BE BRILLIANT!We’re all at risk of becoming the robots of life versus becoming humans of extraordinary evolution, where potential is unleashed and brilliance shines.by Janine GarnerIMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCKThe world is asking us to be our extraordinary, brilliant selves, but we’re not listening. Instead, we’re suffering with extreme and multidimensional fatigue at three levels:Exhaustion fatigue — we’re exhausted with being exhaustedStretch fatigue — we’re pulled in 101 directions, often at the same time, by multiple partiesChoice fatigue — we struggle with what to do next, tomorrow, the day after; first, second, at the same time, or all right now!Be honest … because many of us would agree that the mere thought is simply exhausting.
  • It’s exhausting trying to keep pace with technological changes our families, our children, our friends
  • Exhausting trying to keep up with work demands and the changing business landscape.
  • It’s exhausting having to conform to industry, societal and — let’s be honest — social-media expectations of how to look, be and behave.
  • It’s exhausting trying to prove that we’re good enough.
  • It’s exhausting trying to perform and play a bigger game.
  • It’s exhausting being human in today’s busy world.
How do you feel about the future?When everything external to us is moving so quickly, the risk is we enter a space of feeling out of control. We worry about what we don’t have and seek out solutions to band-aid our perceived imperfections and doubts. Perhaps we regress into a space of me, of self-protection, of ‘protect what I know, learn what I don’t, and until then I’ll fake it till I make it’.

We look externally for options to invest in learning and programs to improve our skills and capabilities. Maybe we buy tools and expertise to improve performance. We spend hours researching the next big thing so we can be ahead of the curve. And we invest materially in external validations of success.

We want to be in demand. To be needed. To be relevant. Be seen as successful. So we spend a fortune on stuff, on shit, that we think will make us ‘better’ — that will ‘fix us’.
And what does this really get us?Despite this constant acquisition of skills, work, promotions, learning, material possessions and jampacked calendars, there are so many of us living daily with imposter-like feelings, doubts of our own abilities and questions about the path we’re on.

Despite a perception of increased connectedness thanks to the quantitative counting of friends and connections online, and time spent scrolling, we’re living increasingly in an age of loneliness and depression — of disconnection from ourselves and who we want to be.

And despite the outward appearance of being in control, stress, mental health and disengagement levels are at an all-time high in the workplace and at home.

Relationships are breaking down, both with our team members at work and our family and mates at home.

We feel uninspired by leaders, organisations, brands, governments and businesses. We question the type of leader, partner, parent, friend and person we want to be.

Worse yet, in this fast-moving new world, we’re having to learn to live with incessant change. Talent is no longer enough, truths are hard to find and being fake is more visible; yet somehow, we’re expected to live and lead a brilliant life.

How on earth can we be brilliant — and feel brilliant — when we’re engulfed by disillusionment, comparison-itis, blame-itis, imposter syndrome-itis, and lack of self-belief-itis?
Better be yourselfWe all have to get better at being ourselves. Think about it: without people being who they truly are, being their brilliant selves, we’ll never create the true heart and soul, the belonging that’s needed to turn the challenges of our present into the successes of our future. When we reconnect and reclaim who we are in the entirety of our lived experience, imperfections and strengths, and when we stop faking it till we make it, we’ll be in a position to unleash our individual brilliance, and at the same time unleash the brilliance in others.

So, the solution here is to start by looking at who.

In 2009, Simon Sinek published his first book, Start with Why, which included the infamous Golden Circle framework for his approach to leadership — that ‘people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it’.

While Sinek was undoubtedly correct in identifying a starting point for why you’re doing something, this thinking has created a tsunami of significant unrest and anxiety as people and organisations try to find their purpose in life.

What do we value? What’s our mission? Why are we here? These are the questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis—and if we don’t have the answers, we panic!

While I’m absolutely not discrediting his great work, what I am proposing is that there are other, more critical questions that need to be asked first: who are you? Who are you being and who do you want to become?
Understanding why on its own will never workThe who we are and who we want to become and the why we’re doing what we’re doing must align, otherwise there will always be a point of tension and conflict.

Phil Knight, founder of Nike, talks to this concept in his book Shoe Dog. He writes about what sparked his success at selling. After being unable to sell encyclopaedias because he hated it, and feeling empty inside when selling mutual funds, he started selling shoes and realised he enjoyed it because ‘it wasn’t selling’: he believed in running and believed these were the best shoes to run in and that the ‘world would be a better place’ if people ran every day. He added, “People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves. Belief, I decided. Belief is irresistible.”

What Knight shared is that the why for other people only became important when he had belief in himself — in his who — first.

So, what if we could remove the shackles we’re placing on ourselves and instead know that we have all we need right now? That we have all the skill and capability that’s needed to contribute and influence; that our opinion matters; that the culmination of all the facets of ourselves — the strengths, the weaknesses, the successes, the failures, the loves and the imperfections — are our perfectly imperfect and brilliant selves.

We just need to tap into it! Embrace it!
IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCKYou have all that you need to be brilliant.To meet all of your challenges and demands head-on, right now – it starts with you!

My wish for you is to understand that we’re all unique, that we all have individual facets that, when embraced, will help us become the best individuals, partners, parents, leaders, team and organisations we can be.

Much like learning how to meditate for hours or mastering a one-handed push-up, it takes continuous work to be brilliant, work that lasts a lifetime! But this continuous mastery, ongoing improvement and determination to become better is where the opportunity exists for you and for those you lead.

Only when we take ownership of who we are, and who we want to become, only when we accept all of our imperfections and rise above our limitations, only when we unleash our own inner brilliance can we truly create the space for others to do the same.

But what I have learned is to accept who I am and be pretty gentle and forgiving of myself. I’ve learned that I have certain strengths where I can add a lot of value. And, equally, I have a hell of a lot of weaknesses that are hard to change. I have learned to accept all of this about myself. And I’ve learned to get curious about my behaviours, and about how and why some people get under my skin. I’ve learned to continually lead from a place of courage and acceptance of others, of loving unconditionally and teaching always.

It’s not easy though. After all, I’ve got many years of my own unconscious bias, ideas and opinions, as do you. But when we give in to the inner demons and negative voices, we can’t do our best work. We can’t bring the best of ourselves to what we do. And we can’t do what it is we want to do and achieve with our life.
Brilliance is infectious. So, let’s be brilliant together!This article was excerpted with permission from Janine’s latest book, Be Brilliant How to Lead a Life of Influence, published in 2020 by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd, ISBN: 978-0-730-38376-5.Janine is obsessed with unleashing the brilliance in individuals, teams and companies. Her whole world revolves around helping others reclaim and reignite their influence. She is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, educator and author of It’s who you know: how a network of 12 key people can fast-track your success and From me to we: why commercial collaboration will future-proof business, leaders and personal success.
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