Want To Be Real? Start Subtracting

Most career inventories and branding activities are additive. They ask you to identify success factors by adding up your talents, hopes, and goals. That’s part of the process.

Real-dealOne of the desirable ingredients for personal and business success that we constantly hear shouted from the rooftops is “authenticity” (being real). Fine. But in order to “get real” we first have to “get honest” about all of the things we are not. Authenticity is nothing more than a buzzword until we acknowledge:

1. What we think we should be–but we are not.

2. What someone else told us we should be– but  we are not.

3. What we think others want to hear that we are– but  we are not.

4. What we think we can become–but we know we cannot.

Let’s face it: self-knowledge is a never-ending journey. Accurate self-knowledge makes it a healthier one.Part of that journey is humility. (Humility is not false modesty–false modesty is unauthentic). Humility is  the element of self-knowledge that frees you from carrying the heavy burden of “What I want you to think I am” and allows you to relax and be “Who I am.”

Before you continue adding, do some subtraction. The answer will be authentic.


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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.

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