Expose Your Chest to Daggers

When Les Brown, speaker, speech coach and author of Live Your Dreams, called me to offer his enthusiastic endorsement for my soon-to-be-released (June 1) book, The Compound Effect (I’m very excited about it! The picture is me just having received shipment!), he said something very profound: “If you are hungry to be successful, this is it. The fundamentals of all the success you ever want to achieve are condensed into one book. Don’t read this—consume it. Study it; make it your operations manual for life. Darren Hardy challenges you to get out of your head and get into your greatness.”

He told me, “This is the first time I learned who you are. I have known your title, your position, your accomplishments, but I didn’t know your story—how you grew up, what shaped you, how you have failed, what adversity you have come through. It is not until this book that I really connected with who you really are.”

Les Brown is well-known for training speakers. He continued and talked to me about the power of influencing an audience. He said, “It’s important you reveal more about who you are, not just what you know. You can’t just talk to people’s heads or only appeal to their intelligence; you have to talk to their hearts. You can’t move people with logic. They cannot just hear you…. They have to feel you. And they will only feel you if they know you, not your title or résumé, but your story, the truth of who you really are and how you got here—both the triumphs and the failings. This is what will make you real and make you available to be connected to and able to influence and motivate others.”

This was a real awakening and a fantastic insight. It is similar to a concept Top Gun Waldo Waldman recently talked with me about in our interview for the SUCCESS Audio Series on leadership. He talked about the concept of “exposing your chest to daggers.”

As a leader, it’s important you lead by example, that you set the pace and offer your vulnerability first. Let people get to know you; expose your faults, who you are, your true story. I offer that same challenge to you. I believe we are beginning an era of authenticity. People want to connect with what’s real, open, honest, transparent and authentic. If you want to be a leader of the future, this is one of your greatest keys. Open yourself up to others. Be real. Lead by example in your honesty and openness. If people can feel you, connect with you, they will charge through walls for you. That is real leadership.

So, what’s your plan? Think of three ways you can expose yourself, open yourself up to the people on your team. What can you share about yourself that gives them something to feel and connect with? State your commitment and-or offer your suggestions in the comments below.


Darren Hardy is the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals.

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