Authenticity: pitfalls versus ultimate advantage

“The one essential quality a leader must have is to be your own person, authentic in every regard. The best leaders are autonomous and highly independent.”
— Bill George, Authentic Leadership

What do you do, when you are authentic, you are real, but others just can’t handle it?

You genuinely want to serve. You sincerely intend to bring only that which is good to your environment. You are positive and optimistic, you are forward thinking, you embrace change as “the new normal” but others aren’t as ready as you are.

In fact, as much as they also crave those same things you are ready to lead them into, they have a fear that if you step into their world you will rock the boat. Now what?

Do you tone it down?
Do you simply go it alone?
Do you play “the game” instead so that you follow that age-old advice to make it comfortable and easy for everyone else to work with you?

This was a very real conversation I had with someone this morning, and I was torn in trying to give him advice and encouragement that was based on reality but not a damper on his enthusiastic spirit.

It is appalling that his world is not ready for him, for they need him – in his full, glorious authenticity and idealism – very badly.

He is right when he talks about what his workplace can be, far beyond what it is right now.
He paints a magnificent picture of possibility, hope and promise.
But people fight him every step of the way.
They keep their doors closed, and their arms folded.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot settle for mediocrity. We deserve better.

With this as the background, I read a post I had bookmarked about a week ago just before I’d left on a business trip. Read these suggestions in light of a desire to be real, true to self, and genuine as the authentic person you are:

1. Recognize that you already have a brand whether you know it or not. It’s time to take control of it to build an authentic powerful brand destined for great success.

2. Identify and examine your own story, experiences, and life-changing moments in your personal and professional life.

3. Attach importance to your story because it is real, unique, and the only thing that can’t be copied.

4. Connect your experiences to the things that are important to you–your values and beliefs.

5. Express these values as your brand values with corresponding elements that are visual and audial, as well as those characteristics that can be felt and make people feel.

6. Share these values in a way that incorporates as many of the human senses as possible.

7. Communicate these brand values so that they relate to your audience and can be easily remembered.

8. Reveal your authentic brand in a way that involves your audience, listens, responds, and maneuvers as you anticipate your audience’s changing needs and wants.

9. Write down a specific plan for your brand development and the results you will achieve.

10. In the fullness of believing you are worthy and valuable, turn the attention your brand receives back to the world to meet and exceed their wants, needs, hopes, and dreams.

May I Have Your Attention, Please?: Building a Better Business By Telling Your Story. by Chris Hilicki

We never need to settle for second best — ever.

You can read the post done by Todd Sattersten in its original context here. It is actually about “Brand Storytelling.”