Authentic leadership is easy
Childhood 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.