Just like you cannot not communicate, you can’t hide you either. Your daily behavior teaches your values; every action reveals the belief system that motivates it.
So what is an imperfect human being to do? One that wants to win the respect, affection, and admiration of those around them? Well, work hard, work smart, and commit to continuous learning and growth (personal, professional, social, and spiritual).
But never, ever pretend to be more than you are, to try to appear to be perfect when we are all not. Integrity and authenticity are powerful, even inspirational. Walking your talk, aligning your actions with your words builds trust, even admiration and respect. It is ironic. None of us are perfect and we all know that yet somehow it takes courage to admit it.
Yet once we find the strength to own up to our faults, mistakes, foibles, and weaknesses, we generally find more acceptance, more respect, more trust than when we were trying to maintain a façade of perfection, especially when we make a genuine effort work on our faults, back up our weaknesses and to recover from our mistakes.
I have worked with good-hearted people who so deeply wanted to be without flaw, to deliver perfect work, that they exhausted themselves, refusing to delegate or let go of projects, ending up taking on more than any human could possibly do with the inevitable consequences of dropped balls, missed deadlines, and overlooked details. And still, even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, they would tell everyone they “had it”, that they were “on top of it”. The result was a loss of confidence by some and complaints of duplicity by others.
Real strength comes from owning our weakness. People respond to authentic effort not perfection; the first is real and relatable, the second is but an illusion, a veneer, a false front that breeds distrust and suspicion.
“This above all: To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Hamlet, Shakespeare
“The hardest thing about being a leader is demonstrating or showing vulnerability… When the leader demonstrates vulnerability and sensibility and brings people together, the team wins.” – Howard Schultz
“Authenticity is about imperfection. To be authentic is to be at peace with your imperfections. Great leaders know they don’t know it all, they ask for advice, they know they can’t do everything; they look to others to help them.” – Simon Sinek
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier