Over the past few months, many of my guests on the podcast have spoken about the importance of authenticity, and honouring our most authentic selves. It seems to be a hot topic that is constantly coming up in my interviews, whether I’m speaking with a singing voice teacher, a healthcare professional, a business coach or a relationship expert. They all stress how important it is to travel through life as our most authentic selves, and yet it’s something so many of us struggle with in life, myself included.

This struggle is real for many of us due to our lack of self-esteem, fear of judgment by others, or an overwhelming desire for others to accept us. Then, there are other factors such as past experiences, perhaps from our childhood, while we were growing up that have led us to shut down because we were shut down when we spoke our truth. This experience has taught us to mistakenly believe that it isn’t safe to be genuine and authentic.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you my take on what is means to be authentic and unpack some basic reasons why you may be holding back on honouring your most authentic self. So if you’re not being true to yourself right now, your own personality, your core values, and your inner self, regardless of the pressure that you’re under to act otherwise, then listen up! This episode is for you because we are going to share three basic ways you can step into your authenticity.

In this Episode

1:09 – Introduction

7:04 – Learning to be authentic

13:55 – Stop comparing yourself to others

21:01 – Turn your focus inward

26:16 – Conclusion


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hi. It’s Marissa Lee here. And I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset, and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best live. It’s time now, for a voice and beyond. So, without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:09

Over the past few months, many of my guests on the podcast have spoken about the importance of authenticity or simply being authentic. It seems to be a hot topic or a concept that keeps coming up in my interviews, whether I’m speaking to a singing voice teacher, or a healthcare professional, a business coach or relationship expert, it doesn’t matter. They all stress how important it is to be and to show up as our most authentic selves. And yet, it’s something so many of us struggle within life, me included. I see so many of my singers struggle with authenticity, because it means that they have to allow themselves to be vulnerable, strip back all the layers and share who they truly are as humans, not just as singers. I can admit that being authentic for me at different times throughout my life, for whatever reason, in that moment in time has also been a struggle. Sometimes, it is so hard for us to keep it real. This struggle is a big deal for many of us due to our lack of self esteem, or fear of judgement by others, or an overwhelming desire for others just to like us, then there are things such as past experiences, perhaps from our childhood, or while we were growing up that has led us to shutting down because we were shut down when we spoke our truth. This experience has taught us to mistakenly believe that it isn’t safe to be genuine and to be authentic. Once again, I will be the first to put my hand up to all of that. Okay. You may ask, what is authenticity? And you know, that’s a really fair question. I’ve asked so many of my guests on the show this very same question. What is their interpretation of authenticity? What does authenticity mean to them? How do they know? Or how can they tell when someone’s being authentic? And guess what? Every one of them has given me a different answer. So perhaps authenticity is subjective. Perhaps it’s in the eyes of the beholder just as they say beauty is. In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you my take on what it means to be authentic, and unpack some basic reasons why we may be holding out on authenticity. So let’s start with me asking what is authenticity? your authentic self is who you truly are way down deep. It is who you are at your deepest level with your unique combination of all your qualities including your skills, your abilities, your interests, talents, limitations, insights, experiences, memories, beliefs, purpose and wisdom. Well, that’s a lot right. your authentic self is an expression of your core values through all your quirks as well as your strengths. And it’s usually those quirks that makes us unique. And it’s okay to embrace all that weirdness that we have. Then how do we tell when someone else is being genuine and real? Well, authentic people say what they mean. And they mean what they say. So you being your authentic self means that what you say in life aligns with your actions. And this goes way beyond what you do for a living, what possessions you have, and what your relationship status looks like. It is you speaking your truth. It’s that part of you, that doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. So when someone is being authentic, they put their money where their mouths are, if they say they’re going to do something, guess what they do it. And if they don’t intend on doing something, they simply won’t make a promise that they know they can’t keep. They are true to their word. People don’t like a fake, and they can smell a fake from a mile away. So if you’re not being true to yourself right now, simply put, if you’re not being true to your own personality, values and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you’re under, to act otherwise, and come on that pressure includes self inflicted pressure to then listen up. This episode is for you, because we are going to share three ways you can step into your authenticity.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:04

