Everyone we work with, everyone we befriend, everyone we love and trust, has two bios.
What do I mean by this?
When one of my sons arrived at college, he met a professor during his first week at school. The gentleman commenced the semester with an unusual classroom lecture, of sorts.
He posted a Power Point slide revealing, in brassy grandeur, all of his impressive credentials: cum laude, PhD, department chair, noted author, father of a half dozen theories, and on and on.
My son reacted in polar opposition to what this apparent show of intellectual superiority intended to elicit.
Restless in his seat, my son thought, “What a pompus stuffed shirt this guy is.”
And then the professor surprised him. Actually shocked him. And most impressive, endeared himself to him.
“Now that you have had the opportunity to absorb that side of me,” the professor said, “here is my other bio.”
Another Power Point slide appeared, this time revealing rather unflattering traits:
+ Apathetic Parent
+ Lack Of Personal Imagination
+ Fear Of Taking Risks
In business, in friendship, in romance, we are taught to keep the unattractive bio, which we all have, under wraps. To hide it. To present a facade as close to perfection as possible.
But no one believes it. We all know, deep down, that we are all imperfect. And those among us who are most transparent, most willing to surface the “stealth” bio, are actually the ones we admire most and select to be our partners, in whatever form of partnership we choose.
Why? Because we are drawn to their courage. Their honesty. To the knowledge that we actually know them and they us and in that mutual admission of imperfection, we find a perfect union.
I was asked the other day what it takes to be a successful leader, be it a CEO, the head of a tiny department, an entrepreneur seeking success against all odds, a platoon commander leading his forces into battle.
It takes any number of unusual and exceptional traits, perhaps chief among them the willingness to show both bios instead of the fantasy bio you post on FaceBook.