Leadership Lessons: I dare you to be authentic

Picture of Albert Einstein saying, "If I were to start taking care of my grooming, I would no longer be my own self."

I failed an economics class twice before eventually passing. I have owned two businesses and both failed. But my third business is thriving!

We have all failed at something, but one of the keys to bouncing back is allowing yourself to be totally authentic as you fail.

What many people do is put in more hours, hoping it will make up for the failure. We pretend things are great when they are not. We force out the smile when we really want to cry. We stuff down feelings because we don’t have time to deal with them. It’s called denial.

The only real failure happens when we’re not truthful with ourselves.

Great leaders have strength and courage to be fully authentic. Leaders who are authentic understand that they are not separate from other people. They don’t make the mistake of putting their titles, positions, powers or skill levels at the top, making them the most important issues.

True leaders lead by realizing they must serve the greater good.

You’ve already won

I spent a lot of my years reaching outside of myself for fulfillment and to satisfy my goal to win. I would use food, work and career, shopping, and relationships to make me happy. This doesn’t work.

Learn to trust and allow yourself to feel. This doesn’t make you weak; it makes you an authentic leader.

It’s far too easy to stuff feelings down with a bowl of popcorn, long night out, long workday or shopping spree.

Feeling is not always comfortable or easy, but that courage to be authentic makes the most relatable leaders.

You don’t get bonus points for sharing ALL of your issues and baggage but there is a choice you make each day to show up authentically and to be real. To share yourself in those moments of vulnerability and to connect with the people around you.

Have the courage to show up

It’s within this authentic truth that your entrepreneurial creativity, innovation and vision will emerge.

As entrepreneurs, we find it easy to compare ourselves to the people around us and mostly to try to follow our mentor’s path.

What I’ve learned is that our authentic self is not discovered by taking the path that someone before us took. We can have all of the tools, logic, analysis, strategy and business information available and, although this is helpful, it’s not the path to authentic leadership.

It wasn’t until I let go of perfectionism that my success as a leader emerged. It wasn’t until I focused more on the process of being in complete truth and trusting my own intuitive guidance and desires that I was lead down a path that was truly unique.

What are you currently doing that is authentic to your self?

What are you doing that you know is un-authentic to your self?