How to Commit to Being Unapologetically Yourself
The most beloved leaders are praised for being selfless. They put others first. But what many don’t realize is that it takes a level of personal introspect and comfort with yourself in order to be genuinely and objectively caring of those around you.
Not only do you have to know who you are and what you stand for, you then have to make the difficult, unpopular and even painful decisions that hold true to your beliefs and pursuit of the greater good. Leaders: your team needs you, your colleagues need you, your friends need you, your family needs you, your business needs you and the world needs you to be unapologetically yourself. That means:
Leading with Love
Leading purely with compassion gets us into situations involving sentiment, which can cause us to avoid the decisions we know we need to make for fear of hurting someone and/or disrupting something.
Leading with love includes compassion, along with respect and honesty. It’s those latter qualities that allow us to approach and articulate the tough decisions that keep us from reaching our next level and also keep the very people we think we’re protecting from reaching their next level. For a deeper dive into the idea of leading with love, take a quick pause and click over to this article.
Knowing Your Own Values
You’ve gone through the painstaking process of creating a mission statement for your business and developing organizational values…but have you done the same for yourself? A lot of times, we get stuck working in our lives and neglect to work on our lives. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely important to have business values. But at the end of the day, we’re all humans searching for connection and purpose. We need personal values and family values to keep our business values from overpowering what truly matters.
It’s natural to avoid conflict, and you can do a pretty good job at it if you try. What I’d like to challenge you to do instead is to accept the next conflict that you come across and address it head on (with empathy and sincerity, of course). Why? Because with the tip above this one, you will be aware of your most meaningful values in life and, just as importantly, when something clearly conflicts with those core beliefs. This gives you immense power and poise as a decision maker.
Conflict sprouts change. At first, you might still feel wary after an uncomfortable decision or conversation. You may even doubt the decision and yourself. Let these feelings subside and the positive effects of your decision will eventually take shape. I call it the pruning of the roses; you have to prune your roses—including getting through the thorns—in order for them to grow and blossom.
Blocking Out the Noise
Think of how many people’s opinions are involved in your decision making. Many of them are people you love, and some are people you barely even know. Then, to pile it on, you have all of this information coming at you from all angles, all the time. Articles, ads, social media…It’s like having a hundred different radio stations playing at once, including the one in your head that has been tainted by all of the others.
Being unapologetically yourself boils down to knowing which information to use and which to discard. The goal is to do what you believe is best for everyone, not listen to everyone tell you what they believe is best for you to do.