Success = purpose + authenticity x humility - Execs With Soul
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Success = purpose + authenticity x humility

In attending the VogueCodes live conference last week in Sydney, I was clearly and surprisingly struck by one thing – those with purpose, authenticity AND humility were a GIANT LEAP ahead.

I knew purpose was important and there are no shortage of people around the world confirming this. I also understand the same about authenticity.

But humility is interesting – I thought it was just me and perhaps it’s the Australian in me, but I noticed the difference in the audience when the speaker had the trifecta – purpose, authenticity and humility.

I also noticed the difference in me – I was completely absorbed by those that had a clear intent to do something for the world and talked openly about why and how they were “trying” to do that.

These are EXTREMELY successful people, by all measures. They’ve started companies, they continue to run those companies, they continue to grow and expand their companies and they contribute more broadly to the world – through speaking, learning, teaching, developing other concepts, helping those who need it or challenging norms.

They were also incredibly humble and almost surprised at their success.

Take Payal Kadakia who started Classpass with the mission of Every life fully lived. She walked out of her old boss’ office after resigning to start her company completely surprised that he’d handed her a cheque for his investment in her future.

Or Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian who said their focus on the potential and excellence of teams is a foundation of their entire organisation – not just their products. They publish exercises on building great teams and want diversity of thought at a team level – not just at a company level where lack of diversity can be easily hidden. When Edwina McCann who was interviewing, him commented how great that was, he just shrugged and smiled (as if he was saying, “well OK – doesn’t everyone do that?”).

No Mike, they don’t!

Jodie Fox from shoes of Prey talked very candidly about her fear of failure and how her biggest challenge was being herself. She made a point of talking about it because nobody else was, so she thought she was “broken”.  She gave us some great tips on how she manages this fear of failure, so she can continue to move forward.

Mike Cannon-Brookes gave a great TED talk a few months ago on imposter syndrome and I was lucky enough to be there for that.

I was blown away by his authenticity and genuine surprise at how successful he’d been. When Jodie Fox showed us a photo of her lounge room years ago, filled with shoe boxes to be shipped to customers, I heard the same genuine surprise in her voice as to how far she’d come.

These people have been successful because of their purpose + authenticity x humility.

But the person, in my opinion, who demonstrated this beyond a shadow of a doubt was Alex Klein from Kano. Now what a concept – computers even kids can build themselves.

And why was he doing this?? Well, he didn’t think it was fair that the ability to access the incredible capability and power of technology was held by the few who built the mass produced products we buy everyday. He just talked about it like he’d gone to the shops to get milk and came back with a purpose to empower the world.

His excitement was palpable and we all went on that journey with him.

So what I took away from VogueCodes live, was that to be successful is not about money, or contacts or ideas or brand names. Sure they all help.

But to be truly successful with soul it’s clear the winning formula is:

Purpose + authenticity x humility

Yours with soul,


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