They REALLY do. Do you find yourself to be a good judge of character? Can you feel when someone is putting up a front with you? Yep, you and every other person. 😜 And I believe you’re right! Our intuition, if we listen to it, will tip us off immediately to someone who is being disingenuous. This is especially true for a woman’s intuition. 💁🏻♀️
Let’s take that a step further. Would you fearlessly and loyally follow a leader who you felt wasn’t authentic with you? No, you most likely wouldn’t. So if you want to be a great leader, we need to dive deeper here. You need to reflect on your level of authenticity with your team and we need to work together on how you can own your story as an effective leader.
My Lady Boss Perspective
I truly feel that most disingenuous leaders are not meaning to be inauthentic, but rather are trying really hard to be what they think a leader should be. They are copying what they see from leaders they’ve been around, from the media, and/or from experts that they follow and look up to. There are problems with each of those. First, if you’re just following other leaders you’ve been around, they most likely have been thrown into leadership like the rest of us with very little or no leadership development and are winging it. Second, if you’re following the media for examples MOST of this is contrived in one way or another for good TV. Third, if you’re following experts I commend you for working on yourself and your own development, but all of these experts are successful because they ARE authentic to themselves.
Great leaders are much more self-reflective than the average person, and they have dug deep into their own experiences to discover their “why” and own their story. (We’ll highlight a few later in the post.) So if you want their success and want to be a great leader, you have to do that hard work with yourself. And it is HARD.
I went to an amazing event on Saturday night, RAWWTalks, put on by RAWW – Real Authentic Women Wellness. Since meeting several of you there, and hearing the powerful and personal stories of our two speakers (more on them in a second) I’ve been digging deeper into my own story and experiences.
I realized that out of fear of the stigmas that come along with certain labels, I’ve avoided owning painful pieces of my own story. I have such an easier time being motivated by other’s stories and the effect of their experiences on me. I know that the pieces I have worked through, like owning my journey with anxiety and my broken relationship with my dad, have helped me connect with others and lead authentically. I also know that as I continue working through the other difficult pieces of my story, that no matter what labels I come across I choose to be a SURVIVOR and I choose to be a LEADER every day. And guess what? You have the power within you to do the same. 💪🏻
Okay, Now Take it From Some of the Most Influential Women
Sarahi shared her traumatic journey since learning that she was undocumented as a junior in high school. Her struggle through DACA and to get to college was incredibly painful and included living without her parents starting at age 16, deep depression, faith, losing her father while separated, reuniting with her beautiful mother after 10 years of separation, and how her journey led her to creating an app for DREAMers to find scholarships. She’s gone from contemplating suicide to being invited to the White House, becoming one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2016, and being nominated as the Visionary of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2018. She realizes that all of the hell she has gone through over the last decade has allowed her to impact other’s lives in a positive way and she intends to continue doing so. She reminded me why, especially now, we need to fight and be voices alongside our DREAMers and realize this is NOT a political issue or something to shy away from.
Melissa shared her heart-wrenching experience as a mother who learned her son had been sexually assaulted at the age of six. The heartbreak that she experienced I cannot even imagine, but Melissa worked hard to create a supportive, safe space for her son through this traumatic experience. Supporting her son, keeping positive, and pushing forward through nurse examinations, investigations, bureaucracy, law enforcement, child protective services, and the pain her son experienced being separated from some family he loved, took nothing less than superhuman strength on Melissa’s part. From moment one when her son disclosed his assault to her she shared how proud she was of him for trusting her and sharing with her, BELIEVED HIM, ensured he knew that none of this was his fault, and that everything would be okay. This experience brought her to founding Sex Positive Families, working on, “shaking the shame and trashing the taboos surrounding sex, the body, relationships, pleasure, and safety.” She focuses on parent empowerment, and I have to say that she makes it look EASY to be a sex-positive parent! If you have dreaded “the talk” or aren’t sure how to talk about consent with your children, she is your girl! I’m so blown away by her work and her authenticity.
Take a moment to reflect on some of the people you see as “successful” or “experts” whom you admire. I can almost guarantee that the vast majority (or ALL) of them do their work because of their own personal experiences and stories that motivate them and connect them to their work. For example, Arianna Huffington’s collapse due to exhaustion has led her to being a huge advocate for sleep, Dolores Huerta became the originator of the phrase “Si Se Puede” and the Founder of United Farm Workers after teaching children in schools in Stockton saying, “I couldn’t tolerate seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.”, and Tarana Burke started the #MeToo movement after being unable to comfort a young girl sharing her sexual abuse for the first time.
So What Now?
I challenge you to take 30 minutes today and just free write about your own story. What are the things that make you so proud of you? What are the things that bring up pain? Are you truly owning each piece of your story? Are you using that story to guide your “why”?
The things you’ve endured in your life, and the things you have been celebrated for in your life are NOT AN ACCIDENT. They shape your calling. If you listen to these experiences, find the positive in them, and find how you serve others best through those experiences you will become the best leader you can be.
This one is personal and takes time to work through, so I won’t ask you to share your personal story in the comments unless you are comfortable doing so. If you aren’t ready to share your story, please share a story of someone who inspires you in the comments! 🗣
Talk soon! 👋🏻