Tag Archives: Authenticity


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 “Nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. More difficult because there is no zeitgeist to read, no template to follow, no mask to wear. Terrifying, actually, because it requires you to set aside what your friends expect, what your family and your co-workers demand, what your acquaintances require, to set aside the messages this culture sends, through its advertising, its entertainment, its disdain, and its disapproval, about how you should behave.” – Anna Quindlen

Our true self is who we really are when we let go of all of the stories, labels, and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves. It is who we naturally are without the masks and pretentiousness.

For me, being my self means being honest and genuine. It means stop pretending to be somebody I am not, putting on a show and trying to fit in. It also means deciding what I really want from life, standing up for what I believe in, and following my own value system and common sense.

To be true to yourself takes courage. It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open-minded and fair. It also requires you to take the risk of learning something about yourself as well as to take responsibility for yourself.

When you are being yourself, it is easier to see what you want out of life and what is truly important to you.

Only by being true to yourself you can own your life.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com


My Story

Iroh – Avatar The last Airbender

by Raechanah Syafei

It was in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer and for two years I underwent medical treatment.

In the middle of 2012 I had total hysterectomy.

I was devastated both physically and mentally throughout this time. For two years I struggled to keep my high performance level up at work and at the same time fighting against my cancer. I am a right-handed person and since I could not use my right hand anymore I learnt to write with my left hand.

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Sylvia Ann Hewlett, “Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success”


Reviewed by Femflection

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is the founding president of the Center for Talent Innovation, a Manhattan-based think tank where she chairs a task force of eighty-two multinational companies focused on fully realising the new streams of labor in the global marketplace.

Back Cover Summary:

This book is immensely practical. Hewlett teases out tactics that can help you raise your game and close the gap between merit and success. The author offers the unvarnished advice you won’t get from supportive friends and tackles head-on such touchy subjects as too-tight clothing and too-shrill voices. She shows how the standards for EP vary for men, women, multicultural, and LGBT employees, and she shares how to get meaningful feedback from politically correct bosses intent on avoiding the real issues.

Executive Presence is teachable. You can learn how to “show teeth” while remaining likable, and you can teach yourself how to dress appropriately while staying true to yourself. With hard facts and vivid examples, Hewlett shows you how to ace EP and fully realize your unique potential—no matter who you are, no matter where you work.

Some “Executive Presence” quotes:

  • “how you act (gravitas), how you speak (communication), and how you look (appearance) count for a lot in determining your leadership presence.”
  • “It is executive presence—and no man or woman attains a top job, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following without this heady combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal. It’s an amalgam of qualities that telegraphs that you are in charge or deserve to be.”
  • “In this regard, professionals of color may hold an edge. In focus groups we conducted, countless participants confirmed that being a minority is itself a relentless exercise in reading others in order to anticipate and overcome reflexive bias or unconscious resistance.”
  • “It is executive presence—and no man or woman attains a top job, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following without this heady combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal.”
  • “When companies and leaders know how to harness and leverage gender, generation, ethnicity, race, culture, and nationality, there is a significant impact on the bottom line.”
  • “There are simple rules of engagement: You need to have your voice, but it has to be very intentional – be brief and to the point, with fresh ideas. Don’t restate things someone else has said. Make eye contact with the person who has the floor.”
  • “There are three pillars, regardless of your work culture, whether you’re in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street: how you look, how you speak, and how you behave. It’s all three things, and nailing them makes you a contender.”
  • “Women have made enormous progress on the lower and middle rungs of the career ladder, but we are failing to make the leap into senior positions. Everyone jumps to the conclusion that it’s motherhood that holds women back, but often the big roadblock is the lack of executive presence.”

“Executive Presence” – the Book:

You might have the qualifications to be considered for your dream job, but you won’t get far unless you can signal that you’re “leadership material” and that you “have what it takes.” Professionals are judged on presence as well as on performance.

As such, leadership isn’t as much about what you do, but rather how you look and come across while you are doing it.

The author found that executive presence rests on three pillars:

• How you act (gravitas)

• How you speak (communication)

• How you look (appearance)

You don’t need to have all of these elements in equal measure:

Gravitas is the most important with 67% of the executives surveyed say that it matters most.
Communication comes in at 28%.
Appearance comes in at 5%.
Demonstrating confidence through “grace under fire”, the ability to make tough decisions, integrity and emotional intelligence are the important ingredients of gravitas.

Communication (superior speaking skills, the ability to command/read a room, assertiveness and sense of humor) and appearance (being polished and groomed, fit/slim, appropriate wardrobe choices) tend to be significant factors in assessing a person’s gravitas.

The book is organized into seven simple chapters that will lead the reader on the journey toward building up their Executive Presence:

Chapter 1: What is Executive Presence

Chapter 2: Gravitas

Chapter 3: Communication

Chapter 4: Appearance

Chapter 5: Feedback Failures

Chapter 6: Walking the Tightrope

Chapter 7: Authenticity versus Conformity

Each chapter contains specific examples from well-known companies, brands and people that you’ve watched on the news.

Much of the book is taken up in discussing how cultural prejudices can be overcome. The author is of the view that the best results are achieved by accentuating the strengths that make you different from the white alpha male, rather than by trying to pretend to be a white alpha male.

