Be The Real Deal

Life and leadership demands you be your authentic self.

Try to LEAD like someone else. Try to BE like someone else and you will fail. You would just be a bad imitation of who you are imitating. People do not follow or engage with people who are not real.
What does it take to be real, genuine and authentic?
It takes sincerity, honesty, integrity, consistency and character.
Why is authenticity so misunderstood?
Many believe that authenticity is an intrinsic and instinctive quality. In fact authenticity is a quality that others must attribute and ascribe to you.
No person, can look in the mirror and say to themselves; I am authentic!
A person cannot be authentic on their own. Authenticity is largely defined by what other people see and say about you.
So how can you embody being an authentic?

  • make sure your words are consistent with your deeds
  • embody your values and beliefs
  • practice what you preach
  • Be YOU.
  • The real YOU.
  • The Real DEAL.

Lead From Within: If you are a leader who is playing a role and pretending to be a leader -your followers, the people around you. will feel- see- hear- know the deception.

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Sweetie

    07. Aug, 2011

    Be willing to lead even when the popular, profitable, or pragmatic crowd isn’t following. New horizons or creative freedom rarely evolves from those who are unwilling to change or to try something new. Sometimes understanding that others aren’t ready to go where you must go is part of the journey. Choose what works for you, choose what is right for yourself, and you will find yourself in the company of others who also value the integrity of simply being who you are.

    Reply to this comment
    • niki

      11. Sep, 2011

      Your way of thinking make me stand up again and I begin to look at the the things happened to me soon other way -different and more optimistic !Thank you!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Jodi

    07. Aug, 2011

    I thought this was great! The part about being the “Real You” these are powerful words..

    Great message

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      08. Aug, 2011

      I believe the expression of an authentic self is necessary for great leadership, the concept of authenticity is so often misunderstood.
      Authenticity is not a product of pure manipulation. It accurately reflects aspects of the leader’s inner self, so it cannot be an act.

      An authentic leader should remain focused on where they are going but never lose sight of where they come from.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Jen Brentano

    08. Aug, 2011

    Lolly, I love the differentiation about it being something that is ascribed to us by other people. I have never thought of it that way. In my mind, authenticity is neither good nor bad (of course, I prefer authenticity that is supportive of others). For example, many would say that Hitler and his actions were bad – yes?? However, it appears to me that he was being authentic to himself and who he wanted to be. I love this topic and I think it’s worth exploring further!

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  4. Roy Saunderson

    08. Aug, 2011

    Lolly, this is simple and powerful wisdom here.

    I especially like the perspective that authenticity is not self-ascribed but can only be attributed to someone by others.

    Keep refining truth and sharing it with us.

    Warm regards,


    Reply to this comment
  5. Simon Roskrow

    08. Aug, 2011

    Hi Lolly

    Lovely, clear, simple article. I particularly like the part about:

    “Authenticity is largely defined by what other people see and say about you.”

    I’m not sure I’d agree with the “largely” bit (although I might be being a little pedantic there), but I do subscribe to the notion that if others’ views of you are similar to your own (honest) view of yourself, you are likely to be being pretty authentic.

    A while back, I wrote a little series of articles on ‘being yourself in the workplace’, so, if I may:

    These articles looked at the perils of corporate conformity, of being “deliberately different” so as to stand out, the dangers of group-think, and where I think the authentic sweet-spot lies.

    Thanks again for a wonderfully clear approach.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      08. Aug, 2011

      To attract followers, a leader has to be many things to many people. The trick is to pull that off while remaining true to oneself.
      Thanks for stopping by.


      Reply to this comment
  6. ruth olbrych

    08. Aug, 2011

    So my question is in that someone may think that they are indeed authentic, when in the eyes of others they aren’t…. IE, self perception as opposed to that of those you interact with. ..for as you say it is something others define you by.

    So, I think the trick is being honest with yourself about the message you put out there as well as what your motives are. Are you truly representing who you are authentically or are you putting out a persona because it is what is expected of you now? IE, the “trend” of fostering relationships online is what is bringing this up over and over again.

    My point is that you’re either authentic or you’re not…and not sure that someone that is not would recognize that they’re not. You’re right, people will feel, sense the deception…and guess that will be the tell tale sign to you that you aren’t authentic…again,… if you’re astute enough to acknowledge this as YOUR problem, not someone else s….ie, your lack of authenticity getting in the way of being a true leader.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      08. Aug, 2011

      Know yourself
      It goes almost without saying that exercise of leadership is complex and requires both skills and practices. overtime and through various life experiences, a leader develops an extensive repertoire of roles, which can make them seem very different to different people in different situations. indeed if a leader does not acquire this complexity they will be to recruit as followers only those people with whole they already share a common ground.

      Using the complex self, requires a degree of self knowledge and self awareness and the willingness and ability to share that self knowledge with others – self disclosure.

