-glory? Or is it for something bigger? 

Nims Purja

Isn’t this something that a lot of us try to ask ourselves? This grounding question hits each of us at some point. It is generally accepted that decision making should be rational, logical; but there is no denying the emotional influence involved. That is what makes us authentic… 

On that theme, something I have been reflecting on for a while. In terms of most corporate careers, getting into management ranks is the goal or measure of career progression. But What If You Don’t Want To Be A Leader? (  It may feel like a self-sabotaging thought, but is it really? In this modern day and age, is that really the only way to grow? 

Lastly, again on the theme of authenticity, I wanted to share a short video that was shared by a colleague at work.  

Overcome Fear of Public Speaking and What People Think About You – YouTube 

There are many resources on public speaking that emphasize the delivery aspects and focus on the output. What sets this video apart is that it looks inward. It talks about how to frame the mindset to deal with nervousness about being judged. I feel that is applicable not just to public speaking but also to most life situations – personal or professional. In my experience, one can be the most authentic when we are able to tune out fears of judgment by others. That is something I have been working on for the past few years. I feel I am getting better at that. It drastically improves the quality of life and inner satisfaction. When you are yourself, you are the most authentic. And believe me, you also feel the most comfortable when you are yourself. This principle is becoming quite central to my life in general.  

One of the practical strategies suggested by this video is using some wisdom and bigger picture to feel confident from within. This was a unique perspective for me. The speaker suggests that feeling grounded helps with that. For example, if you are conducting a training, you would feel more comfortable and less afraid to make mistakes if you view that opportunity as helping other people adopt a new method in their work. The feelings change if you view the same situation as an activity where you are being evaluated by your boss or peers and then you’d rather feel on the edge. So, it is about viewing the result holistically. Not always easy but could work in a lot of situations. That ensures you don’t feel alone and small but feel part of something bigger. The speaker shares an analogy that on the surface, islands can look separate but below the surface, everything is connected by an ocean. If you are able to find that common connection with others, it feels less intimidating.

Until the next post… 🙂


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