A popular word these days. Companies, people, professions, everything and everyone seems to be searching for authenticity. Vacancy profiles often mention they are looking for ‘an authentic person’. But in the meanwhile, this person also has to match five to ten other competences. Why is it that we are all searching for generics in people? Why not ask for the differences? Some companies do, but most don’t know where to start. I like to look for what drives people. See the person I’m talking to. That is not always easy, as most people don’t show themselves quickly. What a relief to all of us that would be! I was at a recruiter once who asked me what I had learned from a three month project seven years ago. I was stunned. Was she truly good in her job? She got stuck in the ‘old’ economy. The ‘old’ way of thinking. She couldn’t see the person sitting opposite her, she was just ticking the boxes. And the problem is, this is starting from a very young age. My daughters’ teacher told me our daughter (7) was often alone on the schools’ playground. Not fitting in the group. I was sad about hearing that as I, just like her teacher who has the very best intentions with her, just want to see her happy. When I awoke the next day, I wondered if anybody ever asked her how she felt about that. So when I did, her response was this: ‘Mom, no worries, indeed I am by myself sometimes. But I like that. It is quiet and peaceful. Whenever I feel like playing, I join the rest in their ball games, but I can also be very well on my own.’ She opened my eyes once more. This is something we are simply not used to. Something a lot of people don’t understand. But if we don’t respect this and force each other to ‘fit’ in what we have learned is fun, joyful or the definition of happy, we forget to treat each other with respect for each others’ authenticity.