A Leader’s 2016 Authenticity Audit
I’ve been reflecting on 2016, and the enormous mindset shift I embraced in my role as a leader. One thing I noted was that my success is in alignment with my commitment to authenticity and willingness to allow myself to be vulnerable.
The times I chose to hide and take the easier path of allowing my Imposter Syndrome to drive the bus, had the direct opposite effect.
I’ve condensed the key events together for dramatic effect!
While strolling round #edfest in 2015, I noticed a branch stuck in a bucket and festooned with ribbons so wander over to compliment the chap on his eye for interior design. It turned out to be the incredible human male, Paul Dix, who lives and breathes authenticity.
As we chatted about Pupil Referral Units in Wales I shared a little (but a lot more than the usual big fat zero) about my experience of being up in care and he asked to interview me. Click here to listen.
AUTHENTICITY = 40% IMPOSTER SYNDROME = 60%
I run an Outstanding Teaching Intervention for Osiris. Whist in a Luton school, with a large number of disadvantaged learners. I woman up and challenge expectations and demonstrate hope by explaining how my teachers interrupted my trajectory.
AUTHENTICITY = 60% IMPOSTER SYNDROME = 40%
I turn up at my second TeachMeet having prepared a stellar 10 min presentation on marking and feedback to improve independent writing – my area of expertise! All I know about TMLondon is that it’s run by some guy with no hair called Ross.
When I arrive I meet @misswilsey in the flesh. We had connected over Twitter and I was intrigued by her passion for engaging in a conversation about the issues preventing women from moving into leadership. Since being advised at teacher training college to try to ‘blend in more’ I unconsciously did everything possible to not be noticeably brown or female! No mean feat when I have the hair and bottom of a person clearly designed to stand out!
Several elements caused me to ditch my slides and just tell the truth that night. Feeling Hannah’s eyes bore in to the back of my neck was one. Another was being tired of hiding my narrative from colleagues, exhausted from pretending to be white and middle class because I believed that was required in order to be accepted. But mainly it was seeing all of the teachers who had come out at the end of term, on a school night, driven by the desire to hold a vision of success for the learners.
I suddenly felt overwhelmed with the need to tell them that they were world changers. They they transformed lives. That I would be dead without people like them. So I rushed up to IT, change my slides and fessed up. Click here to watch.
AUTHENTICITY = OFF THE SCHIZANG IMPOSTER SYNDROME = 0%
I’m invited by #WomenEd to run a diversity workshop. After a few seconds of seriously considering that it might be the dance group I spend the next two weeks panicking and making this video worrying about the fact that I had little answers and a bag full of questions.
It turns out a bag full of questions is a great starting point for conversation, education and change. After the workshop, I’m glad I took the risk and wished I hadn’t spent so much time stressing over whether I could do it or not deciding that if someone I respect believes in my ability, that’s enough to say yes.
Oh yeah, and also I get a book deal from Crown Publishing to write about embedding ambitious resilience. I celebrate for a full week before allowing Vernon, my Vulnerability Vulture, to crush my spirit and lower me into a fear pit.
AUTHENTICITY = 30% IMPOSTER SYNDROME = 70%
What would your Authenticity Audit look like? What’s your ratio of authenticity to imposter syndrome?