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Episode Info: Mark Bowden’s TEDxToronto in 2013 had a huge impact on how I think about authenticity. As I was laboring over my book, Your Stories Don’t Define You, I realized the influence that talk has had on me over the past 5 years in my work with coaching clients. When I encourage people to step out of their comfort zones to discover their hidden talents and joy, I often refer to Mark’s work. As always, I asked my guest to share something about himself that most people don’t know, something we wouldn’t find in his bio or his LinkedIn profile, something he hasn’t written in one of his many books and articles, something that would connect our audience to him in a personal and intriguing way. He did not disappoint! Mark has been a traditional Morris Dancer for many years. I had to do a little digging into this because I was completely unfamiliar, and I’m so glad I did! Here’s an example from YouTube: Our conversation centered on why Mark believes authenticity isn’t something everyone should strive for, necessarily. What I loved about this discussion was what seemed like a direct conflict with so much of what is being written and talked about in relation to that word: Authenticity. But as we explored Mark’s work, I realized it isn’t necessarily in conflict. For instance, though Kimberly Davis’ book, Brave Leadership, centers around the word authenticity, she states: “Your brave unfolds one situation at a time.” Mark and I spoke a little about that, but using the word authenticity instead of brave. The danger in focusing on a solid, foundational definition of personal authenticity is the limits that places on you in terms of growth and adaptability. If you decide one version of you is your authentic self, where does that leave you in terms of curiosity and stepping out of your comfort zone? Mark got particularly animated when he spoke about his mentor, Robert Anton Wilson, philosopher, author, and playwright. He mentioned Orson Well’s movie, F is for Fake, and the Banksy film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, in the context of making judgments about what is fake vs. what is real, and the philosophy that when we see things as black and white we will experience the death of intelligence.  Early in Mark’s professional career, he worked with Phillippe Gaulier, a brilliant and controversial figure in British theatre. Many quotes from our conversation are memorable, and I particularly appreciated our discussion of the depth of beauty and humanity in Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show. Here’s one I’ll hold onto forever: Another one that struck me was this: “Coincidence, traced back far enough, becomes inevitability.” Found in a Hindu Temple near New Delhi, India. Learn more about Mark Bowden, and visit the Truthplane website to contact him. Expert Body Language Keynote Speaker Mark Bowden Voted the #1 Body Language Professional in the world for two years running, Mark Bowden is passionate about giving your audience the most influential...
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