Being alive brings so many competing thoughts and demands, doesn’t it?

We are living in a time when we are encouraged to be our authentic selves, to look beyond the curated images of social media, seeing them for what they are, so we can live our truth.

It is wonderful to watch people flourish when they can be true to themselves and allow their light to shine. None of us is perfect – wouldn’t it be dull if we were?

But there is a line, isn’t there?

Should we have allowed Will Smith to be true to himself in his reaction to a joke, without consequences?

Should we allow protesters, who are shining a light on issues of concern to them, to cause disruption without consequence?

Consequences come about because everything we do has an impact on others. There are laws that govern behaviour and consequences, as well as social etiquette. I love that we no longer have to worry about “what others think” as much as previous generations did. Although there is a strong argument that social media and beautifully curated posts, simply substitutes one version of “what will the neighbours think” for another. Despite the loosening up of social constraints, we still need to be aware of how our actions can negatively impact others.

Leadership for me, is navigating that dilemma- being authentic in all that I do, while being aware of the impact that has on others – and accepting the consequences when I get it wrong.

Self-awareness of our personality traits, our triggers, our strengths and our challenges is a useful part of our personal development journey. By knowing more about ourselves we can build on our strengths and seek support in areas we may be challenged.

Knowing ourselves is not, however, an excuse for bad behaviour. In workplaces, in life, in families, in social groups, we need to be able to work as a team, reducing the negative impact we have on our work, and on our colleagues.

Self-awareness, reflection and humility are key.