Authenticity: Be the real McCoy if you want others to help you succeed.
By Dick Cross
Want your business to be extraordinary? I mean EXTRAordinary?
It starts with you. But in a way different from what you’ve ever heard before. And a whole lot easier.
Extraordinary accomplishment requires extraordinary commitment. Not just your own. But also from others who believe in you, and in your business.
Not just enough to “trade” you their 40 hours a week for pay. But, moreover, to “gift” you with their zeal to make you succeed.
People only “gift their zeal” to one other kind of person. It’s one who’s authentic to them. One in whom they believe. Because it’s only that kind of person who can inspire them to feel part of something special and cared for.
It took me a while to figure that out. So, I misspent some of my career. Trying to be admired. Rather than understood and believed. Sound familiar?
It felt like putting on a costume every day that didn’t quite fit right. But it was what I thought people needed to see. I even had some successes in that getup. But looking back, I now see how those laurels were won by others. Not me. People in my organizations who were better understood. And in whom others believed. More than the guy in the costume. Who just happened to be standing in front of the parade at the right time.
So, are you authentic and believed in your organization?
Pause before you respond. A lot of people answer “yes” right away. Many shouldn’t. Because the phony at the top is always the last one to know. Your stature fends off others from letting you in on how they really see you. So, you go on with the show, believing that you’re getting away with it. And they roll their eyes and talk about you around the water cooler.
My own makeover – from a “wannabe” Bonaparte to aspirant Braveheart – wasn’t too difficult. But it did take a willingness to accept that I wasn’t who I wanted to be at work. And a commitment to get it right.
It starts with deciding you like yourself. It’s the first step in allowing others to see you authentically. I got there by making a list of things I liked most about myself and comparing it to a list of things I hoped no one would ever find out about me. It was a sobering moment.
The conclusion? The first list outweighed the second. Good news and probably the same for you. But there definitely were items on the second list that embarrassed me and I needed to fix. After fixing those, I really didn’t care whether people knew about the others that were left. Because there were enough in the first category to carry the day. And because nobody’s perfect.
Next, power up your “Phony Meter.” It’s the little device we all have that signals our trying to be something other than who we really are. But we only hear it if we’re listening for it. And a lot of us never turn it on.
When you first start paying attention, it goes off a lot. But with time, less frequently. That’s when people are starting to develop a better understanding of who you are … and when you start feeling the same thing. Deeper comfort and satisfaction.
No more tantrums. No more “deer in the xenons” when something goes wrong. Even if it’s your fault. Simply calmly resolve to work through the problem. Knowing you’re good – damn good. That your sense of who you are is solid. And that there’s nothing to hide.
And the best part? Your authentic belief in yourself is what’s authentic to others. It’s what they seek. To be inspired. To feel part of something special, and proud. That anchors a depth of followership that no guy in a costume can ever achieve.
So, what does it take? It takes a combination of courage and humility to find out how you are perceived, and to think hard about how you need to be in order to build the business you want. Then, align your thinking and behavior assiduously with that persona. That’s what creates an EXTRAordinary company. It’s all up to you!
Dick Cross is the author of “Just Run It,” an Amazon best-seller. He is founder and managing principal of The Cross Partnership Ltd., and is a consultant and speaker. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dick Cross on Twitter – @DickCross.
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