Authentic leadership is easy


jude-doing-cartwheel1Childhood videos show me being constantly on the move, skipping up and down. I was full of life and laughter and I was definitely a free spirit.

Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve learned to conform. To what I’m not sure. I studied well and got good grades through school and uni, I worked hard and was regularly promoted,  I had pay rises and some amazing awards and experiences, I got to fly all round the world with business and I was highly respected in the organisation.

And if that is the measurement of success, then it’s true to say I have been extremely successful. I’ve had an incredible career.

Somehow along the way, I lost myself. I lost my true authenticity. There is much talk about authenticity in leadership and dozens of books on the subject but how do we know what that really means? I’m not a theorist so I won’t comment on the theory. Instead, I’ll share with you how I I found my authenticity, how easy it is to be authentic and how compelling I am when I show up.

Last week, I went on a 6 day Leadership course. It was 6 long physical days and yet at the end of it, I was more energised than I have been in a long time. It was a joy to participate. The reason? I was encouraged to be me.

Nothing else. I showed up. When I wanted to have fun, I had fun. When I chose to do things that I never believed my body could physically do, I found that it actually could. I loved. I laughed. I danced. I refined my life purpose statement. I began to understand who I really am when I show up and my unique purpose (more on that in another post). And I began to love myself when I show up authentically.

I learned that when I show up authentically like this, it’s easy to love me. It’s easy to follow my lead because I’m compelling when I’m being my true self. I fell in love with 21 other people who were also being authentic. 21 beautiful amazing people who all want to have an impact on the world and the planet and who I know will achieve this because they know how to show up.

Yes we were challenged. Yes we had highs and lows throughout the week. Much of that was about finding ourselves, finding our authenticity and letting go of needing to look good. And throughout it all, we counted on each other for support. We asked for help when we needed it. We fell down and we picked each other up. I stood in the face of real fear, I allowed myself to let it go and I stepped into my new life. My new life of authentic leadership. And I made it easy and fun too.

Since returning, I find I am lighter, more fun. People are laughing around me much more than they used to. Everything seems easy. If this is authentic leadership, then I highly recommend it to everyone.

Oh and the course I went on was CTI Leadership. Last week was the first week of 4 over a period of 10 months. In between each week, we have assignments to do and we have regular calls to keep each other on track.

Interestingly, if you’d asked me before if I was authentic, I would have said yes. I honestly thought I was. I know there will be times when I slip back into playing a role and hiding behind an act. This is part of the learning process and I know as I develop, I will step into my authenticity more and more.

How authentic are you?

What do you naturally want to say or do when you are truly authentic?

Drop your act. Step into your authenticity and start having the impact on the world that you are meant to have.

With love,
Jude. x

Tell us what you think


  1. Vin |
    Vin | NaturalBias.com06-05-2009

    Hi Jude, what a great thought provoking article! It sounds like you had a great experience with your course.

    I think many of us enjoy our ability to truly enjoy and appreciate life because we spend too much time worrying about things that don’t really matter such as our social status and what others think of us. Young children don’t worry about these things nearly as much and simply enjoy their surroundings. It’s as if they’re authentic by default and have yet to be conditioned by our status driven culture.

    I think authenticity comes from within. When you are firmly grounded and in touch with who you are and what you value, it’s much easier to relax and enjoy the moment instead of chasing the achievements of others.

  2. Corrina Gordon-Barnes
    Corrina Gordon-Barnes06-05-2009

    I can FEEL the difference it’s made – your tone is different and this is the first time I’ve seen your website like this – when did you change it?

    I’m super keen to hear more in detail so let’s catch up soon.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. Lisa

    It sounds like you had a great time and learning experience. What was the one thing that made the biggest difference at the leadership course? What do you suggest people do they can tap into your excitement if they can’t make it to the leadership course right now?

    • Jude

      Yes, it was a great experience and one I highly recommend. I’m excited about the rest of the year of this programme.

      I agree with Vin that authenticity comes from within. It’s only when we truly know ourselves that we can step into that authenticity and really live it. That makes us so much more compelling than the acts and the fronts that we often put up to protect ourselves.

      Lisa, I learned so much in a week and much of it is difficult to put into words. Try this for starters:

    • Consider a time when you were really on fire, when you were unstoppable, when you felt really alive. Really step into the picture and feel it in every inch of your body.
    • What is it about this moment that is significant for you? Who were you being? What were you doing?
    • If you were to be like that in your every day life, how would that be different?
    • What happens when you shut down?
    • What can you do/say to bring yourself back to being fully alive?
    • If you dare to fail spectaularly, how would you be different in what you are doing today? Consider also what you do to prevent yourself from being seen. What happens when you open yourself up fully? What is the impact?
    • Lots of questions there. Keep an eye out for future posts where I’ll expand on additional learnings.

  • claire

    Good Jude. I’m really pleased for you. Sounds like you were (and are) on fire. Will be great to catch up later this week. xx

  • Becki True
    Becki True06-12-2009

    Jude, thanks for this article. Too many people, especially leaders are afraid to be themselves. How many meetings have you sat in where no one participates because they are afraid to look stupid? Watch those who do ask questions because they are the ones who do the real leading.

    This was also a good reminder to lighten up and have fun. I’m so happy you feel this way and others are noticing.

    • Jude

      Becki, you’re so right about asking questions. I wrote another post about true leaders being confident enough to ask curious questions

      Life is about having fun. Work can be fun too when we let our authenticity shine forth and stop worrying about getting it all right. Having fun is the easiest thing to do when we are authentic.

  • Suzanne

    WOW, I hear you Jude!
    Lovely comment, expecially like the
    “when I show up authentically like this, it’s easy to love me. It’s easy to follow my lead because I’m compelling when I’m being my true self.”

    I could not agree more. You are so lovable in your pure self, I smile at the memories.

    Love bite from ya’ Earth dragon sis in Sweden!

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