As we gain experience and develop areas of expertise in business, it’s all too easy to start drinking our own Kool-Aid. And, particularly when we’ve enjoyed some level of success, we tend to begin referring entirely to the Curriculum Vitae (CV) version of ourselves. After all, this is the version that will convince people we know what we’re talking about; that we deserve the respect of our colleagues; that we are eternally worthy of the mantle of leadership… ahem.
But the CV version of ourselves is only ever part of the story. I’ve always maintained that vulnerability is one of the fundamental tenets of leadership. It supports the ability to empathise with your colleagues, keeps you grounded, and reminds others that we all go through struggles and experience failures. Hence, the creation of the anti-CV…
Listen carefully. Share honestly.
At one point last year, a dear friend of mine was struggling with their start-up. Running a business is difficult at the best of times, but when you’re a solo founder trying to get something off the ground, the solitude can become overwhelming. When they reached out to me for advice, I wrestled with what to say. Was it best to look at some new ideas for the business? Or make some introductions to potential clients? Or simply listen and offer some empathy?
It’s easy in those mentoring moments to become a problem solver. But directive advice can be hard to hear and difficult to action when you’re at your wit’s end. So, I wrote a cut-down and inverted version of my CV for them to read – the anti-CV – a succinct document that nailed every failure I’ve ever had.