Be authentic

Blog #260

A few weeks ago, I had a rare treat: I was able to simultaneously embrace my love for helping people and the outdoors. This combination allowed me to be my authentic self during a unique client session.

In last week’s blog (Chaos, Challenges, and Innovation), I discussed how we are now living in some of the most disruptive and wonderful times, and how we have been forced to adapt to the changes resulting from COVID-19. I strongly believe that although there is often discomfort associated with change, new and amazing ways of doing things will emerge…and we will adapt. In my experience, we will be better – in both a personal and professional sense – when we are open to change and when we stay true to our authentic selves.

A couple of years ago, an individual contacted me on LinkedIn, and he eventually became an advisory client. Since that initial contact, we have done a lot of advisory work together. Recently, he reached out for more guidance in building a new business, so we formalized a six-month engagement plan.

This new process would start with a typical three-hour diagnosis and strategy session, followed by monthly check-ins. When attempting to schedule this session, I mentioned that I would be Colorado for 10 days and we could meet after that. He reminded me that he lives in Colorado and would travel two hours to meet me where we were camping, if I was up for it.

The idea of having a strategy session in my small motor home parked in the remote woods of Colorado was not what I had in mind. It seemed pretty out there…but nothing ventured, nothing gained! We talked about the process and some of the logistical challenges. Because I am a visual learner, I love using white boards, and was contemplating how I could bring that to this particular session. Then, I realized we could use the side of the motor home and some self-adhesive flipchart paper. I had already created an agenda and decided it would work. My client and I discussed this, and I clearly outlined the expectations, location, attire, etc., and he agreed.

On the day of our session, he showed up early and we began our session almost immediately. Within several minutes, I was completely immersed in the session and was in my groove. Even with mountains in the background, a slight breeze moving the papers, and my wife occasionally coming out of the motor home to make another round of French press coffee, the primary objective of helping my client was achieved.

Candidly, what I thought may have been distractions were actually assets. Zoom is great and has its benefits, but there is no comparison to meeting face to face. A good office can motivate people stay focused. Sometimes, a different (and remarkable!) environment can bring about new perspectives and fresh thinking.

Our session flew by. At the end, I asked for candid feedback regarding my client’s thoughts about the process and outcome, and I don’t think he could have been happier. I believe we will work together for many years to come.

So, what is the point? I am not suggesting that everyone go to the woods and work from their motor homes; however, for me, it is a comfortable environment. It actually became an asset to the process and outcome. It had been something I had dreamed about. It not only worked, it added value. I think the more you lean into who you are and the more you can be authentic, the better you will become.

Is there something that may be different or against the norm that you have dreamed about? How can you test it to see if some magic is there? Are you being the authentic you? Reach out to us today to learn more about being authentic!

Keep Smiling,

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