Be Your Super Authentic Self
Yes! And that´s ok, clichés exist for a reason. This one is full of meaning.
Recently I gave another session on the 7 Steps to Become Wonder Woman in New York City. I am at this point a little bit obsessed with the character in case you haven't noticed it. I think Gal Gadot did a phenomenal job in portraying her strength, beauty, intuition, and bravery.
I remember the first time I did this workshop, people in my former company frown upon the fact that I was wearing the Wonder Woman T-shirt at a "very serious" training in a Financial Institution… I can only imagine their faces when they see me in full costume!
This workshop was born after a conversation with my colleague and partner, Yai Vargas, founder of The Latinista, a company dedicated to the growth of Professional Women. She asked me if I could prepare a presentation to help with motivation and inspiration of about 400 women in an event. And I told her “like empowering stuff?” she said “yes, something interesting and aspirational, something powerful”, so I said “oh! Like Wonder Woman?” and she said “yes! Like that”. And so this interactive workshop was born about four years ago. [By the way, I don’t empower women, they are already powerful, I just remind them how far their power can take them if they believe in themselves...but that's another article.]
As of today I’ve given this “show” about 25 times and each time it gets better! On my next one, I’ll bring the shield and the sword, you’ll see!
When you have an idea, it doesn’t matter how silly, crazy, lunatic, childish or impossible it seems. If it’s clear for you that it will end up in something amazing at the service of others, something that might just be the sparkle that ignites others’ spirits, something that could potentially shift their lives towards their personal and professional improvement … GO FOR IT!
And there is no better lesson to convey the importance of living by our passions that becoming them while you are on stage, or at work, or at home. Why is this so important? Because WHEN YOU ARE YOU people can tell.
Your leadership will shine when people see that you are walking the walk and talking the talk. It is your example that set the bar. Tus palabras mueven pero tu ejemplo arrasa. Or actions speak louder than words.
You see, my style is based on Experiential Learning. We learn by doing. We learn by analyzing, internalizing and deciding to willingly change a behavior. So once, I had a workshop where I use basketballs to demonstrate a concept around taking responsibility. Yes, I took real basketballs to the auditorium and bounced them. The workshop was great, people got it, the message transcended the training room and went into their personal and professional lives. That’s what I wanted, permanent change!
The participants reached out to me afterwards and told me that what I’ve done was eye-opening, and that they now were more aware of their personal responsibility to own their future, to change their current situation, and do something about the things they were bothered about.
If was able to bring value that day, and if I was able to move something inside of these people’s minds and souls for the greater good, then my job was done.
Later on, I found out that my own team had some criticism for me. My boss made fun of me, my colleagues made fun of me as well. They said “are you kidding me? You want a basketball? Are you crazy? Why don’t you teach the people the products or how to sell them?” and I said “because if they don’t believe in themselves, in the power they have within them, in the possibility of owning their future, then what product do you want them to sell?”
This is a basic principle for Sales and Customer Service Training: if the people offering a way for others to have a brighter future don’t believe they can have one, there is no way they can convince others.
You can’t offer what you don’t believe in. It’s that simple.
A month ago, I was describing this interactive Basketball Workshop to a respected CEO and Business Owner, Elias Hermida, founder of Empresaria Feliz. After his praise for such innovation and creativity, he asked if I had patented the concept and branded the basketball stressballs that I gave each participant! (Nope, I didn't) Hmmmm, ok, it's a great idea. I’m on it! Any sponsors?
His question stoke me in a positive way. It’s all about PERSPECTIVE! While one previous point of view came from a place of conventional thought, boxed in what is “normal”, “allowed” and “has been done for 170 years”…old school. The other comes from a place of innovation, creativity, free from prejudices and what others think. This one is called FREEDOM.
The freedom to be your authentic self, based on the trust you have on your knowledge and capabilities.
After two years of starting my own business, I have to say I feel free.
I am free to be myself and have ideas that might just not be what others expect. I am free to decide what curricula I am adding to a program based on the needs of the participants, on what they need to learn or experience, and not on a political agreement that others had and I had to comply. I am free to decide what content to cover, based on adult learning principles and the knowledge others require to become more proficient at their jobs, or to become better people in general. I am free to create my workshops based on my 29 years of experience in various countries, in different corporations, in many environments and a multicultural reality, not based on the limitations of people who are not experts in education. I am free to share my honest opinion about our lack of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity in our society. I no longer need to ask compliance if I am allowed to say that it is not conceivable that women in leadership occupy only 10% of the workforce in a company. That not enough Latinos are at the highest levels where decisions are made. And it's ridiculous that not even one African American individual is a General Manager in a company with hundreds of offices nationwide. And I am now in the freedom to create relationships based on transparency, honesty, ethical behavior, hard work and true caring, instead of having to justify why I didn't feel comfortable with the "suggestion" to establish relationships that I was told were "convenient” for me. (Using people for my own advantage is out of my ethical scope!) I am free to have one hamburger and a beer when I travel, and then two coffees if I wish so, without having to send a letter to justify why I had another coffee during the same trip. And I know you relate to this! I am free to dress as Wonder Woman if I want to, and if that's what it takes to remind others of their own powers.
So please, if you think your idea is great, and you are doing the right thing, do it. If you think other people will become better individuals, better professionals, better parents, better at whatever they do, then do it.
Stop asking permission, stop questioning your decisions. Just be your Super Authentic Self, and proudly pay the price for it… which is long term happiness.
I am a Wonder Woman. And you? What is your super power?