Too many reasons for not showing up authentically… And one good reason to do it all the same!

Being authentic is not a one-off thing. Authenticity takes consistency and courage.

Authenticity /ˌɔː.θenˈtɪs.ə.ti/ is the quality of being real or true. And according to Merriam Webster, authentic is “to be true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character”.

Authenticity has been a buzzword for the last few years despite it being less tangible than other nouns.

You might have been given the advice to be more authentic or show up more authentically to connect and resonate with the right people.

That is good advice, but how do you do it?

If I ask you to be more professional or more cheerful, you would know what to do.

But what exactly do you do to show up more authentically? What is it that shows people that you are true to your own personality, spirit, or character? Where’s the proof for that?

When you are more professional, you show up on time, focus on the task at hand, produce quality, pay attention, deliver results, or remain unbiased...

When you are more cheerful, you encourage others more, smile more, share positive ideas, see the positive in what you encounter every day, you see opportunities instead of challenges…

Through your actions, you are creating proof of your behaviour. You can see immediate outcomes from the actions you are taking to be more professional or cheerful.

It is much harder to be authentic and to be perceived as an authentic person

When you are more cheerful, people can see at that moment, that you are smiling more or that you are sharing an uplifting story.

Being authentic is not based on a single action. To be perceived as authentic, you need to consistently perform actions that, with time, prove to people that you are consistently acting from your innermost and most authentic self. That you are showing your unfiltered natural behaviours and that you are speaking or writing without filtering or censoring your words.

Authenticity is not situational. Authenticity requires consistency over a long period of time. And it’s not so much about telling people that you are authentic but showing them your authentic self.

And that can be very scary!

Being authentic requires courage and consistency

Now that we know that being perceived as being authentic is the result of many actions that you consistently perform over a long period of time…

You want to know what these actions are that you need to perform.

Before we do that, however, I’d like to point out three things that make it harder for us to show up authentically:

  • Lack of clarity
  • Mindset issues
  • Not knowing how to get started

Do you know who you authentically are?

That is a tough question because often we are playing multiple roles, slipping into different personalities according to our circumstances.

If you are working in an organisation that has a certain culture, you usually have to suppress part of your authentic self. You are playing a role every day until it becomes part of you.

You are joining a community with existing values, beliefs, processes, behaviour guidelines…

And these might not always be congruent with who you are. Often you feel that you are not aligned but cannot quite pin it down. Sometimes, you may be asked to do something that you don’t agree with. Other times you doubt a decision that you had to make or talk in a way that you normally wouldn’t talk.

These are all signals that you are facing situations where you are not congruent with who you authentically are.

This is your “personal compass” alerting you that your actions are not aligned with your beliefs.

Situations like that are not always nice to experience, but they are wonderful opportunities to question yourself and find out what exactly it was that made you uneasy or feel out of whack.

When I work with clients, I like to understand who they authentically are (as much as they do!) and we work through a set of questions that lead us to their authentic identity.

Part of that is also to define and explain personal values, your purpose and what drives you, what you stand for or against, what you believe to be true about yourself, others and the world, what change you’d like to see in the world, the change that you’d like to bring about, your vision, whom you are doing this for...

If you would like to read a bit more about “whom we are doing things for”, where we find necessity and the urgency to act as our true selves, then click on the image:

I can’t stress it enough – but it is super important to have clarity on your vision, mission, values, and purpose. That is something that you feed into your personal brand and that guides every interaction with your clients and every action that you take to win clients.

Your authentic self informs your marketing. And it is the consistency and duration with which you share your authentic self, that your audience starts seeing you as who you truly are - and with time, that builds trust in you.

Once you know who you are, you also know which stories to share, what topics to talk about, and what kind of brand you want to build.

And although you probably have a burning desire to show up authentically, there often is an almost insurmountable obstacle…

Your mind can get in the way of being authentic

As I said earlier – being authentic takes courage.

Most people have a fear of being judged. That other people find them stupid, lacking, annoying, self-righteous, superior, overly clever… There is an endless number of negative adjectives that could be listed here.

They are doubting themselves, and are scared that no one will care about their opinion, that others are a lot better, that they are too weird…

Some people are incredibly private people who don’t like to share anything about themselves, even if it is just their thoughts. And they feel overwhelmed before they even get started because they know that they need to share their authentic self consistently and over a long period of time.

They are hiding behind excuses and are much more comfortable sharing the same things that everybody else is talking about.

When you are sharing your authentic self – you are exposing yourself. There is no way around it. But it also gives you the opportunity to stand out and be visible, heard, and with time, also loved and appreciated by the right people!

Now, before you stop reading and think “Woah, I’m not going to plaster my private stuff all over social media!” – let me assure you that you don’t need to.

You should only share things that are relevant to your business. Brendon Burchard, a multi-million $ entrepreneur who is known for high-performance coaching, only shares a handful of stories again and again.

These stories are the foundation of his whole brand, and they show what he stands for.

You can do the same – pick a few stories that are relevant for your audience and what you do. Share these stories repeatedly because there is always someone new who’s hearing your story for the first time, and anyway, we need to hear things a number of times before the information really sinks in.

So, your hesitance to share something personal is quite unfounded – and – if you are honest with yourself – you could be hiding behind excuses.

All I can advise you to do is to find out what is relevant and what your audience needs to hear from you to create and maintain a connection with you.

And believe me – you too have some awesome stories to tell that will draw the right people in!

If you are thinking now – “yes, right, but how do I get started and find the stories that I need to share?” – then you are not alone…

How do I start being authentic?

That is a question that prevents many people from sharing their authentic selves. They simply don’t know where to start.

They don’t know what it takes to be authentic.

And so they are too overwhelmed with the whole “authenticity” thing, believe it is a trend and forget about it.

They believe that with time authenticity will come. Which is correct, to a certain extent.

But the bigger obstacle that prevents many entrepreneurs from showing up authentically is that they haven’t laid the right foundations.

It is important that you know yourself and also know how you are different. You need to know what drives you, what your values are, what you believe in, whom you’re doing everything for.

You need to know what you have to offer and how your offer is different, why you believe that people need your offer, and why they should work with you to solve their problems.

It’s really helpful to do an intense self-survey that looks at everything that makes you YOU - and you should review all the experiences you’ve had to extract the stories that matter to your audience.

And don’t tell me that you have no interesting stories to tell – because you do! Everyone who said that and whom I worked with, discovered stories that their audience absolutely needs to hear.

But being authentic is not only about telling stories.

Above I listed a few other things that you need to investigate. If you haven’t done so already, write down your personal and your business purpose, capture your values and explain why they are important to you, think about what your audience needs to believe and what mind shift they have to make before they start working with you…

Get started there and you will see that the more you share, the easier it gets to share more. And that where this information came from, is a lot more information that you will feel compelled to share.

And to finish off with the best reason that should compel you to start being authentic – be authentic for those who inspire and need you. For those you wish to lead a better, happier, and more exciting life!

If you still feel that you like some support with getting started, then drop me a message and we can talk about how I can help you to share authentic messages that your audience really wants to hear!

Categories: : #consistency, Authenticity, Marketing, Messaging

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