I'm sure a lot of you have heard the quote, or saying that you need to be authentic when it comes to your brand. And people are like, what does that even mean? I think we all know the word authentic means being real, being the true you.
When it comes to branding, or being online, I think that maybe we're not completely clear about what that means. So, let’s talk about it.
Being authentic means coming from a real place within, within you. It's when our actions, and our words are congruent with our beliefs and values. It's being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be.
Beliefs are the thoughts that you accept as true and you think are completely true all the time. It's something that you operate from every day. It’s like an autopilot belief, there is no doubt in your mind that this thing, this thought or belief is true. Your values are your principles or your standards of behavior, your judgement of what is important in life.
Authenticity is how you're showing up for your audience and why they are or aren’t going to be attracted to you. People can smell fake a mile away, and they don’t like it. If you are not being true to yourself they know it. This is why we want to be authentic, because our message is important. It's important to us and it's important to the people who need to see it. So we need to be real. It's okay to be scared. What matters is that you’re talking about what’s important to you and your audience. It's okay for it not to be perfect, because we're all human, and nobody’s perfect. And it's okay to be nervous when you're putting yourself out there. Because nervous is real.
When I went live for the first time, I was scared shitless, like so nervous. I don't even know how sound came from my mouth, because my throat felt like it closed like up and I was shaking like a leaf. I had sticky notes all over my monitors covering every single inch, because I didn't want to forget a damn thing. I knew what I was talking about, but I was so afraid that I was going to miss something that I just had sticky notes everywhere.
The moral of that story is, messy action is way more relatable than no action, because if you have no action, nobody can relate to you at all because there's nothing for them to relate to. So, authenticity really just equals relatable. People just have to know who you are. They want to understand who you are and what you do and why you do it.
So some common blocks that come up when people are ready to put themselves out there and say “okay I'm gonna get out there and I'm gonna go do my thing and I'm gonna be me and I'm going to be authentic and it's going to be so real” are:
Perfection - You don't have to be perfect to get yourself out there. As a matter of fact, if you come on camera or show up completely perfect then that's fake. It's fake and people are going to know that it's fake.
“I'm not selling me, I'm selling (insert what you sell here)” - You're never selling what you're actually selling, you're selling the transformation that your product or service is giving to your clients and your customers.
“I’ll feel stupid if I mess up” - That goes right back to perfection.
If people that are watching you either live, or your posts, believe that you need to be perfect to get yourself out there and show up then that’s okay, they are not your people. Your people are out there, and your people will find you.
“There's no way I'm putting myself out there to be judged” - Nobody likes to think that somebody's thinking something negative about them. I get it, but you are an entrepreneur with either a brand or a personal brand and people are going to judge you left and right, whether you want them to or not. You have to put that aside. You have to just say screw them, what you are providing to people is more important than what Joe Schmo thinks on the internet. These are probably people that you are never, ever going to actually meet in person, so why the hell would that person matter to you. If they're going to be negative, let them go be negative.I know that that's a hard one to digest, but it's true. So let's reframe: Repeat this...I am enough, just the way I am and judgement is only someone else’s decision.
Everyone makes mistakes and making mistakes is how we learn. If you don't make the mistake, you're not going to learn the lesson. You have to be okay with understanding that your vision and your mission, and your service and the transformation that you're giving to people is more important than what somebody else thinks. Period, end of story.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself.
Some of these are going to take some thought and some are going to be uncomfortable for you to ask yourself. On the other side of this, getting out of your comfort zone, there's growth. Pay attention to the energy that is happening inside when these blocks or fears come up.
And don't answer these questions, the way that you want to answer them, answer them honestly, in the way that you are feeling right then. Nobody has to see your answers, nobody ever has to know if you don't want them to know how you were feeling.
I was there, keep going, keep doing it, and you will you will feel it get easier, it will get easier. Eventually, you're not going to care what anybody else thinks about you coming on live and doing a video and getting your message to the world, because that's really what it's about. It's about you, coming out, giving your message to the people that need it. All of those fears and crap that you tell yourself about why you can't put yourself out there, you just have to look at the bigger picture of why you're doing what you're doing. What's your vision? What are you going to change? What impact are you going to have in the world? This is more important than the fears of you getting your message out.
As a recap, authenticity is coming from the real place within you. It's being yourself. It's when your actions and your words are congruent with your beliefs and your values. It's just you being you. Being you will attract the people that are meant to come to you.
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