by Karissa Thacker

When was the last time you had a conversation that stayed with you and really made a difference in how you perceived the world? Thirty minutes into our Authentic Leadership webinar with Dr. Brian Little, acclaimed scholar in the field of motivational psychology, he told us that authenticity is essentially about fidelity—about fidelity to your nature.

I have been contemplating authenticity as fidelity for well over a month now. My mind has been going wild with the possibilities. What are the costs of “cheating on yourself”? What does it look like to be faithful to our nature? (For some background on our various human natures, check out Brian’s latest book, Me, Myself, and Us.)

The “authenticity as fidelity” idea is typical of the depth of insight we have experienced over the last several months, during every single conversation in the Authentic Leadership webinar series. We have, in the words of Margaret Wheatley, had “conversations that matter.” I have been moved both intellectually and emotionally by each of our guests.

Robert E. Quinn, co-director of the Center for Positive Organizations, talked about the role of love in the workplace. Yes, you heard me right: The character strength and the practice of love do belong in the workplace. Love is a powerful force. Why should we act as if it doesn’t exist at the office?

Sarah Durham, founder of Big Duck, challenged us to think about our responsibilities and practices for keeping our work in the world fresh. Staying in touch with our purpose and keeping up with how we’re changing on the inside is a discipline—one that, at times, requires thoughtful, well-planned time-outs from your day-to-day routine.

Bo Jackson embodied gratitude. If you’re skeptical about the power of gratitude in action, check out the recording of our conversation with Bo. His unique blend of humility, greatness, and humanity is unforgettable. The world’s greatest athlete is a remarkable human being.

Edi Pasalis, director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living, invited us behind the curtain to understand the very human aspects that go into making Kripalu a haven for spiritual seekers from all over the world. We had a rich discussion about phases of practice and how things shift over time for us all.

Sharon Salzberg, renowned meditation teacher and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, will be our guest. When I joined Sharon’s Real Happiness Meditation Challenge in February, she was my meditation teacher via mp3. Just this very day, deep in the recesses of my mind, I heard Sharon say in her authoritative but kind tone, “It is just one breath.” Earlier this week, in my own mind, she reminded me that my moment of distraction and general overwhelm was a magic moment. I could choose again to practice without beating myself up for not practicing.


Karissa Thacker is a management psychologist who has served as a consultant for 200 Fortune 500 companies, including UPS, Best Buy, and AT&T. Her specialty is executive coaching, with a focus on increased performance combined with increased individual satisfaction at work. Karissa is the founder and president of Strategic Performance Solutions, Inc., a management consulting firm creating innovative solutions in the space of human performance and satisfaction at work. She serves as adjunct faculty for the Lerner School of Business at the University of Delaware.