Do you know how to embrace authenticity and live an authentic life? How well do you truly know yourself? How do you feel as a leader?
These are all fundamental questions that CEOs, top-level management, entrepreneurs, and everyday working professionals should be asking themselves. The purpose of asking oneself those meaningful, hard-hitting questions is to practice self-awareness.
While we might not always know the answer (or want to accept the answer), it’s vital to check-in with yourself daily. This helps you not only raise your consciousness as an individual but as a leader too.
Understand Your Values, Goals, and Life Story.
Most people have this idea that leadership is born by nature (i.e., born a leader). However, that is farthest from the truth. Only 10% of CEOs are natural leaders who lead by example. True leadership is like a flower: planted as a seed, watered, and nourished over time. One such characteristic that all great leaders cultivate is authenticity.
Knowing yourself & embracing authenticity means devoting yourself to a lifetime of self-awareness. The best leaders are those who truly understand themselves and have the vulnerability to do so. Embracing authenticity also means being vulnerable, which is how inner strength is born too.
There is no magic formula for being a leader. It takes trial & error, practice, and a deep dive into one’s heart and mind. It takes understanding who you are at your core and OWNING your life story.
Here’s a Story About Stephanie to Demonstrate What We Mean.
Stephanie Miller is a 52-year-old CEO of a mid-size service company with 450 employees. She has been the CEO for five years, whose successor had been in the role for more than 20 years.
Stephanie is an authentic person, an authentic leader. She knows her values and lives and leads based on her values- unwavering.
Stephanie does not use a persona to project an image of someone other than who she is. She knows who she is- all of who she is.
Stephanie is self-aware. She is aware of her strengths and developmental opportunities. She is always open to hearing about blind spots, even if they are difficult to hear.
She uses self-reflection as a means for staying connected to herself and for understanding herself, others, and the environment around her. Among other things, this allows her to stay “tuned in” to the interconnectedness of her relationships.
Stephanie recognizes the value and importance of having a practice, be it mindfulness, exercise, or spiritual in nature, to keep her grounded and centered as she navigates the responsibilities of her various personal and professional roles.
Stephanie shares her vulnerabilities as a means of staying true to herself and as a way of connecting with others.
So, Let’s Ask a Serious Question.
How does being an authentic leader, one who is true to herself, affect Stephanie’s ability to attract, retain, and develop relationships with people while empowering them too?
Take some time to reflect on Stephanie’s story to help answer that question. Perhaps imagine yourself in her shoes, living an authentic life yourself.
If someone asked you that same question (about yourself), how would you respond?