Anyone can create a why, right? You get a prompt, why do you do what you do? You answer. Yet, that’s not quite it. If your why is disconnected from your authentic-self, people will not be attracted to it; why?
Because they will know/feel that you are being inauthentic.
It is, then, super important when creating our whys to be the authentic human being you know yourself to be. Let go of preconceived notions of who you think other people believe you are, and write your why from the space of who you know yourself to be. Important.
See, creating a why, or a purpose statement, is not about pleasing someone else, it’s about you. About the person you are today, the person you are creating yourself to be tomorrow.
When you get clear on your purpose, and convey your why from a place of authenticity, people will be attracted to it. They will see themselves in you. And, when someone shares their why with you, you’ll know if they’re being authentic, and, if they are, you will probably be attracted to them.
You. Yes, you dear blogger.
I’ve been following more and more sites the past couple of weeks, and have been truly inspired by all that I’ve read. From food recipes to articles on grief and trauma.
In the event someone hasn’t told you recently, you are making a difference in the world. Each one of you.
Human connection is such a wonderful experience, and to connect with each of you, though distanced we are, is such a joy, and honor.
My cousin literally just sent me a new message via LinkedIn, and shared with me a beautiful story about the Good Night Lights. Have you ever heard of this? I hadn’t. Take a look. Beautiful, and moving.
I went to the site and was moved to tears. Why? Well, it is, yes, a beautiful story. And, then, it got me thinking about each of you, and the work you continue to do on your individual websites.
See, it isn’t about moving an entire population of people, or providing them access to you and your ideas, all at the same time. It’s about touching one person at a time.
One person, then becomes two people, which eventually becomes thousands, as many of you can attest to; and, thousands can become millions.
You are an inspiration, and I thank you for the opportunity to know you in the way I do today.
Here are three quotes on authenticity that I love.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown
Where we start matters, much more than where we end up. For, it is in the starting of something that matters. The action, not the result. Let us embark, then, on a simple foray into leadership essentials.
What are those essentials, and why do they matter? And, do they matter only for leaders, or do they matter for everyone on a team, in a family, or in a relationship? Hm. Good questions. Let’s take a look.
One of the most important leadership skills, is the ability to know oneself. Understanding who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, is critical to effective leadership.
It is an impossibility to effectively lead a team, when you are disconnected from yourself, or are hiding from yourself. Impossible.
What is possible, is to be honest about who you are, and to be authentic. Being anything other than authentic will come off fake. The team will know when you are not being authentic, and traction with the team will elude you.
When you are authentic about who you are, you create the possibility of openness. When you are open to all that is around us, you also show that you are vulnerable. And, when you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you do not, could not, know all of the answers. No one can.
The opposite of authenticity and vulnerability is rigidity. Being rigid, pretending you know things you do not, will shut people down, close doors to new possibilities, and decline moral.
Practicing authenticity and vulnerability starts with you. You are the only one that can be authentic, and vulnerable. It can be frightening, as I share often with the team I work with, to be out on a ledge before the unknown.
However, that is where all the great stuff awaits you.
Creating a safe environment where people can be who they are, while knowing that they are safe to do so, is important to building trust. And, building trust with those you work with, reciprocally creates more safety.
I believe that the ability for a leader to create safety, is one of the most important leadership skills.
That is my bias. However, know that without trust, developing the investment, or buy-in, from team members on what you are looking to create is impossible. They must trust you completely. And, trust will only come when the environment is a safe one.
When you have created a safe and trusting environment, you have the opportunity to innovate because people are willing to trust in each other and be vulnerable. Safety increases the likelihood that people will be who they really are, authentic and vulnerable.
And, being vulnerable is one of the keys to creating innovative teams.
Include Transparent Communication
Being open with your team, includes being transparent. In the first year working with the team I am currently working with, there were people that were surprised when I would discuss the financials with them. They had never had open conversations about the finances. They were simply told to hit a number, or were told nothing.
You may get results this way, however, I am here to tell you that those results will not last, or will be limited.
People that don’t understand the financials, cannot understand all that is possible. And, similarly, only knowing a number, is only one piece of the whole. People need to have access to all of the information, so they can grow.
When people grow, the team grows. And, when the team grows, you grow. Simple. Growth will only come when you have created an environment that welcomes growth.
Welcoming growth, which includes creating opportunities for individual and team development, are keys to building an innovative and dynamic team.
Developing High-Quality Relationships
Being authentic and vulnerable, while creating a safe and trusting environment, which includes transparent communication is all about creating high-quality relationships. And, it is inside of the development of these relationships where reciprocity flourishes.
