Be Real. People Appreciate Transparency!

We’re all imperfect and doing life – and being real matters.

When I first started speaking in 1986, I was petrified to get up in front of big groups. I went to Seattle with my first multi-city tour, and I was really uptight because I wanted to be perfect.

It took me a few years to finally realize that what people wanted more than for me to be perfect was for me to be real. They wanted to know that I really cared about them and that I was sharing something of value with them.

As I’ve worked with people over the years, I’ve been able to shift that distinction to apply not just to presentations, but to all of life — people really are attracted to those who are somewhat vulnerable, who are open, who are real.

Being real isn’t just about honesty with others. It’s about being honest and true to yourself. Are you really living the life you want to live? If you’re not, it can show.

So stop for a moment — right now — to think about your life and about what you really want. What are you doing that you don’t like to do? Who are you working with that you shouldn’t be investing in? As a leader, it’s critically important that you’re honest with yourself. You can only pretend to be happy for so long.

If you’re living someone else’s dream and not your own, it will show. You can be short, angry, unhappy, and impatient with colleagues and friends. Your clients can often see that you aren’t enthusiastic about your own life and business. Enthusiasm is contagious, and so is negativity and dissatisfaction.

You can feel it when people do not authentically like what they do. You can see it when the waitress, flight attendant, or executive is unhappy with their job, and it’s a negative reflection on the business.

Oftentimes leaders get caught up in things they don’t love doing or things beyond their capability. But in order to be happy, successful, and authentic, it’s best to know what you want and to live it.

When you’re honest with yourself, you can be honest with your clients, your team, and your family, and your friends. When the people around you know your heart, they will realize that delivering value and being real are more important than being perfect.

In talking with friend Jay Rodgers, a highly successful entrepreneur, he said, “Always play with your cards face up.” What does that mean? It means that you might as well be open and honest about what you want to achieve, which is different from the old days of being cunning.

When you’re open and transparent, you have the freedom you need to advance further and faster. Do what you love and love what you do. Your associates and clients will thank you for it.

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