Your personality is nine-tenths of your success potential. For young entrepreneurs and professionals, however, it can sometimes feel as though one needs to imitate the characteristics of the already established masters in order to get anywhere. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, I need to be as visionary as Jeff Bezos or I need to be as debonair as Richard Branson or I need to be as sphinxlike as Anna Wintour.
The reality is that these people were successful because they were brave enough to bring their personalities to their work. By harnessing their unique and singular selves and committing to their passions, they were able to create a force that was truly powerful. They didn’t create that force by trying to imitate others: rather, they embraced their own humanity and personal experiences to stand out. Many forget how the world embraces such authenticity, often finding it such a refreshing alternative to people desperately trying to be what they think others want.
Stop trying to guess what others are looking for. Assume you are who they’re looking for, and bring yourself to your work.
In order to fully bring yourself to your work, you need to harness a higher level of self-awareness.
Discover those exciting subtleties of your personality, the ones that when shared, someone could easily fall in love with. By doing so, you reflect your audience’s humanity back at them, and make a deeper and more permanent connection.
This is the difference between good and great, it’s that little bit extra. Something simple that someone can put in their pocket and take home with them, so they feel like they really know you. I call it leaving a “tip.” This “tip”—the little bit extra—is you.
I recently had the pleasure of coaching Dr. Joanne Liu throughout her campaign to ultimately win the International Presidency of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
One of the strategies we deployed to effect maximum change in her debates, was to purposefully make the choice to show her audience who she was, all the time. This was accomplished through the tactical sharing of her personal stories with her patients while in the field.
She has been on the front lines of epidemics like the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Joanne was the first person in Doctors Without Borders history to be re-elected to a second term.
The good news is that you have everything it takes to be interesting and change effecting.
Many people feel they aren’t interesting enough to be leaders, so they hide behind what they think they should be.
Embrace the fun—and fear—of bringing all of yourself, with all of your perceived flaws and quirks, to every aspect of your work.
This is a skill that can be developed. I help my clients use the power of their personalities to develop charismatic confidence and effect maximum change in their audiences, oftentimes within minutes.
History is full of imperfect people who embraced the singularity of who they are, didn’t go to war with it, and used it to change the world and achieve mega-success.
This article was originally posted on Inc.