Faking It

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” CG Jung


We walked into the Board Room and sat down for the meeting.

He was late. Again.

When he arrived, 30 minutes later, he gave some bizarre excuse and then engaged in the meeting. I talked with him afterwards and most of what he was saying just sounded made-up.

The frustrating thing was, that this wasn’t the first time. It had happened before. And, to me, it was a pattern of behaviour that suggested he was faking it.

As humans, we have amazing abilities to read moods, rooms, body language, people. It’s called ‘sensory acuity’ and it means that, generally speaking, we somehow ‘know’ when someone is faking it. Something triggers in us that tells us the words, body and actions don’t align and, when this happens, we pull back because unconsciously we start to question if we are safe with the person. This impacts our levels of trust.

This is one of the reasons why authenticity is important to us. It’s the opposite of faking it and, as a result, it tends to build environments of safety and trust.

Being authentic builds trust.

Authenticity is about being aligned with your values and identity. An indicator this is that you feel more at peace with yourself & your environment. Rather than the need to ‘fake it’, you can relax & trust yourself and others.

That sounds like a healthier and happier place to be.

Grounded Optimism

Managing change at the same time as running the everyday operations of a business can be overwhelming. Listen to any executive and you will hear of back-to back meetings, boards to chair, a million e-mails to answer and governance to comply with. Constant change combined with overwhelming demands can result in fatigue and cynicism. At times, it’s easy to give in, let the head go down and be swallowed up by events. Leaders can slip into a pessimistic mind set.

The opposite of this is blind optimism that ‘high fives’ into thin air with little grounding in reality. Blind optimism can lead to false hope, unrealistic expectations and ultimately back to cynicism and pessimism.

The healthy alternative is grounded optimism, which enables leaders who wish to go the distance, to thrive and not simply survive. Research highlights the beneficial psychological characteristics of being optimistic. People high in optimism tend to maintain better moods and physical health, to persevere more and to be more successful.

Optimism can be chosen.

Optimism can be learnt.

Resilient leaders are those who do not get stuck in cynicism and can move beyond blind optimism to the place where they are clear-eyed. Grounded optimism allows a leader to re-imagine the situation where they are able to become an actor in the scene with a significant role to play. They can see all of the challenges that lie ahead, and take responsibility for what they can do to find a realistic path to a better future.