Weekender: Richie Sambora on Authenticity

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a ‘shot through the heart’ to kick start your weekend. Why just a shot? Because it’s the weekend!

The “fake it ‘til to make it” approach is an effective way to embody the persona you’d like to become, but what happens when your new self strays too far from your authentic self? In a recent interview, legendary guitarist Richie Sambora discussed how being true to their sound made Bon Jovi the success they are.

I think [our success was about] good songs and the authenticity didn’t really change. You know, you can’t all of a sudden [be] Bon Jovi and turn into f–kin’ Pink Floyd! Some bands try that and it doesn’t work. Stick to who you are and be authentic — I think that was a big part of it — and then just go out there and work.

Whether or not you realize it, you earn a reputation for behaving in a particular way. So when you start acting in a manner that is counter to this view, people question your motives, dependability, and truthfulness. This does not mean you should stop evolving and growing, just consider how you enact this change.

  • Start slow. Pepper in the “new” you so others don’t feel the change is drastic.
  • Explain yourself. Tell people why you feel the need to make a change.
  • Ask around. Once the change is in place, gauge how others perceive you.

Sambora mentioned that Bon Jovi should not turn into Pink Floyd, but wouldn’t you love to hear their rendition of Another Brick in the Wall? They simply need to do it in a style that is authentic to who they are without trying to replicate Pink Floyd’s version. You need to do the same. There’s no need to be livin’ on a prayer, just remain authentic to yourself when developing and expanding your identity.

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