      A great leader is usually trying to accomplish no more than their big goals and they are unwavering about these goals. they don’t question them anymore than they question themselves that is because the goals are usually connected in some way to one or another of the leaders authentic self.
      Be real at all times.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Dr. Rae

    08. Aug, 2011

    Re: “So how can you embody being an authentic?”
    Listen to and heed your inner voice.

    Brava Lolly ; )

    Reply to this comment
  8. Emelia

    08. Aug, 2011

    I love this topic and could talk about it endlessly. I have come to think of authenticity as a process rather than an absolute.

    My definition of authenticity has been “when the you that you are matches up with the you that you want to be, which is also in line with the best you that you can be.” To me, it is directly related to spirit.

    When we express our core selves, our true selves, the best of us shines through and is recognized by others as being authentic.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Wayne McEvilly

    08. Aug, 2011

    Beautiful music you make in this post. Nurturing the active spirit within – a call to rise and shine – a favorite passage here: ‘Using the complex self, requires a degree of self knowledge and self awareness and the willingness and ability to share that self knowledge with others – self disclosure.’
    This is just it, the right real thing!
    Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Simon Harvey

    12. Aug, 2011

    Lolly ⓐ great post and topic. I so agree with you as to being the authentic you. For me the authentic recipe is made up from your life experiences. As we learn most of what we do from experience, trail and error, listening then learning, our ingredients are these and what we create, our beliefs and values are what adds to ⓨⓞⓤ. The authentic you must come from the heart, from within.

    For me the litmus test for authenticity is to ask yourself, not am I authentic, but do you like you. If you do not, then something is clouding the ‘You’. I thought about your point “In fact authenticity is a quality that others must attribute and ascribe to you.” and agree with it to a point. But that this is not necessary to being authentic, only if you must hear that you are. Quality is relative, so if you have to quantify ‘you’ then yes that is something someone else must attribute and ascribe to you, but it is not necessary for you to be authentically you. In a sense it is your own faith in staying authentic to you that makes it so powerful.

    The authentic you is your core, not necessarily the last layer. Look at the earth, the authentic earth is not what we see on the surface; concrete, buildings, dams, roads. It is not really the trees and nature, but it is a warm and relatively stable platform that provides many things life. Its authentic self is warm and stable. Humans start as warm and loving.

    As the earth evolved it gave life and has grown, it is still warm and stable until its inhabitants mess with it too much, but it stays authentic at the core.

    We are are similar, we stay the same at the core but continually have input that can cloud out the authentic you. As we grow we may change, from our experience, we grow as the earth grows, with trees and ponds and mountains and oceans, it grew life by being authentic, we grow with values and beliefs.

    As we grow the authentic you can flourish and grow (trees and life) or get clouded with garb (roads and buildings). It is our ability to be self-aware that enables us to touch base with the you, to be who you know you are that is authentic to your core. To act authentically is not always easy and requires that you take in others feelings and ideas, view them alongside your beliefs and values and then be as authentic as you can.

    To lead and lead well without force of cohesion is leading with authenticity, leading with force or with poor values or self interest is not authentic, it will be discovered by others that are authentic, and it will fail.

    Lolly you always hit such pertinent points and being your authentic self is so important at the moment in the world. England just saw many people not being their authentic selves, and it was sad and hard to watch.

    Reply to this comment
  11. James Shaw

    14. Sep, 2011

    “A person cannot be authentic on their own. Authenticity is largely defined by what other people see and say about you. ” – that’s interesting! I’d never thought about it that way before. But you’re absolutely right. Just like you can’t truly appoint yourself as a leader – that’s up to the people who follow you.

    I’m totally absorbed with the Start Something That Matters philosophy (see Blake Mycoskie’s new book) and have reinvented my business because of it.. I find that authenticity and trust are now even more key. There is a natural cynicism in most people nowadays that you cannot overcome with force – only patience.

    We just keep going forward and see where that leads us!

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  12. Jim

    18. Oct, 2011

    I agree that one should always be who they truly are in order to be a great leader. History repeats itself all too often when we are lead by those unworthy to lead. The best leader is not the one with the most followers. The best leader is the one who inspires the most leaders. Likewise, a great teacher is not the one with the most students. A great teacher is one who inspires the most teachers. The same can also be said of the inspiration that we can find in our belief systems. In the end, the teacher, the leader and everyone in between are best served when the society they lead moves toward all inclusiveness. Any teacher or leader who practices anything else is ultimately doomed to fail. Therein lies the truth of the leaders’ abilities. We are all created equal but that does not mean that we are all equal. The only hope that we have is the hope of equal opportunity. A great leader knows this truth – hence he/she leads and teaches others not of his own greatness but of theirs…..

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  13. Milos

    04. Jan, 2014

    Great advice!

    Being anyone but yourself is tiring, frustrating and lacks any sense of pride, accomplishment and sincerity. Be who you are, love who you are as that’s what you are best at…being yourself.

    Find your passion, become immersed in it and love every day of it.

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