“There’s nothing more daring than showing up, putting ourselves out there and letting ourselves be seen.”
Yesterday, I touched briefly on being ‘yourself.’ What do I mean by this?
Like I mentioned yesterday – when people first meet me, they may think that my enthusiasm, eagerness and constant positive ‘attitude’ are an ‘act,’-only when they get to know me, do they realise that is actually who I am.
Being yourself, especially as a leader is of utmost importance. If you do not stay true to who you are, people will instantly see through you and begin to not trust you. When there is no trust, the foundation crumbles and things begin to fall apart.
When I started teaching in schools, I grew a bit of a complex about my accent. I was born in England but grew up in California. Hence, I have an American accent – one that will not go away no matter how long I reside here! I have now been here over twelve years!
During interviews, I often felt as though my accent would hinder me…..that I would not be accepted in British villages and towns because of my ‘voice.’
It was during a GTC training with Alan Newland (@newteacherstalk) that I began to realise that there was nothing I could do about my voice, but that actually some people really did like it! We had to write no more than fifty words about a charity and present it to the group – but before I started, Alan, realising where I was from, said “it always seems to sound better when an American says it!”
I would have to debate this statement – there are many accents that I swoon over – mine not being one of them…..but he gave me confidence in my voice…. in who I was.
I finally came to accept that there was nothing I could do; I could either keep letting ‘my accent’ smother me in a cloud of doubt, or I could embrace it, accept that my voice was a part of me – it made me unique-different-stand out from the rest……
A genuine leader cannot hide who they are. They cannot pretend to be something that they are not. A leader has to bring all that they are, even the bits that others may not like. A leader has to be honest about what they stand for and lead with transparency.
It was when I went for this last headship interview that I decided they would see me for who I was. I went in being completely me……overly optimistic about the future, sometimes even using my ‘American’ phrases during my presentations…….but I gave them ‘me.’
Now, I am their headteacher…..still overly optimistic about the future, probably using even more ‘American phases, than I should…….but me…….100% ‘real’ Mrs Barton.