Building and fostering relationships that are reciprocal, means that it is always a team effort. Always. As a leader, you lead and set the tone, including practicing all of which we’ve discussed, however, it is the entire team that creates traction that is sustainable.
And, as they grow, you grow, and as you grow, they grow. Transformational.
The leadership skills we’ve discussed in this post are not limited to work teams. These leadership skills can be used in any relationship. And, you can get transformational results from any of your relationships by employing these leadership skills.
Relationships that are transformational have no limits. People in these relationships, whether it is a work team, family, marriage, partnership, or any other relationships, live without limits, without fear of the unknown, at the edge of what is known.
As a leader, it is your choice. What will you choose to create with your team and in your relationships?
Have you ever thought about how relationships work? I mean how they function within the systems and spheres that we move through? It is an interesting question, and one that we will explore in this post.
Now, in this post, we are going to expand on this simple relationship diagram, so we can see the movement that occurs through each of these relationship spheres. Let’s start with the relationship we have with ourselves, as it really does all start there.
Without a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we cannot create high-quality relationships with others. Why? Because if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, to love ourselves, we cannot give care and love out to others. Not in a sustainable way.
We must first develop deep care and love for ourselves, then that same deep care and love will go out from us to others.
Relationships with Family
Once we have a high-quality relationship with ourselves, we can truly be there for our family. In being there, I mean have open, honest, and loving communication with each other; developing those high-quality relationships along the way.
When we are inattentive to our emotions, and are reacting without pausing, there is a higher likelihood that arguments with our partners will become more common. These pauseless reactions also function the same way with and toward our children.
It is important to note that we are not reacting to our environments in this way intentionally. Fully understanding how we are reactive, includes learning about our “triggers.” What are they, whom are they with, and why do we have them? Once we know, we can create space to pause, think and reflect, and then choose a different action.
All of which when combined with having a loving relationship with ourselves, free of blame and shame, creates whole new possibilities with the relationships we have with our family.
Relationships at Work
In the post, Three Transformational Leadership Skills, I write about developing high-quality relationships at work. Developing these relationships, like the ones we have with family, also starts with ourselves.
Once we are clear on who we are, and how we think and feel, we can develop work relationships that are strong and long-lasting. In the article I note three essential skills all leaders should develop in order to create these high-quality relationships.
Authenticity – knowing who we are is the first step, then being who we are all the time is the next.
Safety – creating a safe environment with the team you lead, or work on, is essential. People will not be authentic with you unless you are also authentic, and they feel safe.
Transparency – being forthright about the state of the business, and issues that arise, are also important. Sharing with the people you work with is important for them to feel included, and valued.
These three skills, of course, are also important for us to develop in our personal lives. It works like that. What we develop for ourselves, we end up developing for everyone around us.
Relationships with the Communityand The Greater World
How we develop ourselves, and our relationships then goes out from us and into the community, and, yes, the greater world. When we create a focus on our inner development, people around us develop, and the community also develops. That is movement.
The movement is part of the way the relationship network, or system works. Here is a simple illustration that goes a bit further than the above referenced system image, showing that we are connected through everyone we know, ultimately, to all people.
By continuing to add more contexts into the above illustration, you can create more complexity in how the relationship system is interwoven.
Ultimately we are connected to everyone, and everything, and what we give out, comes back to us. All contexts are also connected, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly, as the above illustration also shows.
Whether the connection is direct or indirect matters less, than the realization that all that we do on this planet as human beings touches each other in some way. Important.
Relationships are so important. Really. The relationship we have with ourselves is the starting point, and, as you can see, it is only the beginning of how we, as human beings, end up touching everyone and everything around us. Even when we don’t know about it.
These relationships and all that we give and get from them are crucial to moving society forward. Without them, there would be no movement.
Know that every action you take to develop and grow yourself also grows your family, friends, teams, organizations, communities, and the greater world.
This week I’ve been thinking more about relationships in general, and also more about the ones in my life. Relationships are so important. I’ve written several posts about relationships, and the importance of all of our relationships. Even the ones we don’t typically consider, or think about often.
Well, let’s consider them all; and, what makes up a highly-effective relationship. Do you know?
I think deep down we all know, yet, we often get confused in our relationships. Swayed by commitment, personal ties, expectations, memories we have, and emotions we feel.
Sometimes, then, we stay in relationships, against our best interest. Yep. Most of you reading this know about that, as do I. Happens to us all.
Let’s then consider some of the keys to highly-effective relationships. A guide of sorts. Now, there are many keys to highly-effective relationships. Dependent on your standpoint, some of these may resonate with you more than others. Yet, I’m sure you will see yourself, or someone you know in some of these.
