Unlike most conferences, the BIF Summit has no theme beyond presenting remarkable stories of transformation.

Why? The BIF organizers know that the participants themselves will discover patterns, aha’s, and insights that make sense for them.

I work for BIF, but like everybody else at the Summit, I have to — and always do — discover my own insights each time. In this series I’ll share my top insights from BIF2016, including BIF2016 storyteller videos. You can explore the entire set of BIF2016 videos here.

Insight: Be who you are.

I’ve already written about the insight, 'Reinvent Yourself First’. The basis of reinvention is to start with who you are and build from there. “Be who you are” includes embracing your entire being  —  your flaws, your strengths, your history, your aspirations.

These stories spoke to me on this theme (in no particular order).

Use The Bad As Well As The Good

Coss Marte told the powerful story of created his own “second chance”, built on insights and experience gained during his career as founder and CEO of a large, drug-dealing business and during a stint in prison.

Be The Best At Who You Are

In Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, Fast Company co-founder Bill Taylor wrote about long-established companies that are able to rethink and renew their industries in unexpected ways. In this BIF2016 talk he asked, how are these ordinary people creating the kind of transformation we associate with famous Silicon Valley leaders? His answer: Through constantly reimagining how they can be extraordinary, how they can be the best they are at what they are.

The World Needs To Hear Your Song

Darden Smith’s 30-year career as a singer-songwriter has given him insights on the place of artists in society and the place and purpose that creating art has in all of our lives. Creating our own art helps us know who we are, make sense of our experiences, and share them, he said. “When companies and business people know who they are, they’re more successful, because they’re not pretending,” Smith said in his BIF2016 talk. And even more  —  “someone out there needs to hear our songs, and sharing who we are through our creativity leaves the world a better place.”

Other stories in this series:

Reinvent Yourself First

Order Doesn't Require Control

Honor Your Own Journey


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