“what makes you very unique is you”
— Nick Roud
No matter where in the world I work with a CEO, the mirror never lies. Many of my clients want to ensure they are being true to themselves and that they are leading from a place that sits well with them. A CE who is comfortable being themselves will find a great deal more to their career than the CE who is trying to be someone else!
How often do you experience a time when you are not being true to yourself! Think back of a time when you where put under enormous pressure, how did you show up? Could you say hand on heart you were being yourself or were you being someone else.
Pressure can play havoc to any of us and more so when you operate as a CE. The dial is turned right up daily and the levels of expectation is far greater than you will have ever experienced. In the quest of being themselves a CE has to wear a number of different hats and these are normally worn at the same time. Don’t lose sight of who you are no matter the situation or environment you are in.
I recently attended a Board meeting here in New Zealand and was asked to contribute by the Chair. After that meeting the Chair took me to one side and thanked me for just being me. Sure my thoughts may have ruffled a few feathers and my vocabulary may not have been straight from the text book but I set a commitment to myself many years ago to be myself no matter if I was infant of royalty, politicians, sports stars, boards or road sweepers.
It can be daunting to step into a CE role for the first time. The intensity, the volume and the expectations follow very quickly and no matter how prepared you think you are you are never ready to take the helm. But you can and you must control one thing, and that is who you are! As we mature into leaders we become more confident in our own skin, we lose the temptation of trying to prove ourselves to those around and we start to unearth tremendous abilities to bring others along with us. It’s very apparent in the coaching work I do that over time a leader will become very aware of who he/she is and their lies the essence of being yourself.
The quest involves a great deal of deep sole searching and ensuring you put the time into your day will massively support you.
To be ourselves doesn’t start with a check box exercises but one of understanding and appreciating the talents we have right now. How are we showing up, what is driving us forwards and are we anchoring ourselves to our values and beliefs.
No matter the timing of your progression to the CE seat we must always check ourselves and our ego to ensure the work we are doing is aligned and those we are surrounding ourselves with are also aligned. I recently put out a video following a pretty challenging week in my business, it was about ensuring we have a Board of Directors around us and how impactful it is to have a trusted inner-circle of people you can really speak freely with. Sometimes we all need to ensure we are pointing in the right direction don’t we.
If you are a CE do you have a Board of Directors outside the organisation you lead? If you don’t currently have a BOD’s then I’d encourage you to seek them out. It can be one of the most enlightening relationships you will have and the most hard hitting of feedback sessions you will be given.
So what is being yourself?
Is it a fad? Is it a topic that will pass soon or is it really worth putting the effort into.
I believe it is work putting time and effort into. In the long run it will pay off and the enourmous pleasure that you will face is one of contentment. You are also never to young to get started.
CEO’s if not dialled into who they are, what their beliefs, values and purpose is will struggle to progress forwards, they will be consistently looking at others and comparing themselves, pleasing others including those they serve be it the Board, the Chair, the Shareholders, the staff and very quickly will lose sight of why they took up the position in the first place.
You don’t need to please anyone but yourself. It is ok to ‘do you’. It is ok that you don’t have all the answers and it is ok to make mistakes. It is ok to stand for what is right by you.
Try looking at yourself over the next 5 working days and ask yourself this question ever evening.
Have I truly been myself today?
No matter if you are an experienced leader of new to it we can always continue to learn, develop and become clearer on who we are. It’s not magic and it’s not something we should aviod in the hope it goes away and it should be communicated to others.
The quest for being yourself is closer than you think, You just have to look deep in the mirror!
Thank you, Nick