Entries in authenticity (5)
A friend of mine recently shared a story about a moment when he was a child and was feeling very proud of himself. He ran out of an exam to share with his mother how great he felt about the work he'd just done. His mother quickly told him to tone it down and explained that it is wrong to think so well of yourself.
Can you remember a similar situation where you had thought you'd done a great job, only to have your sails trimmed by someone you looked to for affirmation?
Whatever your story is, it's probably continuing today and needs to stop. You can't doubt your talent. You are magnificent, remarkable and need to return to loving who you are and what you do.
Sure, sometimes you will behave less brilliantly than you like - but your perception of yourself shouldn't reflect these times, but how great you actually are.
1. Discover your uniqueness and work in it
2. Become less reliant on the good opinion of others
3. Get clearer about what your purpose is, and remind yourself of this often
You are amazing! Believe it and be it.
Thought leaders are required to know first what is being said by other leading thought leaders.
Reading others books and blogs is a great way to do this.
Often you might quote what one author said in your speech or advice session.
For example, in one of Seth Godins books, Meatball Sundae, he quotes something like 6 (I stopped counting) other current books. What he does however (and we can model this), is interpret the message into a new context, not just regurgitate what some one else could read.
Here is a plan for borrowing ideas...
- Quote the source
- Add to the message somehow using your expertise
- Encourage people to go to the source and tell them how and why
- Twitter and Facebook about the source and encourage your followers to follow them
- Advance the sources business, positioning or prestige anyway you can
It's also good Karma.
Be meticulous when nicking someone else's ideas. The web is transparent!
Check out the Creative Commons Licence to explore the attribution rights framework. Some great thinking around the sharing of ideas.
Thought leaders need to come up with original ideas. Their intellectual property needs to bring new thinking to a field of expertise.
Isaac Newton is quoted as saying 'If I have seen further than others it's because I have stood on the shoulders of giants'.
When is an idea yours and when is it not?
I use a simple technique when rethinking established ideas. As I come across an idea in a book or blog, I ask myself not 'What are they saying?' but rather 'What do I think about that?'
Often my thinking will come from a 'yes AND' or a 'yes BUT'.
It's in the contributions and contradictions to existing ideas that you can add your piece to an existing thought.
Leadership authenticity requires amplification. Leaders are in the spotlight, their actions, comments and responses to almost everything are put through a filter. It's like living under a microscope.
A senior business leader friend of mine went through intense scrutiny a while back and every email, every report was put through a high level of analysis. He is a man of great character and so nothing was amiss, it was a witch-hunt.
The thing I most understood, after watching my mate from a distance, was how important it was for his actions, words and deeds to be truly his. Without that consistent character, that genuine authenticity, there would have been a terrible outcome. I don't think we will all have to go through a trial by fire like my friend, but we can learn from his example.
- Know who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Be strong in your weaknesses. Own and be OK with what you are not good at.
- Make no promises you cannot keep.
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Encourage truth, trust and transparency.
This last point was taught to me by another friend and teacher David Penglase. He teaches many things, including leadership and ethics. His test is a simple one. If kids were watching you do something, would you be OK still doing it? As a dad this one strikes home.As a leader, you need to amplify your authentic self. Turn up YOU when you turn up.