Authentic does not mean perfect.
I had dinner with a former colleague last week, a brilliant leader and someone that’s become a good friend. Later that night, he sent me this text. My response to him was “you seriously over value me”. He wasn’t saying I was perfect, just that I was always true to who I am.
While growing a life and career when I was younger, I was trying to fit an image, look the part, follow a script, be perfect at home and in the office. It took me a while to know exactly who I was, be comfortable with it and stay true to it. And I am authentic. What you see is what you get, warts and all…and there are many warts.
People can spot a phone a mile away, and they want nothing to do with them. I tell younger professionals that people gravitate towards, respect and want to work with those who are real, honest with who they are, admit their mistakes, stay true to their convictions, understand their weaknesses. That’s being authentic….not perfect, but authentic.