by Michael Porcelli

I absolutely love this TEDx talk by Mike Robbins. I feel inspired by how he shares his stories with an easy, conversational style. And I watch it over and over again because he so clearly and directly conveys The Power of Authenticity, something my colleagues and I at The Integral Center care so deeply about we’ve dedicated ourselves to educating and training people in the principles and practices of Authentic Relating and Circling.

If you haven’t already watched this video, go ahead and watch it right here. Then read on…



I come from a family where we speak our opinions like they’re facts”

Mike goes on to say that’s just how he was raised. And I believe that’s how most of us are raised. Here Mike is touching on a crucial aspect of communicating authentically, which leads to others trusting you and being open to your influence.

We call this Owning Your Experience. Here’s how you do it. Speak your opinions not as facts, but as your own subjective perspective. For example, instead of “that movie was terrible,” say “I didn’t like that movie.” The rule-of-thumb to check if you’ve succeeded at Owning Your Experience is that you’ve worded it in such a way that nobody could argue or disagree with it.

There’s something beyond honesty—Authenticity”

This fits our experience working with the participants in our courses. At first, attempts to be genuine seem like a balancing act, going for a sweet spot between “nice, but phony” on one hand and “honest, but risky” on the other.

Time and again, we support and guide our participants in breaking through beyond this nice/honest dichotomy into authenticity. Like Mike says in his talk, this “requires courage on our part, a willingness to be vulnerable, willingness to let people know who we really are and how we really feel.” As they become familiar with what this is like, they discover, as Mike describes, that “authenticity is an in-the-moment phenomenon….a visceral experience.”

There’s an exercise I’d like to do… I’ll start. If you really knew me you’d know I have no idea why you people hired me to do this.”

Here Mike is sharing a story from his consulting work in which he brilliantly executes one of our textbook communication moves during a high stakes executive team meeting.

  • He notices the meeting isn’t going as well as he’d like..
  • Instead of continuing dissatisfied, he pauses the conversation, then…
  • He reveals his experience in the moment, saying “this isn’t going well..”
  • He sets context…

There’s an exercise I’d like to do…

(what he wants to do)

it’s probably going to take us about 20 minutes…

(how long it will take)

my sense is there’s some things that we’re not talking about that are not only impacting this meeting but your team…”

(why he wants to do it)

when it’s your turn you’re just going to repeat this phrase ‘if you really knew me you would know…’”

(how to do it)

I’ll start. If you really knew me you’d know I have no idea why you people hired me to do this…”

(he demonstrates with a real in-the-moment example)

It’s this very exercise that leads the executive team to have a breakthrough conversation with each other, totally transforming the dynamics between the bank executive and his team.

There’s so much I like about this video beyond the examples I’ve shared here. I find his story about his work in baseball especially moving. And I think his iceberg metaphor is great! I hope you give it a listen, and check out his work. (If you do, tell him we sent ya—he’s a graduate of one of our courses from years ago called The Arete Experience.)

If you’re interested in training and developing yourself, as Mike has, in having the kind of skill and ability to create these moments of authenticity in your life, consider joining us at one of our live courses where you’ll have the opportunity to experience for yourself The Power of Authenticity.