Today is a bit of a milestone for me. This is my 200th blog post and I wanted to make it something special. The first thing that came to mind was some marketing campaign or effort to create buzz. You know, all the things one is supposed to do regarding a blogging achievement. I simply couldn’t bring myself to do that. I’ve never been much of a hype machine and probably never will.
I wanted to be authentic for this particular post, which brings me to a place where I want to be vulnerable with you. I mean the kind of vulnerability no one wants to do publicly. I want to personally thank Heather Coleman-Voss and her husband Paul Voss for the encouragement to write this post and the kick in the pants to help make it happen. I love our friendship…thank you!
I’m an entrepreneur – through and through. I love the idea of jumping in over my head and letting anxiety, fear, a challenge and the chance to succeed at something to motivate my swim to the surface. If you’re not an entrepreneur, you may think I’m mentally imbalanced. If you are, your heart rate just went up about 10 bps.
In the process of creating something, you become exposed to certain pressures. You want things. You want to be perceived in a certain way by certain groups of people because you believe – or are taught – that those perceptions can be the difference between success and failure. Maybe that’s accurate in some way. Maybe it isn’t.
I caved to one of those pressures and it happened early in the game for me. As a business leader, it is easy to fall into the cycle of presenting yourself and your company as you want it to be seen. This puts you in a place where, for the sake of what you want to consider as PR, you stretch the boundaries of truth a bit. Nothing overt or nefarious, but rather suggestions that make room for perceptions to develop.
My biggest faux pas was the misuse of one simple word – we. Read through some older blog posts and the website. The Leadership Advisor, as a company, is structured – through language alone – to appear to have a number of employees; simply by the repetitive use of a two-letter pronoun. Currently, this brand is me. I have people I turn to for help and support, but I am the “staff”.
I unapologetically believe in what The Leadership Advisor represents and the value it creates for companies. No question. What I DON’T want, is for that value to be jeopardized in any way through a misrepresentation of how many people currently work with or for the company.
I have been speaking with a number of professionals in various regions around North America, Scandinavia and Europe over the past few months because I want to have more people working with The Leadership Advisor brand. This is a direction in which the company must move and is poised to move. I couldn’t, in good conscience, go on about authentic leadership in blog posts, social media updates and other messages of the brand without writing this post. Call it a baring of my soul, vacuuming my conscious or a PR stunt. It doesn’t matter to me. I can’t expect anyone who comes to partner with The Leadership Advisor to be authentic and genuine if I’m not and the representation of the brand is not.
I try very hard to put as much value in each of my blog posts because you deserve that from me. I hope the value you find in this post is one of encouragement. I hope that I have encouraged you – as my friends Heather and Paul did for me – to lead more authentically. It is my wish that my vulnerability strengthens you to do that thing you know you need to do in order to be the leader you want to be…even if it scares the crap out of you.
This was a difficult post for me to write. I don’t know what kind of response I should expect. It may do damage to The Leadership Advisor brand, or it may add more credibility to it. It’s a gamble and it’s a risk. Leadership is a risk and as the leader of this brand, I am happy to stand out front and take what comes.
What risk do you need to take to be a more authentic leader?