Purpose & Authentic Leadership

September 20, 2016

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Any chance you remember the old TV show, To Tell the Truth?  I vaguely remember watching it as a child...where different people pretended to be the same person, until the host eventually said: "Will the real Jordan Johnson please stand up."  And then one of the three people stood up, proving to be the real Jordan Johnson while the other two impostors stayed seated.    


Young hipster girl listening to music on headphones in a summer park. Portrait close-up with chewing gum. Warm toning. The concept of cheerful youth.

I am not sure why that phrase has stuck with me through the years.  Maybe it is because at different points of my life, various people wanted me to be someone who I wasn't.  An impostor.  Early in my career I was told I was too blunt (why did they hire a Jersey girl?)  Then after trying to tone it down a bit I was told I wasn't forceful enough.  ARGH!

A tricky part of navigating, leading and succeeding in business, or in any group you may be affiliated with, is to be true to your authentic self and still fit in with the organization.  Being comfortable and accepted for the unique, talented person that you are AND having the company be comfortable with how you behave and perform.  When you find that sweet spot, look out!  It is powerful.

You know this, because you have seen this!  It is the authentic leader you have worked for, who not only was the real deal (what you see is what you get), but also accepted and encouraged you, focused on your strengths and supported you in your goals and dreams.  You know this, because there are moments in your life (hopefully many of them) when you live like this!  When you are "in the zone," clear on who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Showing up and leading as authentic you, while making a big difference in your home, work and community.

The question for many people isn't IF.  If they want to live this way. 
 It is HOW.  How can I be the best/most authentic version of myself?

One way to do this is to get very clear on your life purpose.  It takes a little work to clarify, but once you do it is a powerful tool to help filter how you do life.  A friend recently called me asking if she should take a job offer - more money, but less desirable work and heavy travel.  One question I asked was:  will this job allow you to live your life on purpose more or less often?  Since she didn't have a clear life purpose, it was tough to answer.  So she reverted to the old pros and cons analysis.  Pluses and Minuses T chart.  Nothing wrong with that, except it may not lead to as satisfying of a life.

Interested in clarifying your purpose?  A couple of points to consider when working on your purpose is to know what it is and isn't.  It is not your job, or a goal, or what someone else wants for you.  It is more the context of life versus the content.  It should be larger than you, and therefore your purpose will not be accomplished or completed before you die.  And most importantly it will enable you to live and lead a more authentic and satisfying life!

Want to learn more?  Join us November 14 - 16, 2016 in Omaha, NE for a course designed to help refine your purpose and also build other important leadership skills.

Kate Johnson
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