SO much of creating the life and career we want and becoming the person we want to be comes down to intention.

And in some areas of life, we're pretty good at that. In others, not so much!

Let's look at work. Most of us, when hiring for our team, will create a list of attributes and skills we want in our ideal candidate. And then we'll score candidates against those criteria.

But when we're job hunting, do we do the same for ourselves? Rarely! We base our next career move on our gut.

In the same way, many of us never ask ourselves these powerful questions:

  1. Am I showing up as the most authentic version of myself, in life and at work?
  2. Who is the leader I want to be?

Simple right? But how many of you have stopped to ask yourself either of these questions and really reflect on the answers?

In today's newsletter I want to deep dive on both of these questions and why I believe they're so important.

So grab a pen, because I really want you to actively reflect on these questions today. Consider this a mini workshop with your girl Katy! (You can also save this newsletter and go through the reflection parts later :))

Let's start with the first one.

Am I showing up as the most authentic version of myself, in life and at work?

Meaning, are you the same person at work as outside of work? Do you feel like you can really BE you, share your thoughts and ideas, and you'll be accepted?

I hate to say it, but much of my career was not spent in my authentic self. And I didn't even know it.

It was only later in my career as an exec when I started to do the work and learn about who I REALLY was at my core, that it hit me in the face.

How many nights had I spent out drinking just to be part of the club? How many times had I not spoken up, because I knew the rest of my team may not agree?

Do either of these scenarios resonate with you? Or maybe there's something else about who you are that you don't feel comfortable bringing to work.

Take a moment to write out any times you can remember where you didn't feel as though you could be your authentic self at work.

Now for me, once I saw it, I couldn't unsee it. At work and in my personal life. I was no longer willing to spend time at places or with people where I didn't feel as though I could be my authentic self.

I vowed to show up as authentically as I could as often as possible. Even when it felt scary.

So… why does this even matter?

When you're showing up as the most authentic version of you, the magic starts to happen. People are drawn to you. You emit a whole different energy.

You're happier, more balanced and better able to lean into empathy and curiosity instead of all of the other negative feelings we carry around.

It takes courage to start doing this because we're often afraid that other people will judge us for being who we are. It takes a level of vulnerability. And the first step is just acknowledging where you're at today.

Here's another question to reflect on:

What is one way I can show up more authentically at work?

Got something?

Okay, moving on. The second question is a little different, but equally important.

“Who is the leader I want to be?”

Many people reading this are already in leadership and even senior leadership, or working really hard to get there! And despite the years or hard work, sacrifice and effort we put into finally getting that leadership position, most of us have never even thought about WHO we want to be as a leader.

Maybe you admired a previous manager because of their knowledge or empathy. Maybe you've had mentors who's style you've emulated.

But those things aren't the same as sitting down with your authentic self and deciding what being a great leader looks like for YOU.

If that question feels too big, here are 3 others you can brainstorm on:

“How do I want people to view me?

“How do I want to show up for my team?”

“When people talk about me as a leader, what to I want them to say?”

If you haven't already done so, pull out a pen and paper or your ‘notes' app and start writing down whatever comes to mind when you ask yourself these 3 questions.

Once you've done that, there's one more question I want to add to the list:

“Am I showing up as this leader today?”

Boom. Right in the face.

If you read that question and immediately had a sinking feeling, that's okay! Listen to your body, it's telling you something.

Maybe work has been crazy and you've been feeling insecure in your role… and as a result you've been micromanaging your team and not allowing them to be their best selves.

Again, that's totally okay…

Acknowledging the gap between where you are today and where you want to be, is the first step in closing that gap.

If you're in this with me, the next step is to reflect on and write out:

What do you need to do to fill the gap between where you are today and where you are in the vision of who you want to be?

This may mean choices you need to start making.

Or things you know you need to stop doing.

It may mean boundaries you need to put in place.

And these should be specific. For example, maybe you really want to be a ‘people-first' leader who prioritizes team development and who's team knows they are supported always.

But with the craziness of the last couple of quarters, you've been skipping 1-1s, putting off team building and keeping your conversations transactional with your team.

You know this isn't how you want to be showing up.

Your next step here may be to start doing weekly 1-1s with every direct report again, and committing to being fully present in those meetings.

Or… maybe it's to plan a team building activity to re-create some of the camaraderie that's been lost.

Only you know the answer to this. And it will be unique to you. Feel free to start with 1-3 baby steps in the direction you want to go.

Getting clear on who you really are and how you want to show up in the world is one of the most powerful things you can do as a person and as a leader.

As Alan Cohen said, “When your intention is clear, so is the way.”

Until next time friends… ✌️💜