Some time ago, I was reading an interview with James Hackett, the CEO of Steelcase. When he was asked about his most memorable leadership lessons, he spoke of the importance of becoming a leader that was not ‘prepackaged’. In the course of his work, he met many CEOs and he noticed that the ones who were truly impactful, truly leaders in every sense of the word, were those who were not ‘prepackaged’. The great leaders were those who exhibited a ‘sense of peace, this self-awareness, that says, ‘I understand who I am’.
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“Be yourself” – wait, what?? Someone please explain how to be somebody other than yourself. Because I can think of plenty of instances in my life when it would have been great to be somebody else, at least for a while. And of course there were times when I just wanted to run and hide from being myself after doing something stupid or embarrassing. But try as I might, I’ve never been able to not be me.
Oh sure, I’ve given plenty of Oscar-caliber performances. I’ve used sheer willpower and creativity to give others the impression I was imbued with certain capabilities and charisma. But if I’m being honest, I always felt like my acting was never quite good enough.
That begs the question though, does being authentic simply mean avoiding that type of pretense, that acting? No it doesn’t. Because underneath the act, I’m still being me, just as an actor.
It appears that the inescapable, authentic me is always there. Read More
So many people I encounter around the country are upset about the future these days. Where are we heading? Why are things becoming increasingly divisive and what will that do to our ability to live together? Why does there seem to be a license to say exclusionary or hurtful things? Are we forgetting the adage ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’? Read More
When I was a young woman working in a nursing home, one of the most disturbing things – worse than the feebleness of the residents, or the smell, or the fact that even a self-absorbed twenty-four year old couldn’t really ignore mortality in that environment – was how many folks told me that they didn’t know where their lives had gone. Read More