Tag Archive for: authenticity

How to hold yourself accountable to be authentic.

Authenticity is when your actions are a full expression of who you are in a way that contributes to the world. You are in alignment with what life wants from you. The Authentic Way is the awareness that you don’t need to change yourself; you need to come home to yourself.

Words I hear used to describe what it’s like to be authentic, at home with yourself: happy, confident, peaceful, free, brave, calm, inspired, appreciative, alive, fulfilled, ‘you lose all track of time.’

Words used to describe when how you live is not the real you: exhausting, anxious, depressing, sad, irritable, stressed, lonely, disengaged, empty, lost.

How to hold yourself accountable to be authentic:

  1. Decision. Like any choice to change your life, it starts with a decision – a firm resolve to live your life authentically.
  2. A Benchmark. Have a sense of what authenticity feels like to you: have a vision of what “coming home” means to you. Know you’ll be “off course” much of the time in a world that expects much from us.
  3. Community. Authenticity is a lonely journey but it can’t be done alone. Community can come in the way of teachers, guides, confidants, and coaches – those who support you and hold you accountable to be who you are.
  4. Self-Reflection. The authentic journey is a contemplative journey. Reserve time on a regular basis to turn off technology to attend to the voice from within.
  5. Journaling. Regularly writing down your emotions, reflections, dreams, values, progress, and gratitude, can help keep you connected to your authenticity.
  6. Feedback. Be open to how you are impacting others. Stay humble. Being teachable is a core quality of authenticity.
  7. Uniqueness. Create a list of ways you come home to yourself, nourish yourself, and attend to these regularly (e.g. spending time in nature, with good friends, with animals you love, reading books, cooking, going to museums or the theatre, etc.)
  8. Service. Authenticity means bringing your gifts to the world in a way that makes the world better – even in some small way. Be sure you are intentional about making a difference.

A Time For Letting Go

My mother used to say that she spent the first half of her life accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them. The important things in life, she learned, aren’t things.

At this stage of my life, I get it. After months of reflection, Val and I have decided to simplify our life and downsize. We have decided to sell our beautiful acreage and move to a smaller home.

While I’m not yet ready to retire, we want less stress and responsibility and want to free up more energy to focus on what truly matters. Simplifying our life will allow me to be more intentional with my work, live with fewer distractions, and create greater financial flexibility. It’s a journey of shifting my mindset and priorities towards what truly brings us joy and meaning.

I’ll deeply miss the forest, the nature conservancy in our backyard where I walk the dogs every morning, and the creek our family and friends have played in for years. But with our kids now launched and busy building their lives, it’s time to step aside and give someone else the opportunity to build memories in this beautiful location we have enjoyed all these years.

This is a transition time for us: for letting go, grieving and celebrating.

As we go let, my hope is to make room for something new to emerge, to continue to be a guide to those I serve – with greater clarity, renewed energy, and focus. I look forward to sharing the journey with you in the coming weeks with the hope it will inspire you to live with peace and alignment to your values.

From a TO-DO List to a TO-BE List

Successful people have some kind of a to-do list – stuff that needs doing this year, this week, this day.
Living authentically means having a to-be list: How will you show up in your life? What kind of person will you be when you come to work? What kind of a leader will you be?

Here’s an example of what I would consider a great to-be list:

  • Be committed. Commitment is essential for success. Commitment to a cause beyond your self-interests. Commitment takes you past a goal or wish. Being committed means a firm resolve that inspires action.
  • Be encouraging. Encouragement means a belief in people, making everyone around you smarter and better. Rather than draining energy and intelligence and capacity by pretending to be the smartest person the room, use your wisdom to amplify the intelligence and capabilities of others.
  • Be grateful. Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement. Being grateful means inspiring others by finding the best in every person and every situation. My mother grew up in poverty and would say, “Always find a way to make your gratitude bigger than your circumstances.”
  • Be humble. Humility is a true evaluation of conditions as they are. It’s having the willingness and courage to face the facts of your life. Everyone has something to teach us and has somehow been a part of our success. Humility is about giving credit where credit is due.

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Don’t promote insecure people.

Insecurity and positional power don’t mix well. But I see it all the time. Someone is placed in a position of authority and they use that authority to get work done. “I’m the boss so do as I say.” While you might get short-term results, if you aren’t secure enough to listen and value the opinions and approaches of others, you’ll get resistance, disengagement, or resignation.