7 Keys to Highly Effective Relationships
Being in a relationship that is mutually reciprocal is important. Why? Because too often there are balance-issues in relationships. Meaning that one person is adding more value in the relationship than the other. What happens then?
When this happens, people can become resentful. This is especially true if the people in the relationship believe they must stay in the relationship at all costs. For some of you this might sound odd. Yet, believe me, people stay in relationships all the time that are not healthy, that are even toxic. Not helpful. Rather destructive.
The most effective relationships are those where there are clear distinctions between the two I’s that make up the relationship. In effect, in every relationship, there are three relationships. The one’s each individual has with themselves, and then the one they have together. 3 relationships.
And, all 3 of these relationships are important. When the relationship someone has with themselves is sacrificed for the partnered relationship, there is likely to be resentment, anger, and frustration. Again, not helpful.
When in a relationship we should support our partners growth and development. Too often, however, relationships are founded on a set of principles, ideas, and expectations, that prohibit, or at least mitigate growth and development.
When this happens, it means that the people in the relationship are, in effect, limiting themselves, and each other without knowing it. And, when one of the individuals in the relationship embarks on a developmental trajectory that upsets this previously created foundation, there can be pain and discomfort. Difficult.
Integrity is important in any highly-effective relationship. Integrity simply means doing what you say. Being your word. And, if you are out of integrity, to say so. You actively create a context, and conversation to let the people you are in relationship with know that you are out of integrity. That’s it.
It is important because humans are often out of integrity. Happens to us all. Think about a time you committed to be at a meeting, and you were late; or, committed to be at a restaurant at a certain time, yet were late. Two simple examples. And, they happen to us all.
Being out of integrity does not automatically mean that there is a problem or an issue; what it means is that there is a need to communicate about a change to the commitment that was made. Think of the two aforementioned examples, to continue to be “in integrity” a call about being late is all that is needed. Pretty simple, really.
How does it feel when you are inspired? Pretty good, right? Yep. Well, as I’ve written about in other posts, inspiration comes from within. It is our job to create inspiration; and, being in relationship with someone that lives an inspired life can create more inspiration.
If someone you are in relationship with is not living this way, it can lead to confusion, conflict, and possible resentment. Better to be clear about this from the outset.
Further, it doesn’t mean that you will both find the same things inspirational; maybe, yet not necessarily. Being with someone that leads an inspired life, is less about being mutually inspired by the same things, though that is possible. It is more about understanding what living an inspired life is about. Looking for ways to grow individually and together. Fun.
How important is communication in your life? Yep, pretty important. In fact, it is one of the most important keys to a highly-effective relationship. Why? Because when we are communicating, we are in a relationship; and, when we are not communicating, we are not in a relationship. Simple.
And, when I write communication, I am not talking about saying good morning, and good night. Or, even, how was your day. That’s not it. Communication means you are talking about your hopes and dreams, and having hard and difficult conversations about how to move them forward.
These conversations can be very difficult; yet, being in relationship with someone is not supposed to be easy. If your relationships are easy, chances are you are simply living each day as you did the previous one; and, this is not a judgement. I lived this way for most of my life, which is why I know the difference.
Being in relationship with someone, means being in communication with them. A must.
It is also important to be who you are. When we are in a relationship where we have to be someone other than who we are, think of performance, there will be a tendency for disagreement, unhealthy conflict, and resentment.
We all change over time, even if we are not interested in change. Change is a part of being human. When we are interested in change, we may change even more. Regardless, being in a relationship where you can be who you are, at whatever stage of development you are is important.
Being who you are doesn’t mean that you are always in agreement in your relationship. In fact, there may be disagreement often. It does, however, mean that you are supported, and advocated for. Important.
Know that there are many important aspects to highly-effective relationships. Yep, some of the ones you are thinking about did not make the list. Maybe they’ll make a future list. Don’t know.
What is more important is to know that the 7 in this post are important; and, if you’ve never considered one or more of them as important, you can now do so, if you choose. Your choice.
Now, how to put them into action? A few examples.
Putting the 7 Keys into Action in Your Life
Notice when your relationship is not reciprocal. When it is out of balance, ask why, first of yourself, and then of your partner. What can be done to create more balance? Again, first of yourself, and then of your partner. Asking these questions will create a context for open communication.
Create them, and talk about them. We all need our own time, away from all things and everyone. When you’ve created a boundary, you must talk about it, or else your partner will not know about it. And, when it is transgressed, by you, or your partner, get back on track and put the boundry back in place.
