As you can see from my new photo, Iíve decided to stop
dyeing my hair. I am now officially a
gray-haired woman. When I turned 55 last
year, I made a deeper commitment to authenticity, and that included looking in
the actual mirror (not just the mirror of my conscience).
I have to say that itís been a bit of a ride. There were many external shifts Ė I no longer
get looked at in ďthat wayĒ on the street, Iíve had younger folks give me a
seat on public transit, Iím taken seriously in ways I hadnít anticipated. Two months before cutting my locks I was
carded while buying a bottle of wine, two days after cutting them I was offered
a senior discount.
There have been many internal shifts as well. I now feel free to claim all children as my
grandkids, and talk to every baby and young person I meet (sometimes to the
chagrin of my sweetie Kim). While I may think twice before making a decision,
Iíve stopped second guessing myself, and have confidence that my decisions are
well considered. Paradoxically, Iím much
more willing to be ďwrongĒ and to be influenced by those around me.
Now, I donít want to give the impression that cutting off
oneís hair and letting it gray is the only path to authenticity. I do, however,
highly recommend it for those who are able. Iím finding that my leadership has improved because Iím much less
concerned with my image (self or otherwise) and therefore am more flexible. I
donít give a ratís patootie if someone thinks Iím silly, and as a result Iíve
begun to play a lot more. Literally.
And leading has become a lot more fun and satisfying.
At the time, it felt like taking a big risk, but the rewards
have been great. So hereís some questions for you:
∑ What would be your next big and bold step toward authenticity? Not just a baby step, but an in-your-face,
Grandmother-type of step?
∑ What might you gain if you were to take that
step -- personally and in your leadership?
∑ What fears come up as you consider this?
I figure the world cannot have too many bold, creative, fun,
joy-filled authentic leaders. Letís all
sign up for that.
As Iíve said many times before, we cannot do anything
alone. If weíre going to risk being
deeply authentic, we need to be in partnership, and that means weíll need to
know about each other. To that end, I want to invite you to tell us when youíve
done something terrific Ė donít hide behind modesty Ė send us an email, tell us
what youíre up to. You may have noticed
that weíve begun announcing alumni in the news Ė we try and keep up with what
you all are doing Ė and it will be much easier if you help and let us
know. If you donít feel comfortable
tooting your own authentic horn, toot some other alumniís!
Iím so proud of what our Rockwood community is doing Ė we
are affecting change all over the planet. Letís celebrate ourselves and each other as we create new and exciting
ways to authentically lead.
So cut your hair, go back to school, end a toxic
relationship, skinny dip, paint your car bright purple Ė I donít care. Take a
risk Ė letís make 2012 the year of Authentic Leadership. Weíll learn a lot, and itís sure to be an
From my heart to yours,