Warren Bennis said “"Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult."
This is perhaps one of my favorite leadership quotes of all time, because it emphasizes the “real work” of leadership - looking deep within.
It’s also one of the greatest challenges many of us face when it comes to leadership. Being ourselves completely, even when it means people may judge us, dislike us, or write disparagingly about us online or in evaluations is really hard.
And, being ourselves completely, even in the face of all of these things, is the key to creating meaningful change in the world.
I was delighted to hear many of the speakers throughout EntreFEST echo this theme in one form or another.
Ben Milne kicked off the conference with one quotable moment after another, highlighting the importance of values (“if your values are negotiable, what’s the point of having them?”) and warning against the ugly trap of comparison (“comparing yourself to others is death by comparison”).
Jacquie Berglund, Founder of FINNEGAN’S Beer, modeled what it looks like to build a successful company, pay people well, and donate 100% of profits....all while remaining completely aligned with her beliefs and vision.
Seth Godin closed the conference, urging us to avoid selling “average things to average people” by taking risks, being ourselves, doing something different, and finding the weird ones.
Trevor Owens said “if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re by default a leader.” I would add to this - being a leader might be our default, but being a great leader is our opportunity. And it starts by digging deep, looking in the mirror, and doing the hard work to continually become more of ourselves.