Openly communicate about the support you need. As often as needed. And, if you are not getting the support you need. First question yourself. Are you supporting yourself and your partners development? If you are, ask for that same support. If you are not, start there.
When you are out of integrity, talk about it. Openly communicate when things change, or get in the way. Don’t hide from it. And, if you do, make sure to talk about it at some point. Better to be open and openly communicate than hold something that is causing confusion or a possible misunderstanding.
Create inspiration for yourself, first, and always. Ask questions of your partner – what inspires them? How do they find their inspiration? And, what do they do with that inspiration? And, share your inspiration. Once known, inspiration can become something that is talked about often.
Create contexts for open communication often. Especially when a difficult conversation is needed. Hiding from a difficult conversation will only make it more difficult for everyone. Communicate openly and often.
Be who you are, in whatever iteration you are in. Remember, being in a relationship is a choice. A choice for you, and your partner. Sometimes, it will be best to leave the relationship than sacrifice your true self.
As you think about your relationships, always remember that we are in many relationships in our personal and professional lives. Some of these keys may resonate more with you from a professional perspective, and some more from a personal one.
Either way, if you feel stagnated in your relationship, try one of these keys. If not these, then try something new. For, it is in the trying and doing of something new that we can create the change we feel we need, yet are often unsure of how to achieve.
This week I’ve been reflecting upon authenticity and vulnerability and their relationship with transformation. Though I’ve been reflecting upon authenticity, vulnerability, and transformation in regard to the team I work with, it is impossible to consider these concepts without considering the individual. They are completely interconnected. You cannot have one without the other. They reinforce each other.
I spent many years thinking I was authentic and vulnerable, however, that authenticity and vulnerability were always lived out within a limited framework. When things got too scary, I would withdraw, or hide. Know that many people live this way, some are aware, some are not. I was not aware for a long time.
Being authentic means living in all of your contexts the same way. Where you show up the same no matter what you are doing. Many people have performances for work, for home, for friends, etc. Just like I did. However, to live a completely authentic life, you perform the same way in every context. You are the you that you know yourself to be everywhere and with everyone.
Of course, being authentic in this way, can be uncomfortable for you, and for those around you. Especially if the people around you have a particular view of you that they are attached to, and you are not showing up as they expect you to. However, when you are living an authentic life, and are being true to yourself, you are beginning to live a life without limits.
Limitations are superimposed by ourselves on ourselves when we are trying to live up to a standard that someone else has set for us, whether that be parents, caretakers, partners, or peers. When you remove these limits, by living authentically, you create new possibilities for your life. And, you also create new possibilities for those around you.
Know that those around you may not always want to partake in these new possibilities, especially if they are living in the past, waiting for you to show up in the performance of you that they expect of you. However, that is their expectation, and need not be yours. You can live an authentic life. It is not easy, yet it is there to be lived, and it is transformational.
Living a transformational life, opens you up to a whole new possibility. The possibility of stepping out into the world knowing that there is far more to learn than you could ever know. More, it is actively seeking contexts where you can experience the many things you don’t know. Especially when that learning makes you uncomfortable, which, for me, is the height of being vulnerable.
When we are vulnerable we provide ourselves the opportunity to learn as much as we can while we are living on this planet. And, we also create the possibility that those closest to us also get to live a life full of that same possibility. A life without limitations.
Again, those closest to us may not want to live a life without limitations. For a life without limitations can also be difficult. When you are open to all new things, new ideas, new ways of being and doing, you develop and iterate as an individual. And, when you are around people that do not develop with you, you can find it harder to be compatible with those people, and they you. Difficult.
Yet, this difficulty, is also transformational. It is transformational because through these difficulties you will learn a lot about who you are, and who other people are. I am grateful for those people in my life that actively resist the person I am today. They help me understand more about myself, more about them, and more about humanity in general.
You will also have those people in your life that want to develop with you. Also a transformational experience. Getting to see people develop around you is one of the most exceptional experiences I’ve ever had. It is inspiring, and insightful.
And, when you are around people that are interested in your development, actively participate in it, and develop themselves alongside you, you also get to develop together. Reciprocal development like this, breeds transformation.
Living an authentic and vulnerable life can be difficult, however, the experience you get out of living this kind of life is more than worth while. In fact, I would say that the difficulty, uncomfortability, pain, and uneasiness in venturing into the unknown is really what living life is all about.
For, it is in the experiences we have where our heart rate increases, and sweat beads on our brow, where we know we are truly living. Living an authentic, vulnerable, and transformational life. And, that life awaits you. You just have to take that first step.