Chapter 11 From The Power of Authentic Leadership
As part of an interview for this book, I was able to pick the mind of leadership, time management, and employee engagement expert Kevin Kruse. His insights tie right into the message of this book.
“What is the secret to being authentic in a world that is trying to get us to be like everyone else?” I asked Kevin.
“It’s very tough,” Kevin said. “Most people are walking the tightrope between their need to express their own identity and their need to fit in. These are really primal urges. For me, I remind myself daily of all the things I’m grateful for in life, and that I only really need the love and approval of my kids and a couple of close friends to be happy. When you don’t NEED to be liked or loved by everyone, it frees you up to be your true self.”
“That’s a great point, and it’s something that we all struggle with,” I said. “What are some tips and tactics you have to stay true to yourself and follow your own inner compass even when other people are not agreeing with what you’re doing?”
“It helps to be really clear about your own values and goals,” Kevin said. “If you know what you are trying to achieve and what you will and won’t do to achieve it, it becomes easier to ignore the naysayers.”
“Yes,” I said. “Knowing your core values is crucial. In the beginning of your book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, you shared how you used to overwork yourself, drinking red bulls and pulling crazy hours. This was a great story and relatable for a lot of people. What are your thoughts in general on people revealing their mistakes and flaws for the benefit of other people to learn from them?”
“The reason why authenticity is so powerful,” Kevin said, “is that it accelerates trust. Who normally tells us about their failures, their most embarrassing moments, and the times they were scared? Usually, it’s family members or our closest friends. So when a boss at work, or a sales person, or a new date very quickly shares their ‘weakest’ moments, it triggers feelings of familial closeness. We automatically trust the person more and are thankful they would share with us at a personal level.”
“Love it,” I said. “This has been the big secret behind my ability to connect with people from the stage. I’m more vulnerable than the audience initially expects me to be, and it establishes a genuine connection. I’d also like to point out that some people get going with their dreams and make initial progress but can’t seem to fully break free from the restraints, obligations, and expectations of friends and family who want them to choose a certain career path or make a particular decision. Do you have advice for someone who is making good initial gains, but still facing the daily struggle of dealing with people who don’t believe in their dreams? For example, dealing with unavoidable people such as family and coworkers.”
“It’s harsh, but in the movie, Boiler Room, Jim Young, played by Ben Affleck, says, ‘F*ck them! F*ck’em! Parents don’t like the life you lead? F*ck you, Mom and Dad. See how it feels when you’re making their f*cking Lexus payments.’
“It’s natural for parents and others to want to protect you, but they can only give you advice and judge you based on their own life filter. That’s fine. You need to be true to yourself. YOU are the one that will be sitting in a rocking chair at age 85 thinking back on YOUR life. What do you need to do today to make sure you have no regrets?”
“That’s incredibly powerful Kevin,” I said. “Last question. What are some ways an individual could get to know themselves better?”
“Take a bunch of personality profiles like Myers-Briggs, Disc, or StrengthsFinder. Get a coach.”
Sometimes you just have to say screw it by forgetting the haters and doing you.
Kevin Kruse is CEO/Founder of LEADx.org, a New York Times bestselling author, and an authentic leadership expert. He was featured in Chapter 11 of The Power of Authentic Leadership: Activating the 13 Keys to Achieving Prosperity Through Authenticity. This book features a billionaire, two Senators, New York Times bestselling authors, icons, and world-renowned leaders. These experts offer you a deep dive into mastering the power of authentic leadership, achieving prosperity, and helping others the way you were meant to help others.