I had the good fortune to come to Cancun, Mexico to spend the Holidays this year. There is nothing like the Mexican sun, especially at this time of the year. When the Northern hemisphere is going through really bad ice and snow, the beaches in the Peninsula of Yucatan are filled with foreigners running away from the inclement weather. As I am enjoying the sunset and the nice breeze from the balcony of my hotel room, I am thinking about what makes Mexico unique and a favorite destination for many. Well, there is no question that the sun, lovely beaches and beautiful weather are key attributes to making it a favorite place for many around the world.  In addition to the gifts of Nature, Mexico has a very authentic culture.

In Mexico, the culture, values, beliefs, traditions and language have survived the influence of its Northern neighbor. Mexicans are proud of who they are and that is apparent when you visit their country. Here, while the effects of globalization are visible and in the tourist areas most Mexican speak English and try to incorporate some of the customs of their foreign visitors, they always try to make you feel welcome in their home and strive to make your visit unforgettable by being who they really are: an authentic culture.

Authenticity is, without a doubt, one key to success. For success, I am referring to personal, professional, and/or business success. When we are authentic, we have permission to be ourselves, to be who we really are, to express the values we have to offer, and to experience what makes us different from others. Being authentic is to “think out of the box”; it’s not to imitate or copy other people’s creations.

I remember when I was growing up that my parents always told us we were supposed to be better than they were. I can’t imagine myself being ‘better” than my wonderful and irreplaceable parents. But today, I think that what my parents really meant is to be successful in our own unique way. We try so hard to be like other people, when, in reality, all we need to do is to exude our values and attributes to become unique in this world in our own way. However, being authentic does not mean to be who we are and forget who we want to be. On the contrary, being authentic means honoring our own set of values and beliefs while moving toward that state of excellence and achievement that is in alignment with our own self.

If we take a look at the people that have made history, they all share a common attribute: they were authentic. This concept also applies to products and services.

Apple Computers broke with the paradigm of what personal computers should be about. Google, IKEA, and Starbucks are all brands with a unique personality that are committed to deliver what they promise.

Be absolutely clear about who you are and what you do best. To be authentic, practice what you preach.