Learning to be and share your most authentic self is an essential part of building meaningful relationships. The more real you are with someone, it creates a deeper connection. You have to learn to be vulnerable with your feelings. Believe it or not vulnerability has been described as the biggest superpower in the world. Yet it is a power that people don’t use. There are many reasons for this. And the biggest one is probably as a result of our childhood. It’s not like we’re raised with our parents saying to us, you know, in life, you have to be vulnerable. Are you kidding me? Hell no. It’s the opposite. We usually have our parents telling us to toughen up, man up, don’t embarrass yourself. Make sure you smile. And then society throws all these words at us, like, fake it till you make it. Honestly, what chance do we have of being vulnerable? Maybe we should be telling those we love to be the person we have never had the courage to be. And we should be praising those who are unapologetically expressing their true thoughts and presenting themselves with authenticity and vulnerability. I want to ask you, how vulnerable Do you allow yourself to be? How much do you share of yourself in the most genuine manner? And when I talk about sharing, I don’t mean your lunch, or your money, or your husband that made you listen, but sharing the most authentic and honest version of you. How do you show up to the world? Are your family and are your friends seeing you for who you truly are? Or are you hiding something? What secrets are you keeping from others? Even those who are closest to you? Does it scare you to be vulnerable? It is so scary. And this is something I have absolutely struggled with over the years for many different reasons. You see, it does take humility and vulnerability to share your life, your story and your innermost thoughts with others and to show up as your most authentic self. When my first husband died, I kept my emotions to myself because I needed People around me at the time. I was scared that if I cried or showed any signs of grief that people would run a mile, no one wants to be around misery. That was the story that I told myself. So I suffered in silence. No one knew what I was truly going through in my life, and how I was feeling. I was trying to show everyone I was courageous. And I was putting on that brave front, that stiff upper lip when I was around my friends, and even my family. problem with this is that when you suffer in silence, that internal suffering continues for way longer. I can honestly say that it took me years to get over that loss. So that pretence went on for years. I suffered from unresolved grief and my body ended up shutting down, and I became very sick. I just couldn’t deal with the trauma. All those emotions simmered beneath the layers till they reached a boiling point, and began to manifest in major health issues. I was not being authentic, but only because that version of me was what I thought the world wanted to see. On the outside, everything in my life looked amazing. I owned my own home, I had a successful performance career as a high profile singer, I had investments, my child was going to a private school, I was always beautifully groomed and smiling. People were admiring what I was accomplishing on the outside. And even many of my girlfriends were jealous of the lifestyle I had created. But I had so many deep rooted problems, and I was not coping, the biggest lesson I had to learn. And I learned it the hard way, was that when you share with others, they can offer you understanding, compassion, empathy, and you are able to move through your pain and heal more quickly. The more real I became, the more people loved and cared for me. That is why you need to be authentic, because that will help you find your community of people. You can find your support network, so that you’re never alone and suffering in silence. There is no shame in sharing with others that you’re having a bad week, or that your marriage is going through rocky times. All that you have problems at work that are getting you down. We can all try to be warriors. But we need to understand that even warriors have their tribes. We need our colleagues, our friends, our family, our partners, and our neighbours. And we need to build deep connections and relationships with these people. So surround yourself with people who are great people, those who are progressive, compassionate, intelligent, empathetic, people who have also realised life is about living in authenticity.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:55

