Authenticity – Are you really that good

November 22, 2009

Yesterday I commented on a very well known public speaker on the topic of business on a blog. When my wife asked, “why did you have to make such a response?” I started examining why I would make such a true and not flattering statement of the person. You know the old adage, “If you have nothing nice to say. Say nothing at all.” Especially when that person could help you sell books.

Upon reflection, I think it comes from two places – it reminds me as I go on stage with my book, to keep it real. There are no superhumans. We are all flawed and when we are in leadership positions it’s important that those who speak from the platform are seen as real, not some fictitious icon. It is a long way to fall with those who think they can keep it up for a lifetime.

There must be some envy in making such a statement and dissidence. I have known many leaders who speak publicly form public persona versus one of authenticity. Even, surprisingly, those who speak on the subject of authenticity.

Chris, my wife, and I were at a fundraiser several years ago and we knew the leaders that were speaking. The comments they made behind the podium were not who we knew these people to be. They were speaking to an organization of students. It would be impossible to not be swept away with these leader’s comments – they were all such fine speakers. All my wife and I could think about were, what a set up for these kids to learn that there are no trade-offs in life and you can really have it all.

Those who do say it is the quality of time that is spent with the family – if that is not looking at the side of the coin you want to believe I don’t know what is. Kids really don’t care about quality, they just want you around. You can’t have both! I am not saying you can’t both lead and have a family – you just cannot be exceptional at all of the roles at the same time. Getting authentic is the first step to tossing your gold coin face up.

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