“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive”.
I was introduced to Audre Lorde’s work through the 1999 movie, The Best Man. The two characters in the scene were trying to decide how to proceed with their relationship when the quote above was introduced. It provided a moment of clarity and highlighted commonality the characters unknowingly had with each other—they both used this quote in their daily lives.
The quote has been with me ever since because it resonates a strong sense of self that leads to empowerment. I leverage the quote to highlight doing things differently than others is okay—everyone has a different path to walk daily.
My presentation and writing styles are uniquely me. There are times people will ask how I generate presentation materials and then look at me like I’m an alien when I explain it. Again, I stay true to me and my preferred methods because they work for me. When I try to generate content in a manner that doesn’t fit me, I struggle, so decided not to go down that road anymore.
Had to explain this process when presented with a potential speaking role that would have taken me out of ‘character’ for who I am. The opportunity was very appealing from a surface level but would have required me to present in a style that is not really me. Could I have faked it? Probably, but I wouldn’t have been happy with me and I’m sure this fact would have bled into the actual presentation of material. Decided a long time ago to stay true to my core truth to avoid being eaten alive.
“Being the best for yourself is how you can be the best for others”.
Discovering your core truth can be used in other areas of life. I recommend once you discover your core truth then stick with it. I described the BIG GULP phenomenon in an earlier post—this concept is incorporated within my core truth—I never do business or move forward with a project that makes me take a big gulp. This concept has saved me on multiple occasions and kept me from doing something I would regret.
I’m not saying people cannot evolve over time. Continued learning and growing are integral parts to personal and professional success. The core truths you define for yourself provide an actual road map to how you view and deal with others. Don’t let outside influences ‘eat you alive’.
Had an interesting conversation yesterday about defining a core truth leadership style. Believe this provides a foundation that will allow a leader to adjust and help direct reports grow. My leadership core truth is authentic leadership but I’m well-versed in other leadership styles if/when authentic leadership principles are not effective for the current situation. I’ve never yelled or cursed to prove I’m a leader. People who do are poor leaders—my opinion.
What things do you consider when defining your core truth? What areas in your professional life can establishing a core truth enhance your work environment? Interested in your thoughts—thanks!
“None but ourselves can free our minds”.