One CEO told me she never promotes anyone until they’ve spent time leading people in a volunteer organization. “If you can’t influence people where you are without a title, then you haven’t yet earned the privilege of having a title.”
The late former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher said, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

Being a leader means:

  1. Being secure enough with yourself that you can admit you aren’t the smartest person in the room, you have something to learn from everyone, you can ask for help, and you sincerely open to learn and try other suggested methods.
  2. Listen and value opinions and approaches of others before sharing your experience and perspective.
  3. Make a decision and take a stand when you need to. Know when you’ve collaborated enough and that your decision isn’t necessarily going to make everyone happy.

The Workplace as a Classroom for Self-Development

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. It was a phrase that changed Jim Rohn’s life. As the legendary personal development speaker and author famously said, “If you work on your job, you’ll make a living. If you work on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.”

The best leaders are committed to life-long learning. They understand that the greatest gift they bring to relationships is a stronger, wiser, more self-aware person. As people grow and improve their capabilities, they amplify their impact.

Where do you go to learn? We’re conditioned to learn by going somewhere: to school, to university or technical college, to the internet, to articles, to books.

While these are all great sources of information and learning, what if we could also make life itself a classroom, and our experiences the curriculum? This mindset could revolutionize how we perceive the challenges we face. Every “problem” we encounter would be seen as an opportunity for personal growth. Every setback a chance to learn. Everything that happens to us could be viewed as happening for us.

What if all those things we find ourselves complaining about are presenting themselves as lessons? What if all those people we gossip about are there to teach us something?

Have you ever noticed that if you don’t get the lesson, you keep repeating the class with the same experiences? It’s like Bill Murray in the classic movie Groundhog Day. The events kept repeating themselves until he understood the lesson he was meant to get.

Here are three strategies for turning your workplace into a classroom for self-development:

  1. Assess Your Situation. Take a close look at your work environment to discover the potential for growth it holds. Take an inventory of your frustrations, stuff you complain about, and the things you dislike about your job. List the people that irritate you and those you gossip about. What stresses you? What overwhelms you? What activates your fear response in your work environment? (You can take a similar inventory in your personal life.)
  2. Renew Your Perspective. Start embracing challenges by seeing problems as stepping stones rather than roadblocks along your path to success. Ask, “What lessons am I meant to get from this problem?” “What is this difficult, insensitive boss here to teach me?” “How can I respond differently to those putting all these demands on me?” “What lesson is to be learned from not being appreciated?” Maybe you are meant to learn to be more clear or brave or kind. Maybe what’s required is more commitment or self-care or compassion. Instead of hiding by complaining or gossiping, start facing reality rather than running from it.
  3. Take Action. Decide how you will apply the lesson you have learned. Knowing that growth lies outside your comfort zone, what risks will you take? What actions are required? Who will support you? How will you hold yourself accountable? Apply the lesson and contribute to a healthier, more vibrant workplace culture. If you think it’s time to exit, be sure you’re not escaping from a difficult learning opportunity. Be sure you get the lesson before you leave. Otherwise, you’ll meet the same experience in your next job (or relationship). Regardless, if you’re committed, you’ll find a way. If you aren’t, you’ll find an excuse.

What a legend can teach us about leadership

The past week we lost a legend. Bob Cole, the eminent broadcaster for Hockey Night in Canada for fifty years, was a beloved and iconic figure in Canadian sports. His passing was felt by hockey fans across the country. Bob Cole was the long time play-by-play voice of Hockey Night In Canada. He was also the voice I remember listening to sitting with my father every Saturday night.

Yesterday I listened to Bob’s last interview with CBC reporter Ian Hanomansing as he prepared for his final broadcast on April 6, 2019.

What impressed me the most about the interview was Bob Cole’s humility.

Bob believed in keeping the focus on the game itself and the unfolding action, rather than making the play-by-play about his own persona or commentary style. His approach to broadcasting allowed the drama and emotion of the game to come through. In the interview he was adamant that he never wanted the listener to remember the broadcaster; he wanted to listener to be impacted by the game. It wasn’t about him. It was about the game.

The interview was a good leadership lesson – the importance of humility. A great leader puts their team, the organization, and the cause above their own ego or personal agenda. A great leader exudes self-confidence without arrogance. They give credit and recognition to team members rather than seeking it for themselves, and are happy to see others succeed. In short, a great leader chooses service over self-interest.

Thank you, Bob Cole, for the memories and the lessons.