“Be authentic?” Well, did the world need Hitler to be more authentic? Anchoring our actions on “being authentic” is selfish, lazy, and unprofessional.
It is tempting to use authenticity to justify our actions.
“That’s just me being me.”
That’s selfish. We care more about what we want.
“I’m just giving it to him straight.”
That’s lazy. We are unwilling to put in the work to adjust and relate.
“I am not feeling it today.”
That’s unprofessional. I can’t say that when I have to change my son’s diaper for the 5th time in 30 minutes.
Telling someone to “be yourself” is useful if the other side actually knows who he or she is. But then, isn’t “who am I” the most poorly answered question of humanity? Telling someone to be themselves is no different from saying “head west,” in English, to a 3 year old Chinese toddler who’s trying to find her mother.
So don’t try to be authentic. When your staff is confused, don’t tell her to be herself. Instead, be someone else- someone that is better than you, someone that is universally good.
What would Mother Theresa do if someone cut her off on the highway?
What would Einstein do if his PowerPoint crashed?
What would the #bossbetter you do?
That’s it. Thank you for letting me being me.
* Inspired by Bill Burnett and Dave Evan’s “Designing Your Life”