What does “Alaska!” and it’s mountain, Denali, have to do with authenticity?
I’m happy you asked!
Recently, I was richly blessed to visit Alaska on a 7-day cruise and 4-day land tour. My husband and I took this trip with our parents. A tremendous gift on so many levels.
Alaska is a “place to its own.” The raw beauty is nothing short of breathtaking. This picture portrays Denali Mountain in the distance. This mountain stands tall at 20, 310.
Thinking about the beauty of the ocean, mountains, glaciers, tundra wilderness and more made me think about the raw beauty of people. Our God creates only beauty!
We are each one created as a “place to our own.” Sadly, too many leaders try to “fit in” or own a leadership style that is not true to who they are and the result is losing sight of one’s true self.
Sadly, too many leaders try to “fit in” or own a leadership style that is not true to who they are. Click To Tweet
Authenticity is CRITICAL for Women Who Lead
Without it, you may appear to be quite successful, but you will not have the IMPACT you are capable of; the impact God created you to have.
It really is that simple. You will be putting up appearances and fighting inner battles rather than being the best version of you.
Leaders often confuse authenticity with transparency. Authenticity is about being you; WHO you are. Transparency is about WHAT you choose to share.
It is not a lack of authenticity when you make the choice to not share all the details. For example, I may be transparent in telling you that I made many poor life choices.
However, I may not dive into the details for a number of wise reasons demonstrating true leadership.
You Are Just Like Alaska!
Just like Alaska, you are a unique creation. Likewise, you have a raw beauty that gets hidden when you do not live in alignment with your core values and sense of purpose.
It is difficult to be authentic in your leadership if you are not clear on what it means to be authentic.
Authenticity is not:
- Transparency. In fact, it can be very unprofessional, and hurt your leadership, to share all the details of your life.
- Putting your raw feelings out there. If you are angry, for example, you are not being less than authentic when you hold your tongue.
The honoring of your core values as you keep things in proper perspective.
Let’s look at a “proper perspective” example:
I really don’t like networking very much. I’ve been in too many networking situations where I felt used. How so, you ask?
- The interactions were superficial. I value deeper discussions.
- With leaders, people naturally seek to rub elbows. They want you to know their name and/or their product. I felt that some people could have cared less about who I am, but they care greatly about what I could do for them.
Many of my past experiences with networking have felt like an attack on my core values of integrity and honesty.
However, when I keep it all in proper perspective, I see the facts that:
- In order to build relationships, networking at some level must occur.
- Not all relationships will go deep, nor should they.
- Even when people seem to be only interested in their own benefit; I don’t know their true motives or their situation. Don’t read things in, that may not be there.
To stay authentic in networking situations, I need to remember the above FACTS. Otherwise, assumptions take over.
Don’t Buy into Assumptions
Anytime you buy into assumptions, the likelihood of staying authentic is very slim.
Assumptions cause our minds to BUILD all kinds of self-protection scenarios. That’s human nature. It’s a good thing when based on facts.
When your behaviors and choices are based on assumptions, you can become far removed from what you truly value.
This can cause all kinds of problems, not the least of which is an abundance of stress you don’t need.
Another aspect of Authenticity is Knowing YOUR Purpose
When you have relative confidence in where you are headed, you will stay focused.
When you stay focused, you will be less likely to be swayed by the challenges that will absolutely cross your path.
Challenges that will create struggles in staying true to yourself.
God has Called YOU to Lead
There’s no denying that God has placed many women in positions of leadership. There’s no denying that He provides what you need to be the leader He has chosen.
Being an authentic leader is required in order to be the best leader you can be. Staying authentic requires awareness:
- Know who God created you be; your core values.
- Know your purpose as He has revealed it to you.
- Pray that God would keep you aware.
- Inventory your authenticity. Daily is best.
- Did you say what you mean and mean what you say?
- Make note of conversations or actions where you weren’t true to your values.
- Did you confuse authenticity with transparency?
How have you struggled with authenticity?
What helps you stay authentic and true to yourself?