Stop comparing yourself to others. How many times have you had coffee with a friend and they’re sitting there literally crying their eyes out because they’ve just been dumped by their boyfriend, or they have lost their job. Or they’re so broke, they can’t pay their bills. You get it? They are just one hot mess in life, for whatever reason. And then, an hour later, they’re on Instagram telling everyone how amazing their lives are. It’s like, hi, look at me. Look at how amazing my life is. I’m living the dream. I know you all want my life. And you say what just happened here? Is this the person that I just had coffee with? That same miserable human being who was a blubbering mess an hour ago and She is now proclaiming to the world that she’s living the dream. Whoa. My friend is a total fake. Yes, people, this is fake. And this is how so many people present themselves out in the world, not just on social media, but to the whole world. Come on, this is not authentic fat is the perfect example of someone being totally disingenuous. Clearly, there is something really wrong here. You see, authenticity happens when your words, your actions, and your behaviours consistently match with your core identity and your core values. And in order to do this, we must be accepting of ourselves and of others, and that takes a healthy ego. These inauthentic people are trying hard to make people like them because they are not accepting of their faults and their flaws. They don’t have a healthy perception of reality, and they feel threatened by others. Yet, these are some of the influences we follow on social media. Have you ever met an influencer in real life? Honestly, I would love to spend a day following them around in their day to day lives, rather than following them on social media. These are the people that many of us compare our lives to, we aspire to be like them, and live our lives through them. You might say, Oh, no, I don’t compare myself to others. I’m winning in that department. But are you really? Are you keeping it real? One way to check in is to ask yourself, do you compare yourself, your life, your job, and your relationships to others? I know that comparing well. This is kind of human nature. And there’s no doubt that humans have been doing this since prehistoric times. And yes, sometimes these comparisons can be really helpful because they can give us a blueprint for how we can make improvement in our lives, or they can inspire us to make positive changes in our lives. But then, there are other times this comparison to others leads us to picking ourselves and our lives apart and focusing on everything that we believe is wrong with ourselves. This feeling of being hard on ourselves can happen when we are scrolling through social media, where everyone is sharing that Instagram picture perfect version of themselves and their lives. We see our friends sharing their successes. And we see that influencer, who is living their dream life travelling all around the world. While we’re here struggling with the day to day grind of a full time job that we hate. We begin to compare ourselves, our lives, our achievements, and they all seem to fade away too insignificant by comparison. Our heads become full of all our perceived inadequacies, and we feel we could never measure up. No matter how hard we try. It can destroy our spirit on a daily basis because everything in our life seems lesser than we feel lesser than and it can make us spiral into not keeping it real. We can start to become just as inauthentic as those people we see on Instagram. You know, it’s fair to say to you that in life, there will always be someone prettier, more talented, more intelligent, bubbly, or outgoing, the new but the trick is knowing the unique value of what you bring to this life. It’s important to recognise this as the next crucial step to climbing your authenticity ladder. When you stop comparing yourself to others, you can begin to recognise and acknowledge the beauty and the value of your own. uniqueness, you do have a choice to step in and free yourself from the comparison trap and start valuing you. Start by keeping a journal of all your strength and accomplishments, no matter how big or small, whether it’s that you dragged yourself to the gym on a morning, you really didn’t want to, well write it down. If you aced a project at work, make note of it. If you helped a friend in crisis, it is definitely noteworthy. Now sit back and watch your life play back and allow your self worth to blossom. And allow yourself to keep it real and become unapologetically authentic.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:01

