I was recently interviewed with a prestigious company. During the conversation, my interviewer and I started speaking about leadership.

It was a spontaneous flow of exchanges on a topic we both felt passionately about. “Now this is going to take longer than the recruiter said, so do not feel negatively if I ignore her warnings about our interview timings”, he said.

My interviewer was someone with years of experience, an elite education, many degrees, but also a great talent at listening. He encouraged me to talk about things that I knew. During this conversation, we discussed authenticity. How great leaders can be extremely different in styles, yet extremely effective if they are true to their inner nature.

Authenticity is something I felt strongly about. Gandhi and Mandela had many contrasts — Gandhi used non-violence as a matter of principle, while Mandela said he used it as a strategy — but they were both great leaders in their own rights. Steve Jobs was about design, control and keynotes. Larry and Sergey are about freedom, doodles, pets-and-jeans-at-work and humor. Yet, both Apple and Google have innovated in the best of ways.

Contribution and fulfillment, not to mention happiness, are a direct outcome of connecting with our true, authentic self. It is this connection which triggers the inner compass to life. Then, the inner compass becomes the automatic navigator toward a life of direction, and fewer conflicts.

What is your authentic self? Who are you? What do you stand for?

The answer is with you, and has depths unimagined before. Dive as deep as you can (or wish to)!


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