On a recent Christmas outing to the theatre to see “Kinky Boots”, which was absolutely fabulous, I was very taken with that great Oscar Wilde quote,

 “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”

I have always loved quotes, collecting many books of quotes over the years, keeping a top ten list in my handbag notebook and often “squeezing” them into daily work and social conversations! Just love them! This one though, plunged me to a whole deeper place, it is the outright simplicity and honesty of it that touched me to the core.

Why, when it is so obvious that we are ourselves, do we very often feel the need not to be, to fit into certain situations, particularly at work? It goes back to those New Year Resolutions we talked about, “this year I am going to be organised, skinny, in control, happy and wealthy, like … (so and so next door…).   We all know how often we compare ourselves (on every level) to others! But, in reality, how much pressure does this really put on us as individuals, why can’t we expend that energy just being content and peaceful enough in our own skin just to “be”, to be ourselves and happy with that.

True authenticity, one of the most important elements of amazing leadership, is rarely seen in large corporates where work loads appear to be getting heavier and heavier, people are trapped in their own daily thought storms, and personal competition and ego can be rife.

When we allow ourselves to find and speak our own truth, and be our own person, with our own inner unique beauty and creativity, we not only have more clarity, but also a calm state of mind which is infectiously attractive to those around us, whether they be our colleagues or our friends, or both!

So, in a nutshell, why wouldn’t we just be ourselves, warts and all, and proud of it all the way!






“Never mind, at least I had the right intent!”


frostyThis morning my wife offered to drive me to the station as I was running a bit close to time. On getting out to the car however, she noticed the windows were completely frozen over and would take several minutes to thaw, time we didn’t have! There was no choice. I would have to walk. “Never mind!” she said, “At least I had a good intention.”

On my walk to the station (which I actually quite enjoy) I got to asking myself….

“What good is a good intention if the execution is absent?”

….Not judging what had just happened, there was no way around that, and it really didn’t matter, but more generally and in business, how often do people have “good intentions” but then nothing happens after that?

There are many ways to look at this and I certainly don’t want to bore you….but consider briefly, if you will…..

  • thinkingWe often get upset when people do/don’t do certain things because we believe they did it for various (negative) reasons.  Often, when we ask the “why” question, we find out this is not the case at all!  We over-thought it and came up with the wrong conclusion.  In a team, especially a new team, it is important not to assume peoples intentions, rather ask them “why?” something was done or not done.  I find that rarely is “malice” the intent in business, rather, I find most people really do try to do a good job! So maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt as our starting point?
  • If the intent is there but action is never forthcoming, then the intent is as lame as most of our New Year resolutions!  The issue here is that reliability is such a huge part of Trust, that when we develop a reputation for being “unreliable” it is often hard to bounce back.

So what’s the point of all of this then?

 I think there are a few important things to consider:-

  • We should always understand our own INTENT behind our actions. It is actually our connection to this “why” which drives our executional excellence. If we are not clear “why” we are doing something then we are more likely not to do it.
  • Intent without execution is pointless and can lead to a reputation of being unreliable. If you really don’t think you will do something then don’t make promises that you are unlikely to fulfil. The negative impact could be hard to repair.
  • Assume the best and ask the question! Rather than assuming others have done things for negative reasons, start with assuming they had good intention AND then ask them their intent behind their action/non-action. The answers could surprise you and is bound to have great learning for all.

writeAnd finally…did you have a New Year’s resolution? Still sticking to them? The key, as always, is not just to understand “what” you said you would do/not do, but to truly understand WHY this is important to you and others. Keep your focus on the WHY, the intent, and the execution may have more longevity than you are used to!

Have fun, always!