Every Monday, I offer a leadership limerick, highlighting an idea or strategy about effective leadership in limerick form. Searching for leadership limerick will identify previous posts.
Authenticity can take you quite far
If you'll only be who you are
You will hear others' voices
With thoughts on your choices
But let your values be your North Star
It's natural that friends and family have opinions about the choices we make in our lives. It's helpful to have colleagues and role models worth emulating. But authenticity ultimately requires living from the inside out, not the outside in. We have to make choices consistent with our values regardless of whether or not others perceive they are right for us.
It can be tempting to say yes to opportunities not quite consistent with our core because they may offer a benefit or reward that is appealing (money or prestige for example). This is as true for organizations as it is for individuals.
Instead of trying to fit in with the opportunities presented to us, we need to seek the places, the people, and the opportunities that fit. And in doing so, we must ensure that the part we play in our lives is wholly consistent with who we are and that we haven't just become adept at consistently playing a part.
Authenticity isn’t always going to produce easy results, but then neither does projecting a facade or making inauthentic choices. Both have risks. Personally, I’d rather be rejected for who I truly am than be embraced for being someone I truly am not.
For more reading on authenticity, see this article previously published in Executive Update.