“We are in an age of unprecedented change, it’s a ‘revolutionary’ time to be alive! The question we need to be asking ourselves is - ‘Am I leading that change?’ I believe we all have a choice to step up into personal, professional and social leadership. We have a choice to become agents for change, amplifiers, thought leaders to upgrade our thinking and lead our very own revolutions.”

Hidden Pages

Entries in authenticity (5)


Amplifying Authenticity

When you get up to speak in public, the fact that everyone is staring at you with great expectation creates a game of hide and seek . You are seeking to engage with the audience, and yet you tend to hide the parts of yourself that are the most interesting.

There are a few obvious factors that contribute to this:

  1. You are only on stage for a short while.
  2. All the attention is on you, so the give/take of normal conversation is missing.
  3. You don't think you are that interesting; a basic confidence issue.
  4. Humility teaches us to focus less on ourselves than on others.
  5. You are trying to be something you imagine the audience wants you to be, rather than being who you are.

Because speaking in public is an atypical mode of communication, you have to work harder at being natural within yourself. Paradoxically, you can't just be yourself ; you need to amplify yourself .



You are smarter, faster, stronger & better than you think

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.



Is it plagiarism?

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...

  1. Quote the source
  2. Add to the message somehow using your expertise
  3. Encourage people to go to the source and tell them how and why
  4. Twitter and Facebook about the source and encourage your followers to follow them
  5. Advance the sources business, positioning or prestige anyway you can
Respecting and acknowledging the source is a key to growing who you are as a thought leader, it forces you to go beyond "Thought Repeatership".

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.



The shoulders of giants

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.



The importance of authenticity

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.

  1. Know who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  2. Be strong in your weaknesses. Own and be OK with what you are not good at.
  3. Make no promises you cannot keep.
  4. Be impeccable with your word.
  5. 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.

Matt Church

subscribe to Matt's newsletter

And receive a free information pack, including a chapter from the best selling “Thought Leaders” book.

© Matt Church Pty Ltd 2010 | Privacy | Terms | Contact
p: +61 (02) 8966 4700 | f: +61 (02) 8966 4711 | Postal: PO Box 140, Seaforth NSW 2092 | Street: Rear, 510 Sydney Road, Balgowlah NSW 2092 | ABN: 24 056 695 035