Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Trevor E S Smith Taking off the mask: The courage to be you

Published:Sunday | February 11, 2018 | 12:27 AMTrevor Smith

We often hide our true feelings and wear masks. We take on camouflage personas to get ahead. 

Having the courage to be our authentic selves can be challenging. In my interview with international best-selling author, Fortune 500 leadership adviser and breakthrough catalyst Keri Smith, I pressed her on the issue of having the courage to be your authentic self.

I wanted to know what was the inspiration to be her authentic self in a truly challenging environment and to share her story.

Keri: I got sick of living a muted life. I saw how often I suppressed parts of my personality because it appeared to make life easier and success and acceptance more accessible. This was wearing me out, and I often wondered about the meaning of authentic leadership. How do you successfully navigate the complexities of your own humanity and combine and channel the results effectively as a leader? Can you effectively lead if you are not courageous enough to be your true self?

As an adult, I learnt to mute myself. This was manifested in me sometimes being uncomfortable with expressing the non-standard aspects of my personality, as I worked on projecting a polished exterior. I was hamstringing some of my uniqueness. The inner me screamed for release, and often reminded me of those moments when I allowed myself to live from my authentic self.

I remembered that I was a Six-Year Old Daredevil!  I looked with fondness at my early life and that carefree girl who laughed often, took risks, loved herself, and shared her joy with others.

I remember at six years old waking up one morning and deciding that my goal for that day would be to jump out of a moving vehicle!
I wanted to recapture that freedom. To live each day in complete self-acceptance. To be an authentic leader.

Give me a  personal example of how you used your courage to drive one of your passion.

Keri: One recent example was last November for our church’s fifth annual turkey giveaway. This is a successful church-sponsored program, spearheaded by our singles ministry which I chair. The year before, we gave 150 turkeys to families in need, and challenged ourselves that in 2017, we were going to double that.

We then upped the challenge — our church is planning to do multiple sites,  I.e. be present in two locations — so we decided to double the number of turkeys in each location. Three hundred times two would equal 600 turkeys. Four times what we had ever provided. There were shocked faces, doubt, challenges, but we rallied together and thank God, we exceeded our  target and provided over 700 turkeys to families in need!

Do you have a formula for being courageous that could benefit others?

Keri: I can share two

One: Understanding the “Why”

A key step to authentic living is having clarity and purpose. Understanding the broader meaning of why we are here on this earth helps put day-to-day activities into perspective, and guides prioritising. Who am I? What is my identity tied to? Who or what defines my self-worth? What is my compelling vision? Am I living in alignment with my purpose? I take time to refocus on the life I want to live, evaluate my current motives and actions within that context, and identify the necessary adjustments. I also think about the many souls who would give anything to have one more day alive, and remember that life is a gift — one that I want to honour. It is more than just the rules and being busy. There is joy to be had, and there is also a responsibility to make the most of what has been entrusted to me.

Two: Remembering the Blessings, and Be a Blessing

Gratitude (and music) are great mood-changers. When I stop and think of all that I have been blessed with, it transforms my frame of mind. No matter how awful life gets, there is always a reason to give thanks. I can walk, talk, think, see, breathe, and smell. I can laugh, feel, hear, and cry. I'm alive. Thank you, God! Remembering to be thankful and acknowledge the spectrum of blessings granted to us, awakens an enhanced state of being. It creates a truly positive energy that is calming and freeing and reenergizes you to powerfully create from your authentic self.

 A key human need is to contribute to others. A quick and enjoyable path to your authentic self comes through giving. Encourage someone. Love your neighbour as you love yourself.


Keri will be in Kingston in person for the 2018 Exclusive Breakthrough Boot Camp And Mentoring Program: Guided Path to Realising the Next Level of Your Journey February 16 Spanish Court Hotel.

Full-details and online registration at:

Call: (876) 315-1345, 970-5662, 831-1387, 535-6677  email:

Trevor E S Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify Leadership Coach/Mentors and develop High Performing Teams. Hire Smart with their recruitment solutions. E-mail: