Lesson's from Larry Winget on Authenticity
In my recent powerful interview with Larry Winget (I’ll provide a link below if you didn’t get a chance to join us), one of the topics that we discussed was authenticity. We all have different phases of our careers, as well as multiple opportunities to step back and examine our level of personal and professional authenticity.
Larry’s journey began as a sales rep for AT&T. His sales career with them was cut short when his department shut down, which forced him to do something else, so he went into sales training. However, he couldn’t help but feel that what he was doing simply wasn’t helping him become the person he wanted to be. In an attempt to move closer to his authentic self, he went into motivational speaking, which still didn’t feel just right. After some soul searching, his message and purpose evolved into what it is today: there is sacrifice in success, and you have to stop doing the things that are holding you back. Larry found that being brutally honest with people is the best way he can help them, and is the approach that was really “him.” Once he started delivering his authentic message, he began to gain celebrity status, speaking for hundreds of Fortune 500 companies, writing six New York Times bestselling books, and appearing on multiple TV shows and commercials. I guess you could say that people respond well to authenticity!
I’m using Larry as an example, because discussing this topic in our interview made me rethink the concept of being authentic and the ways it shows up in life and business:
YOU: Authenticity is about being genuine and true to yourself, essentially doing things that are in alignment with who you are and what feels right. Does your role in your company feel right? Are you fulfilled? Or, do you feel antsy, like something is missing or “off?” If the latter sounds more like you, it’s time to really think about who you are, what your talents are, and how you can better serve your company with your unique talents. Sometimes this means delegation, role shifting, hiring a new team member, or even finding a business partner who has different, yet complementary, strengths.
YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE: In addition, authenticity isn’t just about YOU. It’s how you connect with others. It’s the way you portray yourselves to others and the relationships you develop based on this portrayal. From a leadership standpoint, your team members want to know who you are so that they know what to expect on a daily basis, as well as what you expect of them. People also respect authentic leaders who have a genuine vision for their companies. Don’t be afraid to be a passionate leader with a clear long-tem vision; leadership shouldn’t be an act, it should be a strategic representation of who you really are.
MARKETING: From a marketing standpoint, you need to examine the messages you are putting out to your community. Are you just saying generic things that you think people want to hear, or are you really telling clients (and team members) what makes you different in an authentic way? Is your brand and marketing communicating who you want to be as a company? Your clients and potential clients want to know who you are as a company. When you stop hiding behind a façade and start putting out an authentic message, people respond positively to that. In our world where reality TV isn’t real, photos are airbrushed, and it’s hard to know what to believe, people and businesses that are actually “real” can have a huge competitive advantage.
I’ll finish here with wisdom from one of the great leaders of our time:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." -Steve Jobs
If you missed our live interview, here is the video recording.