What is it? It’s the lack of Authenticity.
Last week I had an opportunity to sit and listen to 125 college student leaders from across our state. What I heard was powerful. Here is what I continue to re-learn from our current “Feed Gen,” to Woodstock-Boomers, and all the way back to David in the Psalms: authenticity has an irresistible gravitational pull. Authenticity is difficult to define; it’s a little like pornography, “you know it when you see it.”
It got me thinking, what are the clues to real authenticity?
- Authenticity is rooted in time. I’m not sure I can be authentic when I’m in a rush. Deeper questions, longer eye contact and real empathy can only be created with quality time.
- Authenticity is passionate about the truth embraced and accepted within myself. Have you ever met a person who is simply “ok” with themselves?
- Authenticity gives the “all in” permission to a few close relationships. When “all in” permission is practiced with a “few,” authenticity is contagious in a crowd. See video above as example.
- Authenticity is similar to humility; once we think we are humble, we are not.
- Authenticity is more about the awareness of others and less about the awareness of myself – although it’s a balance.
I’m still convinced the greatest indicator of our authenticity is our ability to give those close to us permission to speak truth into our lives or brands. Let me ask, “When was the last time a team member/teenager/customer asked you a question that rocked your world?” Authenticity is created when you give people permission to speak into your life.
Big ponds or small ponds?
Every parent or leader should read chapter 3 of Malcolm Gladwell’s, David and Goliath when he argues, “It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a little fish in a big pond. Most often highly intelligent students enter the big ponds of Ivy League schools, only to be washed away in a sea of big pond frustration.” Gladwell argues that our chances of success are exponentially higher in small ponds.
I started to wonder how to create small ponds of success across all areas of life. In the video my son Cyrus was struggling one night with math until I created a smaller pond.
A small pond might be as simple as creating an achievable goal.
Ponds are a metaphor for measureable and achievable areas in your life. What if we created smaller ponds for ourselves and not try to compete against everyone?
Here are 5 Perspectives creating depth to your ponds:
- Compete only against yourself. If I’m always competing against others I can never win, there is always someone smarter, wiser, richer and more selfless than me.
- I’ve never been a big goal setter, but now I’m starting to compete against myself and in the process creating a game out of it. The internal success is interesting to watch…no goals needed.
- One way I have started to do this was tracking my time daily; “my time” is now a pond.
- In the video my son was trapped because leading up to completing the timed math test he felt like a failure, the pond was too overwhelming, only until he succeeded did he feel successful. The power of success is interesting to watch in a kid, which works in adults as well.
- Ponds are everywhere once you start thinking this way. Once you have defined the measurable – let the games begin, against yourself.
There will always be Olympic-type outliers who succeed in big ponds but they are exceptions and are most often only the exception in one specific area of their lives. Continuously expanding the depths of my ponds and challenging the width of those around me will create the opportunity to become the outlier when opportunities are presented.
Let the games begin.
The passionate noise of the 12th Man has become a metaphor for my life’s distractions. The 12th Man’s deafening noise comes screaming out of nowhere and wreaks havoc in my life. In life, noise can be more than just what we hear. It can be emotions, addictions, useless busyness, even the all-powerful face painted nut job of success. For a moment think of yourself as Colin Kaepernick and ask the question, “How am I handling the 12th Man?”
Here are five sounding boards I use in my life.
#1 Awareness: Be aware of the noise. Know where it’s coming from? I have learned from GoNetYourself that sound can be both magical and highly mysterious, but it’s the game changer to almost everything I do. Identification linked with honesty is the key to self-awareness.
#2 Cool Tools: There are times in life when I need a personal sound check. I have found keeping a detailed log of my daily habits is powerful. Identifying times allotted to daily activity over a 30-60 day period is acutely piercing to the heart. This little exercise will be your sound test to where noise is coming from.
#3 Communicate well: Learn to use noise to your benefit. When everyone else is frantic, calm communication allows for execution. Communicating well is key: be clear, be purposeful and be honest. When the power of the 12th comes, simple honesty brings clarity to most communication issues.
#4 Listen well: Listening well is the art of being ok with yourself. Listen to what people are not saying to you. Directly and indirectly – feed on feedback. Has anyone confronted you recently? If not, seek out feedback.
#5 Prepare well: Noise can scare the living bejeebers out of you and in the 4th quarter it rips your heart out. Understanding how to handle noise is all about preparation. Trust me the 12th Man is coming…prepare well. Preparation will enable you to relax in the midst of chaos, allowing precise execution. The key to preparation is knowing what is most important. Over the past few years I have seen the “Financial Crises – 12th MAN” wreak havoc in people’s lives. Those who already knew what was most important never flinched – they just narrowed their focus.
The greatest players cannot deny hearing the 12th Man ringing in their ears but instead have a unique ability to tune it out with keen focus.
P.S. – Please don’t forward to Colin – everyone else is loudly appreciated!
Comment below how you deal with the 12th Man in your life.