Below is the transcript of episode 23 of the One Last Thought podcast, titled "Embrace What Makes You Different." and I wanted to share it as a blog post, as there is so much value to be gained by these powerful thoughts shared by Carol Campos and Cris Beswick. Enjoy.
Growing up, I was labeled a sensitive kid and I didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the family. They loved me, but they didn't quite understand me.
I want to talk about authenticity and being authentic as a person, but more specifically as a leader.
Sometimes we're born into families where we feel "was their mistake? did the stork drop me off at the wrong door?"
We live in a world where fakeness is everywhere. where many of us probably feel as though we have to create a different persona or a different kind of character in order to fit in, whether that's at school or college, sometimes even at home.
You may feel like the proverbial black sheep. We have such a need to fit in when we're younger, and we worry about being different. But the same traits that cause us angst when we're younger, are often the very things that propel us forward as adults. These are our special gifts to the world.
Many of us feel as though we have to do that. Work and work is one of the places that we're going to spend the most time as adults.
When I look back at all the tears, I shed over things that I had no control over, namely how others felt about me, I wish I could talk to that young girl and tell her "you know, it's going to be okay you will be fine, you will be more than fine."
Being forced or thinking or feeling that we have to be inauthentic somehow, and create a different version of ourselves in order to fit in isn't healthy and above everything else. It's incredibly exhausting.
So, trust that there are no mistakes and everything about you is exactly as it should be.
The great leaders, they are authentic. They trust their instincts and they practice what they believe in and they act in line with those beliefs.
You don't know not everybody is going to understand you or even like you, and you'll save yourself so much stress if you can learn to be okay with that.
So, when we talk about authenticity as leaders, we're talking about the balance of our values, and our behavior, about what we believe, and about what we do, and about how we put our words into actions on a daily basis.
Focus on the people who lift you up and forget about the rest.
But authentic leaders also acknowledge when they don't have the answers and as leaders sometimes, and in my experience working with leaders around the world, there's always a sense that the people in charge the leaders and CEOs of organizations shouldn't have all those answers. Yet the best leaders I've ever worked with are the ones that are comfortable with being a little bit vulnerable. Comfortable and using that authenticity to say, "actually, folks, I don't have the answer to this question or this situation, what do you think?"
There are thousands of adults walking around with wounds from childhood. Maybe it was a careless comment from a family member, another child, a teacher that's stuck with them. But don't let this happen to you. People are going to have their opinions. But that doesn't mean you have to accept them.
And that vulnerability is always seen as a weakness as leaders. But in my experience, it's an incredible strength. It shows real deep empathy, both for themselves and for others.
If there was one piece of advice I can give to future generations, it would be to worry less about fitting in and embrace what makes you different.
So, in a world where everything seems to be fake at the moment, you know, plastic celebrities news that we can't trust, scandal everywhere, none of us know what to believe. So being authentic as a person, for me, is an incredibly important part of being a great person. But it's also one of the things that I think will make the next generation much better leaders than we are today.
So, my best advice is to worry less, have more fun, and fully embrace who you are. Because who you are is magnificent.