“I commit to saying what is true for me. I commit to being a person to whom others can express themselves with candor.”

Commitment 4: Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, Kaley Warner Klemp

The core idea of this commitment is to be conscious of our tendencies to either reveal or conceal.

The mental model that best guides self-awareness, regulation, and reflection of our revealing or concealing behaviors was developed by Gay and Katie Hendricks, and it maps a chain of behaviors that flow from either revealing or concealing.

CONCEAL: Withhold —- Withdraw —- PROJECT
REVEAL: Reveal—Connect—OWN

In my opinion, this mental model is profound in its elegant simplicity and usefulness. The first commitment of conscious leadership is Taking Radical Responsibility. This commitment is unquestionably easier said than done; however, mapping the terrain of concealing versus revealing makes taking responsibility for speaking candidly that much more comprehensible and actionable.

I believe this model for speaking candidly is also a great litmus test for one’s creative/artistic pursuits. It is my assertion that great art comes from candid expression.

An artist communicates by shipping work that reveals thoughts, feelings, or sensations with the INTENT to connect with those he or she seeks to serve. And it is through this generous commitment to dig deep and reveal in order to connect that the artist has professional OWNership of their craft, i.e., he or she has put themselves ON THE HOOK.

In The Practice, Godin writes that part of creating like a professional involves embracing your idiosyncratic peculiarity:

All change comes from idiosyncratic voices. When you bring work from outside the status quo to people who need it, you’re doing something peculiar: specific, identifiable, and actionable

Godin, p. 111

Therefore, an artist that withholds, withdraws, and projects is unable to meaningfully connect with an audience because there has been no attempt to own his or her unique, specific, peculiar, and idiosyncratic voice.

Remember, candid artistic expression is not revealing just to be heard. Candid artistic expression is revealing to CONNECT and the consistency and specificity of this intent to connect is what it takes to have ownership over YOUR creative process.

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