I admit to enjoying a bit of schadenfreude yesterday for one Meg Whitman.
I joke to people when they ask me about my political affiliation that I am a bit of an anarchist. I am fairly liberal, yes, but I am not one of those annoying progressives who think they can win the dinner party argument by pulling out my pocket Constitution to prove my 38 specific points of discussion. I very much enjoy intellectual conversations with conservatives, especially on wonky fiscal matters, and I do more listening than talking.
I did not vote for Meg Whitman for governor for one reason and one reason only: she is not authentic.
She spent something in the neighborhood of 120 million dollars of her own money to try and convince the voters of California that she was who she said she was- a woman of the people, a bright, successful CEO who knew a thing or two about changing cultures and getting things done.
This was not true.
She made a huge fuss about undocumented immigrants during the campaign, her rhetoric suggesting these folks should be rounded up and water boarded at Guantanamo. Then we find out the rich lady hired an undocumented worker to clean her toilets. This is the problem with the phony oligarchs- they feel the rules are different for them. Whitman’s lack of authenticity was one of the key factors attributed to her defeat.
Jerry Brown is today the Governor of the fiscally flimsy California Republic because even though he is a bit of an eccentric, we feel we know who he is. The Devil you know…you know.
He made a joke about his mental acuity and got a big laugh after a verbal wobble during his swearing-in yesterday; normally a dramatic, historic moment, but this is Jerry Brown, love him or loathe him. He is what he is.
All the money in the world could not sway the good voters of this incredible state to buy the snake oil Meg Whitman was selling. I applaud the voters for choosing the lesser of two spectacularly dorky candidates, not because he is a Democrat, but because he is the real deal, and he will be judged accordingly.
Being authentic doesn’t mean you are “better” than others. It doesn’t mean you are more honest, or more handsome, or some kind of intellectual giant. It means you are who you represent yourself to be.
When you sell yourself to a company for a job, when you make your case to a lover about your qualifications during courtship or when you run for public office, we often know if you’re trying to BS us.
When you make a presentation to a group of suspicious executives in a conference room, you need to know that they already don’t like you. Here’s why you shouldn’t be intimidated – they don’t know you yet. What else are they supposed to think about a stranger? As soon as they hear your opening remarks, they’ll loosen up and give you a shot.
People want to know who you are. They desire a bit of information about you when they first meet you; it’s how we size each other up. The “Who Am I?” story you tell, one sentence long, lets your audience of one or a million know this is what you are representing. Then you have to deliver on that promise.
You have a whole lot of good inside you. Admit this to yourself, it’s OK. You’re perfectly imperfect, but you are at least 80% GOOD. I like your averages.
The first step is learning who you are. When you have a grip on that, you’ll be able to most effectively sell yourself, your product and your service to the world.