When I started my blog 2 years ago on the theme of “What have I Learnt today”, I underestimated the commitment needed to make it a consistent and regular practice.
Putting myself on the line was a bold statement at the time and the beginning of an extraordinary journey of learning and discovery.
I chose to write my blog only when I felt inspired by insights that shifted my perspective. And so, my latest insight builds on the kindness theme from my previous blog, after experiencing the true power created when boldness and authenticity are added to the mix!
I’ve just completed the Landmark Forum course; an unusual, yet powerful experience. Amongst many insights, the one that stood out for me was the choice to live an authentic life.
And the definition of being authentic? Is to take responsibility for when you have been inauthentic which happens to us all much more often than we dare admit!
It means making a clear distinction between facts, and our interpretation of those facts, which we build into stories that adjust reality and shape our lives, rarely for the better. It means being real about when you feel upset, disappointed, betrayed or angry and let people we care about, know about it. This is a huge ask given that most people choose to live an inauthentic life mostly without ever being aware of it.
And once you become aware, being authentic about being inauthentic takes a lot of courage! Is what Brené Brown would call being vulnerable; the other side of the same coin called Courage. And it’s where true magic happens.
I resisted committing myself to this intensive course for 5 years finding all sorts of excuses. If you want to do something, you will find a way and if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. One of my excuses was that I knew it all already!
How little did I know! My excuse faded away when someone I trusted suggested it would make a huge, positive impact on my son’s life. For him to do it, I had to do it first. Suddenly, 3 full, intensive days were no longer a huge commitment but a necessary step to make a difference for him.
And in that process, I re-defined boldness. It is having the courage to ask for what you want in an authentic way. As Oprah said “in life you get what you have the courage to ask for”.
As an executive coach, I work with people to improve their performance to levels they never thought possible. Giving them the courage (or what some call confidence) to speak up, to get a dream job, a dream promotion, to get better connected with their team or make some difficult choices to achieve that elusive work-life balance.
As my own coach would say, it is “helping people dare more” to achieve extraordinary results.
“It is nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” Not easy when kindness is seen as a weakness in the corporate world. But it’s by far one of the most important investments you’ll ever make and one that will pay off multiple times in the long term.
What do you want to be known for? “Being kind” is what my kids would say!
By any definition, my son is extra bold! He doesn’t have a social filter and sees life in pure black and white terms. He has the courage to say what he sees and what he hears. It’s called honesty in his world. In the “real world”, it’s called cute at 5 and embarrassing and insensitive at 15. He has the courage to ask for what he wants and persevere until he gets it!
But being bold, honest and persistent (the positive side of having OCD) is a paradox not always understood by the world around him.
Explaining that bold honesty is not always perceived as kind is not an easy task! Explaining that HOW you say it matters just as much as WHAT you say is a work in progress in my son’s understanding of the value of “social kindness”. And that authenticity is all about YOUR behaviour and never about the other person.
The work I do with my son is the biggest testimony of what is possible and what can be achieved, when choosing to shape your Emotional Intelligence. And once he, and anyone else, can master the skill of being bold, authentic and kind, all at the same time, the possibilities become endless!
If you want to practice mastering that skill, join us at our Courageous Women leadership retreat on 26-29 September 2019. Get in touch via www.extramileretreats.com to register your interest.
Be bold, authentic and kind!
ADA, July 2019