As part of the learning experience at Interact Studio, we often ask clients to bring an item that reminds them of a meaningful moment—one that relates to their identity.
One of my favorite items was a 1966 Mickey Mantle baseball card brought by an attorney named Mark. He shared that the card was given to him by his big brother Craig. Growing up they were inseparable and spent hours listening to the Yankees on the radio, collecting cards and playing baseball in the backyard.
Craig sent the cherished card as a Christmas present to Mark when he was 45. His family didn’t understand the significance of the gift, but Mark knew it was a reaffirmation of something special they had shared as brothers. In the moment that he pulled the card from the wrapping, he remembered how being with Craig always made him feel safe, inspired and confident about the future.
A simple exercise for finding authentic and meaningful moments
Look about you at home and the workplace for the items that remind you of authentic, meaningful moments. This simple exercise has a way of putting you in touch with the personal stories that reveal your core values. Think about the traits of character of the people who have shaped you. These traits are yours as well.
As you lean into the New Year, envision how your most powerful drivers will be expressed in the work you do. Research shows that when your work is out of alignment with your core values, you will experience stress, frustration and limited success. You will have no natural authority if you are living in the speed trap and just trying to keep up.
Inspiring your team with show-and-tell
Consider the simple exercise of show-and-tell for your team. Encourage people to express their inspiration, be vulnerable and allow them to understand what drives you, and discuss the values of the company.
Leaders who risk vulnerability, as Mark did in telling us about an old Mickey Mantle baseball card, build trust and create environments of confidence and inspiration. But first, at home or at work, authentic leadership begins with the willingness to reflect on what is meaningful to you.