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#TheStruggle of Authenticity

#TheStruggle of Authenticity

Author Iman Naim by

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We’ve all been there—struggling to make sense of ourselves and of our own individual journeys. It’s the struggle that never really ends, #TheStruggle, if you will.

Enter Henna Inam, an executive coach working with companies who recognize the benefits of expanding their female talent. She works directly with women to help them become leaders in their own workspaces and brings experience in marketing, finance, sales, and management into her work.

After feeling unfulfilled at a career high, Inam took a more in-depth look at the myths, practices and tools of authenticity, what she defines as, “the creative intelligence within each of us when we are calm and centered.” In her finished book, Inam weighs in on #TheStruggle, what it means to be authentic to one’s self and the benefit that authenticity plays in one’s work.

Read for yourself by grabbing a copy of her book, but first—check out our Q&A with Henna Inam:

Q: What experiences motivated you to write Wired for Authenticity?

Wired for Authenticity was motivated by both my personal experiences as a corporate leader as well as those of my executive coaching clients. As I describe in the book, at one point in my career, ironically at a career high, I started to wonder why career achievement wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be. It started a journey in search of authenticity – of finding out who I really was (vs. who I thought I was supposed to be) and what kind of work would be fulfilling for me.

Q: What was the most challenging part of writing your book?

I cannot say that there were any challenges in the writing process at all. Once I had clarity on the topic and found my inspiration around it, it seemed to flow very smoothly. I kept having coaching client conversations that happened just in time as chapters of the book were unfolding. That said, since I am not a very detail-oriented person and get bored easily, I did find the editing, grammar, and proof-reading process rather cumbersome (don’t tell my 8th grade English teacher I said that!)

Q: What benefit do you hope readers - particularly Muslim readers - will get out of your book?

My goal in writing the book is so that each and every one of us as leaders truly understand how powerful we really are when we tap into our authentic selves rather than sticking with some rigid definition of who we “should” be based on society’s expectations or labels. I define the “authentic self” as the creative intelligence within each of us when we are calm and centered. This intelligence allows us to be connected, adaptable and work for the greatest good in the moment. As leaders today, we need to be highly adaptive to change and to learn how to create from all the change happening around us.

As American Muslims, we are often confronted with competing cultural norms. We have an American identity. We have a Muslim identity. Each calls for different expectations of us. Who is the “real” me? How do the different parts of our identity peacefully co-exist within us? As we make decisions in our lives, which part of us steps forth to take the lead?

I believe that below our identity labels and expectations is a far more fluid, wise, and adaptable spirit we all possess. My book takes readers through seven practices of accessing who we really are and making decisions not from our rigid identities but from our authentic selves.

Q: What hurdles have you faced as a minority Muslim woman in your leadership path?

I’m sure that there has been some unconscious bias that I’ve faced as a minority. Often in my corporate roles, I was the only woman and certainly the only woman of color in the room. However, and perhaps in hindsight to my benefit, I have tended to not dwell on external hurdles. I have tended to focus on my goals, on what needed to get done, and get on with getting it done. In my executive coaching work, I tend to also refocus people on the internal hurdles (often attitudes or beliefs or behaviors they can control) rather than external hurdles. I am a firm believer that our greatest power lies within us.

Q: If you were asked for leadership advice in an elevator, what advice would you give in 30 seconds?

“You have all the power within you to reach your goals and make your impact. Connect with that power within. Be courageous enough to be yourself. Express your gifts. Our world needs your leadership”.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work and writing?

I really love my work and feel it is a calling for me. I love helping leaders find their authentic power, adapt to and create from the changes happening around them. I feel blessed to do that through executive coaching, speaking, team workshops and writing.

Outside of this I love to travel around the world, be among the trees in nature, and play junior philosopher in conversations with good friends.  I also am a Zumba addict and try to take classes several times a week.

I invite anyone reading this to connect with me on Linked In and let me know how I can be a resource to you,. Follow my blog ( There are also lots of complimentary resources in the link here that you can take advantage of to grow in your own career and leadership. I also love to speak to groups and teams about leadership so would love speaking referrals.

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