3 Steps to Authentic Living: How to Make Decisions Based on What’s Right for You

You’ve seen the internet buzz surrounding authenticity, right?

Woman with Hands in Air and Thumbs Up

So what, really, does it all mean?

Is authenticity a trendy bit of 2016 jargon or a tried-and-true way of life? In my experience (and that of my clients) it isn’t about staying up on the latest program but – instead – a way to navigate life while keeping your heart at the center of every decision.

If you struggle to find your true calling, you’re your own worst enemy, or you ignore your intuition (because you don’t trust it), you’re probably denying yourself the luxury of living life on your own terms.

In less up-to-the-minute terminology – you’re living outside of your integrity.

And did you know being authentic (genuine) is the single most important skill for finding happiness and inner peace?

Our lives are filled with decisions every day (from the smallest choice, chai tea or cappuccino, to the largest, stay married and commit or get a divorce and split).

Yet, how often are our choices based on being genuine and true to ourselves?

If you are having trouble figuring out if you are living authentically or not, start by asking this simple, yet powerful, question:

Are my Thoughts, Actions and Instincts all in alignment?

I call this your TAI.

When your thoughts, actions, and instincts all agree when making a decision, you – my beautiful friend – are in alignment.

Let’s take this scenario, for example:

You’re invited to a party and agree to go, but as soon as you confirm something feels off and you realize your invite acceptance was based off what you think the party-thrower wants, not what you do.

You then become frustrated with yourself: Why did I say yes? I really just want to stay home this weekend and enjoy a glass of wine and watch Netflix.

And so, the internal struggle begins.

You will feel guilty if you don’t go, but you will resent yourself if you do.

This is a perfect example of being out of alignment.

Your body (instincts) are saying, “Hell no, sister,” but your thoughts are saying, “Well, maybe just for an hour or two. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

It’s not uncommon for women to find themselves in this situation because we sacrifice our own happiness for that of others.

However, if and when you find yourself in a situation like this, it’s time to test the TAI.

  • What thoughts did I have when making this decision (about me and the invitee)?
  • What actions did I take (and what actions did I want to take)?
  • What was my first instinct when I was invited? How has my body responded to the decision I made?

In this case, your instincts and thoughts don’t align. (This a red-flag indicating you need to reevaluate the situation.)

Cancel those plans, sister.

You’re either all in or all out, with no agenda besides being the best YOU.

Now’s the time to think of a scenario in your own life and determine if you have made the most authentic choice for yourself. Don’t worry, the more you test your TAI, the easier it becomes to live authentically.


  • Your thoughts: What stories do you tell yourself every day?
  • Your actions: Do the things you do on a daily basis act in congruence with the thoughts you carry?
  • Your instincts: Are you constantly honoring your inner compass? Do you respect gut reactions as valuable resources?

Do they align?

Being authentic is something we all need, all the time, to live the lives we deserve. It’s not a trend, but a way of life – one that can help you achieve every goal you’ve wanted.

And you absolutely deserve that.

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Lisa Panos

Lisa Panos is a Certified Life Coach and Author who helps people stop struggling and start thriving in their personal and professional relationships. Trained by Dr. Martha Beck (aka, Oprah’s Life Coach), Lisa helps her clients create new, healthy relationships, mend those that are broken, or say goodbye to ones that no longer serve them. She combines highly effective coaching tactics with an explosive arsenal of personal experience that swiftly moves people out of dysfunction and into a place of deep inner strength.
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