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Interview with Andreas Dudas, Author of Do You Dare To Be Yourself?

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Andreas Dudas is a business leader with over twenty years experience in management and top executive positions. He has written the book, Do You Dare To Be Yourself?, a book on authentic leadership.

You can find him online at website.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Switzerland to immigrant parents who spent more than 10 years in a forced labor camp. Given this background I was constantly ridiculed by the citizens of my home town, bullied by my fellow students, excluded from any social and sports activities and dismissed from school. Against all odds I started to develop both a thick skin for fighting my way towards a life I really deserved and a big heart respecting others despite their harsh behavior.

What inspired you to write it?

Many things during my life inspired this book. However, one of the key experiences which led to the creation of the polar bear as a metaphor and symbol for developing a thick skin against the criticism you often face when starting your journey to your true self was the following:

Shortly after taking my MBA in 1999, I came back from Norway and started a job as a consultant with a renowned management consulting company. During a first assignment with a large blue-chip company I was involved in a heavy cost-cutting program and was even appointed as a leader of a small team. To be frank, at this point in time I had never been working as a consultant and I had no clue on how to run such a program. However, I had to make do with what I had learned so far. The next day I had to give a workshop to 20 experienced controllers and to explain bookkeeping procedures, which I had never done before. So, I had a really hard time and a bad case of stage fright. In spite of this, the workshop in the morning went off without a hitch. The unpleasantness began in the afternoon when I had to teach corporate finance to my audience. I really struggled to add any real value to the people. When I finished my short lecture the group looked at me for a full minute in perplexed silence and then the chief controller exploded: “You management consultants are all alike. First, you come to our company without anyone asking. Only our CEO wants you here. Then we spend half a day explaining to you how our business is run, and when all is said and done you show us something you don’t even know how to do it yourself.”

After hearing this I was completely devastated and immediately left the room. Outside, I met one of my more experienced colleagues and told him my experience. His reply was simple and straight: “If you want to survive as a consultant you have to compromise yourself, follow your orders and develop a thick skin like a polar bear.” I personally never agreed on this, but from that day I started to use the polar bear as a symbol for being strong and resistant against any criticism. More about this experience can be read in chapter 25 of my book.

What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this book?

My sincere wish is that people get both encouraged and empowered to gain real power in life and leadership by simply “being authentic,” which in turn is the golden prerequisite for living a peaceful and completely fulfilled life. The book shall move the hearts of people so that they say: “Wow, now it is high time that I moved out of my comfort zone so as to live the life I really deserved: a life completely connected to my soul’s real purpose.” Do You Dare to Be Yourself? has been the ultimate wake-up call for many readers who started a new career and more fulfilled life.

About Cheryl C. Malandrinos