In order for your voice to be heard, you must first be in a position where people will listen to you. If you are at a point in your career where you are delivering solid results, but just can’t seem to get to the next level, Executive Presence could be the missing link. Regardless of where you are in your career or even to what level of leadership you aspire to, “Executive Presence” can serve as a helpful guide to ensure you can bridge the gap between merit and success.

This book is for sure also useful for leaders who are ready to have their preconceptions challenged to ensure that going forward their workplaces can experience the benefits of greater diversity.

Want to buy book

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com




How you decorate your office does say something about you and can be a conversation starter when unfamiliar people visit you, so it is worth considering what subtle messages you want to convey and the topics you are happy to discuss with strangers.

We spend a lot of time at work and research has shown that people perform better when they work in a pleasant environment, clean offices, with natural light, plants, comfortable furniture etc. (see, for example, http://smartbusinesstrends.com/tips-creating-healthy-efficient-positive-work-environment/) and are able to customize their work space to some degree. In fact, we see a lot of firms (Hubspot, Dropbox, Skype, Evernote, AirBnB etc. http://mashable.com/2014/01/09/playful-workspaces/) that design work spaces that reflect the company culture and often provide ‘play’ areas as well as quiet spaces to give their employees the freedom to move between different work environments that suit their needs and moods.

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Man, I feel like a Woman


By: Joan van den Brink

Eleanor Roosevelt was the wife of President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a stateswoman in her own right. She was a strong-minded and courageous leader who followed her ‘True North’ to campaign for and champion causes that transformed the lives of many disadvantaged Americans.  Once her husband’s political career took off she blossomed as an independent thinker and became a strong advocate for social reform to better the lives of the underprivileged.  She revolutionized the role of First Lady by constantly acting in ways that were new to the position: holding regular press conferences, writing a daily newspaper column, publishing books and articles, travelling the nation on speaking tours, chairing national conferences in the White House, addressing national conventions of social reform organizations, giving a keynote address at her party’s presidential convention, representing her nation abroad, travelling battlefields, and directing a government agency.  She played a critical role in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by skillfully creating an atmosphere that permitted the blending of ideas and norms of different cultures together into a document that nations around the globe could assent to while marshaling U.S. support for swift passage of the declaration.   In short, she was an authentic leader.

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Hermina Ibarra, “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader”

41hqsgdhmklReviewed by Femflection

Herminia Ibarra is a professor of Leadership and Learning, the Chair of the Organizational Behavior department, and the founding director of “The Leadership Transition” executive education program at INSEAD. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council, and consults with a wide variety of companies around the world in the areas of leadership development and talent management, with a special focus on women and leadership.

Some “ACT LIKE A LEADER, THINK LIKE A LEADER” Quotes: Continue reading

Dig Deeper: Your Toughest May Be Your Most Caring Leader

new1by River Ho Rathore

A few years ago, I was part of a Management Team that was commencing its turnaround of a big ICT company. We wanted to set ourselves up to be more outward-oriented, agile, and always at the forefront of customers’ lifestyle needs. We had big plans of being the market leader, and this change in direction required a strong leader who was consistent in institutionalising the Company’s new resolve, at the same time who had the tenacity to see that all parts of the Company actually did move toward the right direction.

As our new CEO was on-boarded, all employees were cautious about how the ship would sail. From the onset, we observed that he did not mince his words, and he so very firmly announced zero tolerance for lack of integrity.

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by Anja Uitdehaag

“The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.” – Erikson

 It is very easy to confuse “What we do” with “who we are”.

When I was younger, I associated job title and fitting into a group with my self-worth. I didn’t realise how much I drew upon my work as the source of my identity. I had spent so much of my life working toward what I thought were my important life goals only to find out that this was not the case.

I ended up thinking ‘There must be more to life, or to me than this’?

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The Fine Art of Expressing Yourself

by matheen

Self-expression is essential to our lives as sun, water and air — it’s how we convey ourselves to the world. We express ourselves through communication, our hobbies, our passions, our choices in life, the way we speak, the way we think, the way we live and the way we work. We express ourselves through how we design and furnish our homes, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, and even the way we style our hair.  Everything is an indication of our feelings, spirits and characters.

However, when it comes to expressing ourselves, expect some roadblocks.  Are you afraid of sharing a piece of yourself to others? Or perhaps you’re shy or an introvert? Do you find that you’re often misunderstood and lack communication skills? Sometimes, life gets in the way and we don’t have the time to express ourselves. Or we simply couldn’t care less. Whatever it is, please don’t let these roadblocks stop you from expressing yourself. There’s a lot of human value in self-expression — it’s a celebration of life itself. It’s an homage to truth, creation, feelings, thoughts and consciousness.  When we share a part of ourselves to others — we are being generous to others. At the same time, self-expression is healthy for us — it promotes well-being, happiness, creativity and freedom! Continue reading

Authenticity Matters


“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

The more we try to be something else—what our parents told us we should be, what our jobs demand us to be, what other people seem to think we should be—the more the desire to just be ourselves grows stronger.

In other words: Our authenticity comes under pressure as soon as we are challenged to act in a way that is foreign to our nature.

As long as we are able to find our own voice, adapt our behaviors and at the same time maintain our personal values and integrity we will function well.

The key to maintaining your balance of self and to become the most authentic version of yourself is simply focusing on what makes you happy by regularly checking in with yourself.

Taking care of your self is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. Your wellbeing is the platform from which you serve others.

Embrace your individuality and be true to yourself!

Take care!

Anja Uitdehaag

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com