The power of You!
“People get excited by a person, not a manager, or a bureaucrat, or a suit or a position holder.”
As a young coach, I was forever trying to learn from other more experienced coaches and leaders. I would read anything I could get my hands on, visit with mentors I admired and do my best to emulate any of the great leaders past or present.
One day after a practice in which I had been quite harsh on the players, criticizing and berating them for mistakes individually and collectively as a team, one of the more senior players pulled me aside.
“Coach, are you OK? You don't seem to be yourself?
I immediately shrugged it off, said I was absolutely fine and walked away.
But I couldn’t shake the comment, it bugged me for some reason and I thought about it for days after. The truth was, I had been reading a book on a very successful coach who was an absolute drill Sargeant, a kind of ‘my way or the highway’ guy, a dictator and although I was loath to admit it, I was actually trying to be that coach, I was not being myself.
It’s a common mistake I see a lot today. With so much information available to us on successful people, we easily get dragged into this quick-fix thinking “Well maybe I should just do that, or behave like that, it’s worked for them, why not me?”
Unfortunately, it just doesn't work like that and you are doing yourself and your unique talent a disservice if you think it does. Yes, you can learn from others, but you cannot be someone else, nor should you try.
Why it’s important.
More than anything else, there is a need to look inside, to accept your strengths and understand your weaknesses. To be completely open and honest with yourself. Stripping away any pretense and getting down to the raw material that is you, brings with it a certain strength, a calmness.
This honesty with yourself has a huge impact on those you interact with. Being authentic allows leaders to build special, long lasting relationships. There are no hidden agendas, what you see is what you get.
As easy as it sounds this self-discovery is not easy. It takes time, it’s ongoing, it never ends. There is a lot of trial and error, feedback and learning, checking with mentors and peers and those you are leading, trying to discover that path that is uniquely yours.
When it comes down to it, the genuine leaders are consistently evaluating themselves, checking themselves against some simple but direct questions.
Is this what I stand for?
Am I being consistent with what I believe to be true?
Is this me?
Two Fundamental Truths
Ultimately there are two fundamental truths.
First you have a distinctive personality and are given a set of skills, ability and talent. It’s locked in, they are yours to use but you don’t get a second set, you can’t trade them in for another set. You got you, that’s it.
Second, you are unique. No one else is like you. You are special. Hold onto it, use it and enjoy the ride.