Manifesto: On Authenticity

How do you answer that ubiquitous and often innocuous question from friends and strangers, “How are you?”

Do you give more than a glib and expected answer? Delve into how you truly are at that moment and possibly share the bad along with the good? Whether because of time constraints or social norms, most of us rarely do.

It’s something I’ve been pondering a lot lately as I talk and share about personal brand  - mine and others. If being authentic is at the heart of a brand that resonates and forms strong bonds, how far should we go in living an authentic life both online and offline? Is it showing and sharing the good, bad and ugly at all times? Or is it a choice we make per circumstance, per situation and with perception in mind? Is the soft underbelly that is exposed when we get to sharing vulnerabilities and fears a positive attribute or one that exposes you beyond your control?

Because with taking risks comes the chance of failure. With trusting others comes the chance of betrayal. With taking leaps comes the chance at falling. With putting yourself out there comes the chance of rejection. With taking big bets comes the chance of getting knocked on your…(you get the picture.)

And when those circumstances occur should they be cloaked in bravado or shared in raw truth – or somewhere in the middle? What is the perfect formula, that magical authenticity balance between confidence and vulnerability?

As you might imagine by this series of questions, my mind is often a chaotic place. To gain clarity, I turn often to words from the witty and wise – poets and thinkers, authors and speakers. Thanks to Brene, Ernest and ee for these words that keep my mind moving and my synapses firing.






Manifesto: Daring Greatly

All hail the manifesto!

Maybe it’s the typeface, or the layout. Or the bite-sized inspiration these one-pagers bring. Whatever the reason, and despite Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ imprint on the term, ‘manifestos’ have always stirred something in my soul and pulled me in. I tag them, bookmark them, print them, tack ‘em up and use them as visual reminders in my office.

So, why not start aggregating the ones I love here?

As mentioned in my New Year’s ‘Seed Sower’ post, I’m a big Brene Brown fan. So who better to kick off this manifesto binge! Here’s Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto

We are hard-wired for connection, curiosity, and engagement.
We crave purpose, and have a deep desire to create and contribute.



I am a seed sower

bigstock_One_plant_in_female_hands_on_w_18867938This is not my blog confession that I’m leaving the word world to go elbow deep in dirt (although I must admit, that does sometimes sound tempting.)

This is about a recent revelation I made about a principle and purpose in life, and the path of how I got there.

Over the past several months, I’ve been privileged to be part of the CEO peer advisory group Vistage. In a fortuitous twist of fate, my membership in an Idaho Chief Executive Group began the month that my agency co-founder decided to leave the business.

If there ever was a time for peers to provide counsel and insights – this was it.

Boiling the experience down to its essence – it was raw, emotional, scary, infuriating, eye-opening, empowering and…ultimately uplifting.

I have found that often when we are the most vulnerable, we gain the most insights into our strengths. A tip of the hat to the amazing Brene Brown for sharing that truth and that, “Vulnerability is the cornerstone of confidence.” (If you haven’t experienced her Power of Vulnerability TED Talk, go there now.)

During our Vistage Group sessions there was frequent talk about identifying and staying true to your North Star – that point beyond your horizon that guides your day-to-day actions and aspirations. Admittedly, I struggled with this concept. It was difficult to raise my head up and think beyond the immediate business opportunities and obstacles in front of me.

And I truly felt that my personal North Star needed to be something more. More than just a reflection of my company’s business goals and brand promise.

Then in a bit of serendipity, I found it.

I am forever in debt to the leader of one of our community’s non-profits, who when we met for a casual conversation stated, “We invited you here because you’re a seed sower in this community.”

A seed sower.

Like pulling on my 16-year old pair of Frye boots, trying on ‘seed sower’ just felt right. And as Prasaid Kaipa wrote about North Stars for wise leaders, it felt like it embodied a noble purpose,

Smart leaders make New Year resolutions and set quarterly milestones, charting progress against ambitious plans and goals. Wise leaders, however, take a different approach: they root themselves in a noble purpose, align it with a compelling vision, and then take action — not just for that year, but for the rest of their lives. That noble purpose becomes a North Star, giving direction when the path ahead is hazy, humility when arrogance announces false victory, and inspiration when the outlook seems bleak.

I am a seed sower…

….of stories that highlight community and potential

….of ideas that spark and inspire

…of connections and relationships that lead to something more

…of opportunity for those around me

Seems like a damn good purpose for 2014 and beyond.

Happy New Year.