When you can turn your focus inward, you begin doing better at what really matters. And that is being authentically you. on an intellectual level, you do know that there are things that are great about you. And this takes getting to truly know yourself. self reflection is a great way to acquaint ourselves with ourselves before we can equate ourselves with others. When we learn about ourselves, we can learn about how we experience relationships with others, our health, our finances, our mindset, our careers, and our mission. This requires taking time out for self reflection, and living life in a more mindful manner. self reflection is that process of sitting in the present moment, looking inwardly and seeing what you discover. It’s a mental process you can use to grow your understanding of who you are, what your values are, and unpack them. It’s also a journey of discovering why you think, feel and act in the ways that you do. Life is a reflection of our perception of ourselves and who we truly are on the inside. When you self reflect and become more conscious of what drives you, you can more easily make changes that help you with your personal growth and development which will further improve your life. This process gives you the power and the gateway to reconnecting to your most authentic sense of self and living your most authentic life. For me, this also includes checking in to see if I’m on track with my mission. I do trip up sometimes, more often than I care to admit. And I can really be hard on myself. Because no matter what I want to live every day, feeling amazing, experiencing joy, surrounding myself with people I love and who uplift me and being in the best physical, emotional and mental condition I can possibly be in and living my most authentic life. I don’t want to waste a single day faking my way through life, I want to show up being the best version of who I truly am every single day. When we know ourselves, we know who we truly are from a physical, mental and emotional perspective. We know our boundaries, and we can start setting healthy boundaries, not only for others, but also for ourselves. Let’s face it in life, we all have a need for setting boundaries, and we can’t communicate our boundaries if we don’t know what they are. Boundaries are a way to ensuring that we’re being authentic to ourselves. setting boundaries means being aware of our thoughts and being in tune with our feelings and our actions. To successfully introduce and set boundaries. It’s key to understand why they’re important to us and how they will benefit our emotional well being and we can only do this through the process of self reflection. Every day we have on this earth is so precious. And yet so many people take life for granted. Life is busy, and we’re all super busy and distracted. Therefore, it is harder to take time out for self reflection and to connect with who we truly are. However, this aspect of our self journey cannot be overlooked. self reflection does require a tranquil mind. And if this is something you struggle with, you can begin your self reflection with maybe a short meditation or perhaps with several deep breaths, or some deep breathing into your thoughts. When we become more present, both the darkest and the brightest parts of our lives can come roaring into view. For these reasons, self reflection can be challenging, but also most powerful in our lives. It is the road to authenticity.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:16

When your actions align with your true nature, you are more likely to pursue your passion. Believe in yourself and feel way more confident. You may say are but I feel really safe having my walls up. I don’t feel safe letting anyone come in too close to me. I like to stay in control. So I don’t get hurt. And I don’t face rejection. Those walls have become your suit of armour, and they are there to protect you. And okay, that might be working for you right now, my friend. But you can’t keep that up forever. Let me tell you, everyone, yes, everyone gets rejected at some point in their lives. And that’s just a part of life. Those walls have to come down at some stage, because it’s such hard work, being inauthentic having to constantly examine and readjust your behaviours. You can’t keep censoring yourself so you don’t sound too needy or too demanding or thinking how other people might be perceiving you. It will lead you to becoming unwell. And those feelings will manifest in every area of your life and your relationships with self as well as others as it did with me. I promise you, the more work you do on becoming more and more open and vulnerable. The more and more authentic you will become. The more you flex your authenticity muscle the stronger it will become adults. Okay, you know, you don’t have to share every aspect of your life. You can choose to keep some things to yourself. I’m not saying that you should share all your fears, and all your insecurities with everyone. As there is a time and a place for everything. And there are some people you just don’t need to share this stuff with. You can decide how much you’re ready to share. It is up to you. It’s time now for you to get to know you. What makes you tick. What gives you that feeling of aliveness and what brings you the joy. If you are living life to the expectations of others, you must learn to reconnect with your true self. Ask yourself, Where is your mindset at about you in your life right now? Are you keeping it real? Remember, you are completely unique in your own form. No one has ever been like you and no one ever will be in the future. You are the only person you can control in your life. You always have a choice in how you live your life. It really doesn’t matter what other people think. What matters is what you really think about your own life and your own self worth. Remember, you are worthy. You are strong. You have your own dreams to achieve and your own story to share with others, which is completely yours my friend Your story is worth writing. Your story is worth listening to, you are worth it. You are worth the effort. Always have been, and always will be.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:19

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you’d like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.

Are you ready to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself?

Receive a free copy of ‘In Perfect Harmony’ a practical guide to meditation.