2imgSignature Contributions vs. Conformity

If knowing yourself and being yourself were as easy to do as people talk about, there wouldn't be nearly so many people walking around in borrowed postures, spouting secondhand ideas, trying desperately to fit in rather than stand out.

—Warren Bennis1

All of my coaching clients at some point or another are subjected to what I call the George Bailey questions. George Bailey is the main character in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.2 The film begins with George at his lowest point, believing that he is worth more dead than alive. That's when his guardian angel Clarence appears. Clarence shows George what the town of Bedford Falls would have been like if George had never been born. Throughout the movie, George discovers what a powerful personal impact he has had on his community and on the lives of countless individuals.

Powerful personal impact really matters in the workplace today. There is a lot of distraction and noise in the workplace that can seduce us into confusing our busyness with real productivity or impact. In the twenty-first century workplace, we need to be thinking about our impact and looking for ways to have impact constantly. Tuning into yourself with an eye toward what it is that you can contribute to a given situation is a part of the art and discipline of authenticity.

The George Bailey questions are:

  1. What would have ...

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