Everyone wants to be fully and completely themselves. At the same time, we crave belonging, approval, social media likes, followers, and attracting more customers and opportunities. Given how social influencers can manipulate their reality, and how marketers can misrepresent brands, many people think branding needs to present an exaggerated, or outright false, image in order to work.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The best brands – the most attractive brands today – have gotten where they are by being authentic and unique.
Still, a common fear persists:
What if my authentic self and brand is rejected?
Suppose the real me repels the people I want to like, engage with and support me?
That idea can be so intimidating that many of us shrink from being entirely ourselves in our careers or businesses. Instead, we imitate others, and put a false image of ourselves on display. We design a website, social media presence, buy a wardrobe, style our hair, purchase likes, partner with others to feel bigger or more influential, and sign up for endless certifications and credentials to validate our worth we really don’t feel inside.
The irony is that not being our authentic self makes us less appealing to exactly the people we want and need as partners, customers, and supporters. It makes us less visible and less compelling as an option. Lack of authenticity kills a brand eventually, and keeps you playing small.
Still not convinced? Well, here are six things authenticity gives you, your career and your business; building your brand and your leadership simultaneously:
Being authentic means, you stay true to yourself. Why? Because you know who you are, your values, what you stand for and what you will not stand for. Those are the things you will not compromise. You will naturally spend less time comparing yourself to competitors and others, as well as polling your circle for their opinions.
By extension, you remain true to your goals as well. When clients, a boss, or anyone else invites (or demands!) you to take on a project or role that does not fit your strategic priorities and goals, you are able to say kindly and firmly: No. This is not something I can undertake right now.
Authenticity makes it easier to choose your next steps, as everything you do will reflect your values and where you want to go.
Authenticity Protects You from Less Than Favorable Influences
If you’re authentic, people who aren’t as open or truthful in their own work will tend to shy away from you. Even when they don’t, your inherent honesty is going to make it easier for you to spot people who either aren’t as authentic as you are, or have a different focus, and therefore aren’t a good match for yours.
Keep in mind, someone might be doing great things and be a great match—just not for you! This is not about having disdain for other people and their approach. It is about recognizing what fits well with yours.
People Want to Be Around You
We speak of leadership charisma, and brand appeal. That’s because when you’re authentic, people know they can trust you; they want to be around you—even if they don’t consciously know why.
Looking for people to work with on a project? You’ll have plenty of volunteers. Even in networking situations, you’re going to find yourself the center of attention more often. You’ll make better connections with people who are interested in helping you on the road to success.
You’re Quick to Learn New Things
Being authentic means you’re not going to waste time lying to yourself. If you’re stuck or don’t know what to do next, you’re more likely to look for solutions and find them, leading to more successful outcomes.
You also have greater confidence in your own resiliency. If you take a risk, but it doesn’t turn out well, then you know you can reframe and refocus, knowing what not to do next time.
Authenticity Means No Regrets
How many times has your intuition tried to tell you something was wrong, or that you were heading off on a tangent? Authentic people tend to pay more attention to these inner nudges.
Paying attention to your intuition will stand you in good stead because, more often than not, your intuition is right. The more you practice listening for it, and then acting on it when you do notice its guidance, the better you will be able to tap it on demand when you really need it.
When it comes to making other decisions, authenticity will guide you to do what you really want to do, over what you ‘should’ do. Listen to your intuition, and you’ll find you have fewer regrets and more achievements.
You’re Seen as Having Integrity
Reputation matters. It is perhaps the most significant help in achieving success. If people see you as being ‘real,’ they’re going to support you in whatever you do. Successful leadership and successful branding comes naturally follows.
If you are ready to dig in and discover your authentic leadership brand, then let's have a complimentary strategy call. Book yours here.