Unit 15: Being Authentic

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Finding one’s own personal pathway is the ultimate challenge and primary purpose of the teenage experience. Other than your first two years as an infant, there is no period of your life in which your mind and body will experience such a radical, personal, physical, and intellectual transformation. Think about the transformation your mind, body and spirit will go through during the forty-five months you will spend as a member of your high school group. For some, the change will leave you almost unrecognizable in every way.

Authentic” is one of the new buzzwords in the leadership movement. Bookshelves at Barnes & Noble are crammed with books that claim to help you find your authentic self. The books claim to help you look inside yourself and see the true you for who you are (sound a little bit like this video). Isn’t it ironic that we look to someone else to help us find something only we can see? In the end, this new leadership movement of authenticity is a trendy way of saying three things:

1. Lead from your strengths. Do what you do best, admit what you don’t do well, and focus on those things that you are exceptional at, asking for help in the areas where you are not.

2. Don’t be a poser. No one wants to follow a fake, so be honest about who you are, both with yourself and with others. Know what you believe and act on those beliefs consistently, regardless of who you are with and where you are.

3. Don’t do what has already been done: “just because.” You were chosen for a reason. You are an individual unlike any other, with strengths and weaknesses unlike any other, so use them in a way unlike any other. Think “outside of the box” and bring some new, fresh ideas to the position and your role as a leader.

There is nothing wrong with repeating actions of the past, but use this as an opportunity to put your personal stamp on it by giving it an update or refreshment to reflect your style of leadership. After all, if the only thing that changed from last year was the person in charge, we probably don’t need the person in charge.

In this unit we will talk about maintaining your identity as you transition to your new title.

Got a horror story to share?  Use the comment box below. Please, no individual or school names.

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