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Be Present as Your Most Authentic Self


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We all struggle with the age-old question, “Who am I?" It’s a quest that begins in childhood and can last a lifetime. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Joan Fallon, a visionary scientist who has dedicated her life’s work to championing the health and well-being of children worldwide. Dr. Fallon holds over 300 patents worldwide, has written numerous scholarly articles, and lectured across the globe on pediatric developmental problems.  

Her book, Goodbye, Status Quo: Reimagining the Landscape of Innovation equips readers with the tools to be agents of change: as entrepreneurs, leaders, and individuals. It’s her belief that no matter who you are or the background you come from, you can be an agent of change. And that change starts with you.

Becoming an Agent of Change Begins with Changing Yourself

Dr. Fallon says that before you can change the world, you must first change yourself. There are often detours in life and you have to be willing to take those detours. Your roadmap to the destination you have in mind may not be accurate, so you have to be willing to pivot, modify, and adjust. We all must learn how to adapt.

She says you also need to manage risk because the detours you encounter will sometimes require you to take risks. Don’t worry about whether the risk will cause you to make mistakes or not. Whatever happens, it won’t be the end of the world and you’ll have the opportunity to use mistakes as tools to help you grow.

Reframe Your Mistakes: View Them as Learning Tools

When you come up with the idea to solve a problem and begin to pursue it, you step into a sort of laboratory experiment. You come up with an idea and try it out. If it works, you’ve hit the solution early, which is rare. What typically happens is that you make a mistake and have to iterate or pivot to find a different solution. But each of those mistaken ideas or approaches is a learning opportunity.

Antiquated Thinking Can Hold You Back from Being Your Genuine Self

It’s tempting to show up in the world by presenting a veneer; a non-authentic version that we believe others want us to be. But that approach fails to recognize that each of us are created to serve a particular purpose. Our gifts, experiences, perspectives, and approaches to things can provide insight and progress that meets the needs before us. 

When you live behind a veneer, you put a wall between your authentic self, which is able to make a difference in the world and the opportunities to make that difference. This behavior is often a result of antiquated thinking, beliefs that are untrue or that don’t serve us or others well. As Dr. Fallon says, “You have to change yourself if you want to change the world.” Learning to be your authentic self in every context is a critical step in making change.

Listen to this episode to learn about...

  • [01:52] Joan’s book, Goodbye, Status Quo: Reimagining the Landscape of Innovation
  • [05:15] Using mistakes as a learning tool 
  • [06:49] How survival relies on the ability to adapt and change when necessary 
  • [11:58] Why we must be willing to let go of antiquated thinking 
  • [13:47] The power of being your most authentic self

Listen to the bonus episode to learn why community is important for schools to succeed and about the success of a dream charter school in Harlem.