As we continue to grapple with how best to balance our dueling needs for social distancing and connection, I’m noticing an increased appetite for authenticity and candor. How about you?
Regardless of the source—government agency, consumer products, nonprofit service providers, professional services—it’s no longer enough to issue a stoic or polished statement. We’re craving more humanity. For most leaders, and the institutions and brands they lead or shepherd, that’s uncomfortable.
It requires vulnerability, which feels risky.
It requires taking a position, which can be polarizing.
It requires humility, which often means admitting mistakes.
It requires sharing a peek behind the curtain, which makes us feel exposed.
It requires asking questions, which reveals a need for learning.
And yet, those who are willing to lean into that discomfort and expose their humanity can provide great comfort.
There’s comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone in our fears or struggles.
There’s comfort in knowing that we can change our minds.
There’s comfort in knowing that failure can lead to growth.
There’s comfort in knowing that candor fuels connection.
There’s comfort in knowing that we can ask for help.
Even more valuable, however, is the sense of permission this comfort can provide when we see it modeled by others we trust and respect—permission to step out of our comfort zones, to be bold, and to demand more of each other. To be clear: this permission is self-sourced and not external or top-down, and regardless of our role or affiliation, we each have the opportunity to embody that reminder.
This note is dedicated to all of you who’ve served as that reminder to me, and it serves as my pledge to try harder to embody it for others.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can better cultivate connection through personal and professional commitments and collaborations. Please take a moment to share them below.
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