It’s that time of year. Kids are preparing to dress up in costumes and trek from door to door to make a friendly demand for chocolate. Sometimes you can recognize the child within the minion and sometimes it’s hard to tell. These short-term changes in identity provide a lot of fun. Why is it so much fun to pretend to be someone you’re not? It could be the reward. Even a minimal costume on Halloween will net you some candy.
The day after Halloween, most kids discard their costumes and life goes back to normal – except for the desire to eat candy for breakfast! It’s a great leadership lesson. There comes a time when you put away the pretend identity and reveal your true self. If you reflect on your journey, you will recall times when you tried out a few costumes. A part of developing a clear sense of identity involves a bit of trial and error. At some point, it becomes a costly habit.
We have a familiar word that describes what it means to put on a mask and leave it on. It is the word “hypocrite”. It is a “pretend” identity. The origin of the word reaches back to the days when actors wore masks. The purpose of the mask was to hide the true identity of the actor and present another face to the audience.
What face are you presenting today? As a leader, the call for authenticity rings loud and clear. It’s not a new subject. But, perhaps it is growing in importance because of an intense craving for leadership credibility and trust. What makes authentic leadership so dangerous? It’s a risk. It requires vulnerability. Authenticity begins on the inside and reveals what matters most. It’s far too easy to create an identity from the outside in and protect what’s on the inside. The real work of leadership begins with determining what hinders you from being the best “you” possible.
What helps you begin the day with a clear sense of your identity and the confidence to live accordingly?
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