This is a quick guide to being able to be authentically yourself...
“You need to change your appearance!” …
“If you are going to be working with business people and the corporate world you will need to smarten up”
This is the advice that I was given by my business advisor when I started my coaching business and I was trying to work out how to break into the business world.
So I followed his advice, I got some jackets, trousers, nice shirts and got “dressed up” and I felt like I was trying to be something that I am not….
But it was a case of … I had to fit in or face rejection.
Did it work?
In a word…. NO
Because I was not being my True Self, I was incongruent to who I am… If you know me, you will know that jackets, shirts and dress trousers is not my jive…
So what was I to do?
How could I still be a Leadership and Personal Development Coach in the Business World?
How could I be accepted, fit in and be taken seriously…
It all started with me being able to “Lead” myself, to have confidence in who I am, what I do and how I do it.
People ask me a lot “How do you Lead yourself?”
And this is what I share with them…
Firstly we must be clear on our Core Values.
Values in their rawest form are our “moral compass” – it is what makes us feel good and makes us feel complete.
When I was in the Royal Air Force, we had 4 very clear Values which we lived and died by and they were:
· Service before Self (putting the military’s needs above our own)
We knew these so well that we were all empowered and equipped to make critical decisions, as long as those critical decisions could be aligned with these 4 Core Values, we knew we were making the right decisions.
Well after 26 years of service I left the military and moved to Australia from the UK and during my trip down in the plane I challenged myself to find new personal Values for myself…
3 years on and I still hadn’t discovered these new personal Values and my decisions were weak, ineffective and led to a lot of frustration and internal turmoil.
Then I got a Coach and we focused on Values and my Coach helped me discover my new Core Values, which are similar, but fit with who I am as a person.
As soon as I aligned my thoughts, decisions and actions with these Values my life changed…. And boy did it change for the better.
Now every decision I make is filtered through these 4 Core Values.
So, step 1 to Leading Yourself is to be very clear on your Core Values, because these will also help you with boundaries, relationships, commitments and showing the world who you are, what you will tolerate and what you will not tolerate.
Step 2 is to know yourself inside out…
How do you do this?
By understanding human behaviour, your behaviour…
· Why you do what you do?
· What drives your choices?
· What are your thoughts and what are they saying to you?
· Understanding your strengths and weaknesses (yes I did say weaknesses, I know that is not a politically correct term, but I am me and that is how I role)
· Have a curious mindset, a growth mindset and a willingness to learn and grow
· To explore our mistakes, to allow ourselves the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them
· A willingness to get our hands dirty, to do the things what others won’t, so that we have experience, that we have “lived” experience.
Step 3 … developing our skills in the areas of our expertise, our genius, and having support in the areas of our weakness. (book recommendation – The 6 types of working genius by Patrick Lencioni)
How do you know where you are strong and where you a weak, give yourself a score out of 10… 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest.
There is a theory that we can only grow by a maximum of 3 points in any area of our lives.
Let me give you an example.
Maths and Numbers are my nemesis – I am terrible at them. I would give myself a score of 3 out of 10…
Now, if I were to work really hard, and I mean really hard, I would, at best get to a 6 out of 10 and that is pretty average isn’t it?
Will people pay me to do their books and accounts? Probably not…
On the other hand, I know one of my strengths is communicating, sharing and breaking the complex down into easy to understand strategies and insights…
I would score myself an 8 out of 10 in this area… and with more learning, development, coaching and mentoring in this area I can become at least a 9 out of 10 and possibly even a 10 out of 10…
People pay for that… People are attracted to that…
So I am average at Maths, and great at sharing and communicating…
Let me ask you this, when you go out for a meal…
Do you go out for an average meal, with average food and average service?
No, you want the best…
So grow in your areas of strength and get someone to support you in the areas of weakness, this is why I have an accountant and book keeper, a calculator and my best friend “Google”
Step 4 – Faith, have faith in yourself, believe in yourself, know that “You are Enough”
Then go out there and be you, be truly you and see who is attracted to you and who is not.
You will notice that those who are like you are attracted to you and they are your tribe, they are your people.
I know, it sounds easy… but it isn’t and it takes courage and commitment to you.
I used a Coach to help me, it was powerful having someone who is committed to you as much as you are, but not emotionally connected. They have the ability to see what you can’t and help you to call you out on your BS and hold you accountable.
So, I know you are wondering if I did break into the business arena…
Yep, I sure did and I did it in my own style of a T-Shirt, comfortable track pants or shorts (depending on the season) and the most colourful runners I can find.
I recently presented to a business with over 90 people in the room dressed in my own style.
Do I still get looks from the suits…. Yes.
Do those same suits come up to me after my presentations and trainings and say “Wow, that was amazing, so many takeaways and value…thank you” and shake my hand and invite me back again.
You bet your sweet arse they do…. Why?
Because I am authentically myself, I believe in myself, I know what I share works because I have lived it and used it myself (that is that lived experience I mentioned)… I can convey this with passion, belief, commitment and it lands.
Even more it inspires others to be their True Selves…
Don’t try to be like everyone else, they are already taken…. Be you, you are uniquely you for a reason and the world needs you.
Be Authentically You, it suits you.