Ritu Bhasin is on a mission to create a more empowered and inclusive world. As an inclusion professional, advisor, public speaker, and now author. She works with senior leaders from around the world to help them improve their approaches to talent management and leadership development. Her main job is to help her clients do a better job at inclusion. In some ways, her work is about helping the underdog.
Ritu’s story is powerful. She started her career as a lawyer, but found that her lack of being able to be authentic in that space made her profoundly unhappy. In her forthcoming book, she describes how as human beings, we crave belonging. We long to be part of communities. In our quest to belong to communities, we conform to what we think society the world would like us to be which is hard work. What she proposes, is a radical commitment to authenticity. She is challenging the world to be authentic in as many moments as possible.
In the episode, we talk about how her notion of the authenticity principle might be received in the business world. We talk about how some people may see it as flaky but for Ritu, it is an integral part transforming the business world. She is committed to building a world where people feel safe enough to bring their authentic selves into whatever space there are participating in. She asks the question:
- How do we create a world where we can embrace not only who we are as individuals but encourage other people around us to bring their differences to bear?
The answer to that question is complicated and we explore it more in the show, but part of the answer is that our world pushes conformity. As a result, when peoples emotional and physical energy is spent confirming, they are not fully engaged in their work. As a result, people are disenfranchised, disempowered, disconnected and disengaged from sections of our society where they could make a greater contribution if they were allowed to show up as their authentic selves.
If I were to distill the main message of this podcast episode, it would be around Ritu’s three selves model. She argues that each of us has three selves:
- The Authentic Self
- The Performing Self
- The Adaptive Self.
The authentic self is who you really are. The person that you would be in the world if you felt there were no consequences for being authentically you. Then there is the performing self. This is the mask we project into the world. The self we think we need to be if we are to move forward in the world. Finally, there is the adapted self. This is middle ground, the self who consciously chooses to adapt their authentic self to meet the needs of society. Her point is that you do not need to choose between being completely authentic and completely inauthentic, but there is a middle ground that can help you thrive in a world that encourages conformity. For more on her three selves model, I would listen to the podcast and dive into her book.
Finally, Ritu has two pieces of advice for anyone who wishes to disrupt a sector or system.
- Be authentic. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
- Be relentless. Know that change is slow hard work, but never give up. Embrace the inner Jack Russell in you in you and be relentless.
Hope you enjoy this episode.
Links mentioned in the podcasts: