The Value of Authenticity at Work

The goal is not to be successful, the goal is to be valuable. Once you are valuable, instead of chasing success it will attract itself to you. –BossBabe tweet

My first experience with the term adding value

I shared the above quote on my personal Facebook page this morning.  It reminded me of the first time I heard the terming “adding value.” I was attending a Chick-fila Leadercast years ago.  John Maxwell was a part of the great lineup of speakers that day. In spite of having heard John many times before he and the other speakers that day were repeatedly using the phrase. To begin with, this was the first I had heard the term, and none of the speakers defined what it meant. Seeking clarity, as I was chatting with different people I knew in the crowd over break I decided to ask. “How do you add value to your relationships?” Blank stares.  Even more blank stares when I rephrased it another way. “When you finish a conversation with a great leader, how do you know they have added value? What did they do?”

The Who, What and How of Being Valuable

Now that “adding value” has been a talking point in business for years it’s a little more clear that it is about meeting needs, sharing knowledge and resources with people, and simply put generosity. In short, it’s giving an individual something that did not have. But just like we are made up of mind (how we think), body (what we do) and spirit (who we are), adding value can be viewed in the same light.

First, we add it in what we do. We can be the awesome assistant, a super sales person, or a magnificent mom. Second, we can add it by how we think. How we process information, creativity and problem solving are just a few of the ways we can bring it through our thinking. Finally, though the most unique and impactful way that you can add value is through authenticity. Living, working, breathing who you are at your core. It will distinguish you from everyone on the planet…because there is only one you!

Authenticity Inside and Out

Ultimately, to attract success instead of chasing it, to add the most value, autheticity is required. However, authenticity is often the last thing we consider when it should be the first. Perhaps its because authenticity can be complicated to figure out in our work lives where egos try to run the ship. One of the simplest authenticity exercises I have found was in Brendon Burchard’s new book “The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive.”  Here’s the exercise in it’s simplest form.

  1. List three words that describe who you are (or want to be; your best self)
  2. List three words that describe who you are with others (or want to be; your best self)
  3. Put the six words on an index card and work to make those cards your mantra for your life and for how you are with others.

For examples, Brendon’s are 1. Present, Enthusiastic, and Bold 2. Engaged, Caring, Inspiring. Mine are 1. Present (I want this one for myself), Creative and Successful 2. Grateful, Generous and Gracious.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on who you are and who you desire to be for others.

  1. Make a list of your six words and journal why the word you chose is meaningful to you.
  2. Get creative in how you can raise your awareness of those six words and integrate them into all you do at work.
  3. Set a reminder for a week from now to journal about the differences living authentically made in your work.


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