All Hallow’s Eve & Identity


Halloween is a time where many dress up and get the opportunity to try-on a suit or a persona that allows for fun, expression, and exploration of self. As an existential philosopher I thought it would be a good time to take a moment to reflect on identity. Ironic that the most significant issue right now in information technology is #authentication. Ensuring whoever is the user is in fact a person – not a bot- and does in fact have integrity to name and place is of most importance in the age of digital. Authentication makes me smile as I realize how can you authenticate someone who infact doesn’t even know who he/she is. This is a business platform so that is as far as I will go.

In the spirit of our authentic I am sharing my list of links that support our clear knowing who we are and what we care for.

1) Impact is Not an Option: Every “like” or RT or endorsement both subtle and explicit is telling a story about who you are and what you value. Are you proud of what that aggregate story says about you, what you value and your capability? Your auto-autobiography is being written by simple responses on social sites. Whether we like it or not, stories are being told about us based on analytical data and doors are being opened or closed. We can let that happen or we can claim some control of what our data points say about who we are and what we care about. The place to regain control is to reverse engineer the qualities you would like to leave behind. Write your story now and live into it. Thought leader Clay Shirky gave us a nugget of wisdom: it is not information overload, it is filter failure.

2) Beyond Brand You: Reflections on Social Authenticity: “Self-affirmation is a matter of affirming your unique, personal value. The key to self-branding online is to become ‘extraordinarily/noticeably good at something of use/significance’ in the real world – to become something and brand that. All the online self-affirmation in the world – through tweeting, posting, pinning, +1ing, following, liking, favoriting, and sharing – won’t make you worthy of branding unless you are someone of worth. So be the best version of who you are. We all have our superpowers – what are yours?” says Tim Rayner.

3) Be Human: Heidegger and Online Authenticity: “Heidegger coined the phrase ‘being-in-the-world’ to encapsulate this vision of the human being. To be human is to be absorbed in a world of practical action, a world that we understand intuitively, without needing to reflect on it. The ‘world’, in this case, is not just a place or location full of people and things. Worlds are defined by a way of life or being. Worlds reflect community traditions; therefore they are not private, but social and shared. We ‘know our way around’ a world by understanding the way that we are expected to engage with other people in it.” again dear friend Tim Rayner.

4) Man’s Search for Meaning: “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.” Timeless wisdom from Viktor Frankl.

5) Four Principles to Guide A Life:

1. Clarify the Intention 2. Defind the Sacred 3. Understand the Commitment 4. Act to Be “These four principles are easy enough to remember and say aloud but challenging to apply. They are valuable insofar as you make them about you and your life, day-to-day, week- to-week, personally and professionally.” Brilliant from friend, writer, strategist Eric Best.

6) Finding the Value in Being Human: Being human, is kind of messy in that there isn’t an on and off button of feeling and emotion. You may be really knowledgeable about certain things but you probably have dragons that you need to slay and no matter how much intelligence that you have, you haven’t been able to resolve certain conflicts. I was honored to be included in the @RDigitalife segment on Well Being & Balance. Ramona Pringle’s platform is tracking the relationship technology has on how we life and how we think.

7) Are People Basically Good or Bad? : I have been deeply impacted by Eric Hoffer’s haunting words: It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence. Our need to belong is much more fundamental and primal than our need for excellence. There are subtle ways in which we sabotage our own success for fear of envy and/or our fear of being alone. Every community has thresholds for truth, intelligence, success. It is vital that you pay more attention to who your colleagues are, what they beliefs are and their decision-making criteria. You are impacted in subtle and explicit ways.

8) How Great Leaders Inspire: I was lucky enough to have a coaching session with Simon Sinek and it deeply impacted my practice. When I was younger I felt horribly in the way. I knew that I had blue eyes and if I could get an adult to look me in the eye I felt safer. He suggested that I rename my company “My Blue Eyes” as it represents taking something authentic and natural and leveraging it to create macro value. That is what I do for the companies I serve. It was brilliant advice that I have not yet had the courage to execute. It fits in the identity steam however. My favorite line for Simon’s TED is “there are leaders and there are those who lead.”

9) Authenticity~ The Way to the Millennials Heart: We believe that authenticity can be considered to be one of the ten values regarded as most essential to Postmoderns. The academic literature suggest that one good way to look it is to view it from two perspectives: constructive and existential. Constructive authenticity refers to the cultural context of what is considered to be authentic. Social media has enabled Postmoderns to communicate their true feelings with much less anxiety about being personally judged. It also gives them the ability, however, to distort information to fulfill an agenda without much consequence. Facebook, Twitter and other social media/networking sites provide an outlet for endless self-expression” contributes Forbes writer Professor Karl Moore.

10) To Thine Own Brand Be True: “An exercise in self-reflection can help any startup founder achieve better insights into their consumer’s point of view. At some point in your life, I am sure you have taken time to reflect: you’ve thought on what you want out of life, what your personal virtues and flaws are, what you have accomplished to date, and what you would like to contribute to the world. Such contemplation is crucial to your personal growth and development–and to that of your brand” says Fast Company writer Megha Desai.

Lest you think I am too serious, I am dancing to my favorite Halloween song I first heard at my alma mater University of Colorado : ♫ Shriekback-Nemesis

I wish you a safe and fun Halloween.

I wish you a safe and fun journey towards your authentic identity.