2023 Word of the Year: Authenticity



Authentic – the quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy, or genuine; the quality or state of being authentic; reliability; genuineness; referring to the proven fact that something is legitimate or real

‘Authentic’ has become a buzzword as more people decide to “keep it real”. I started writing a blog on authenticity in mid-2022 but left it incomplete. I planned to relate it to the true essence of authenticity and explain how being authentic doesn’t give you the license to be rude, explosive, and closed-minded. Being authentic means being to yourself.  Authenticity requires self-reflection and self-awareness – an understanding of your desires, motivations, and values. Authenticity leads to showing up unapologetically as yourself, prioritizing your needs, and being your true self despite what society expects without intentional or irresponsible harm to others.

I realized that authenticity is my word for 2023 in December of 2022. As is usually the case, the word had been showing up for me throughout the year. I’ve written about it in my journal. Posted about it on social media. I can recall specific conversations about it. And even see where I have used synonyms throughout 2022. Once I verbalized that my 2023 word of the year is authenticity, the confirmation and validation increased.

I am turning 50 this year and I refuse to dim my light, lower my standards, shrink to fit into places I’ve outgrown, or be anyone other than who I am at my core ever again. There is freedom in authenticity. There is expansiveness in authenticity. Y’all will get authentic Nicki wrapped fully in my awesomeness. I’m actually quite amazing!

My journey to and through authenticity has been life-long and because I am still living, growing, and learning, my journey continues. Honoring all that I am and all that I will be.

Word of the Year:

  • 2023 – Authenticity
  • 2022 – Elevation
  • 2021 Completion

These 3 Words:

January 2023 – Elevate Your Authenticity



Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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