Authenticity is a shitty word
The concept is killer. But the word itself is overused, played out. So many coaches and consultants claim they can help you find your authentic self, when – really – YOU are the only person in the world who can truly tell anyone who you are on a cellular and soul level.
Here’s how: Stop withholding who you are from the world.
Easier said than done, I know.
We have a primal fear of rejection. Which means your mind will always try to find a way to withhold who you are. We reject ourselves – so nobody else can reject you.
The best coaches help you become more of yourself by asking the right questions, poking under the surface, exposing the thing you’re sure you can’t show off. They help you leverage your essence, which magically makes you a magnet for who you’re meant to serve.
When you’re finally free, when you understand how to leverage your business by being ALL of you, your clients come to you in droves.
This is what I unknowingly embodied from day one as a business consultant.
I wish I could tell you that it was a strategic choice – some marketing mojo – to be vulnerable, to say exactly what I thought, to stop apologizing.
But the truth? It was a byproduct of having suppressed myself for 40 years. I simply could no longer do it. I was anxious, depressed, in a crappy relationship. I had no idea what would even make me happy.
By hiding some parts of me, I had diluted all of me. The consequence was I served NO ONE. Not my family, friends, spouse, children or clients.
When I stopped, life became fabulous. Relationships of every kind flourished. I made multiple 7 figures because I was “brave” enough to be myself.
I ended up accidentally leading a revolution – a virtual army of women who crave the same thing.
You can do the same thing. And it’s waaaaaaay easier than you think.
It begins by simply deciding you are enough.
The permission you give yourself trickles out to every area of your life. It expands inside you, then your audience, and warms you all from the inside.
This is when you truly LEAD by example (and by definition).
How do you get clients with ease? Be yourself.
How do you make money as a coach? Be yourself.
Coaches and consultants have the guidance and suggestions. But if they begin to tell you who you should be,–then it’s not exactly authenticity anymore, is it? It turns authenticity into imitation.
I’ve worked with plenty of coaches who offer soul-searching services in hopes of getting people reconnected with their inner-workings. And they’re great, generous and gifted people.
But this is the theory that makes my eyeball twitch: Paying someone to find who you truly are? If you’re brave and honest enough, you can tell us.
This trend in reinvention or resuscitation (however you look at it) only confirms what some of us already know: We don’t recognize how to be ourselves anymore.
Maybe that’s because technological advances and societal trends allow us to be anyone we want and encourage us to be better versions of ourselves, whatever that means. Maybe it’s because your mother wanted you to go to med school and all you wanted to do was write creative non-fiction.
We live in a world that asks us to be skinnier (but not too skinny), smarter (but not arrogant), more politically engaged and emotionally resilient (but not dramatic). We’re told we should eat better and spend more time away from work (but need to earn more to keep up with cost of living).
Don’t even get me started on the crap people say about entrepreneurial women. (Oh, you “work” from home?)
So we try to push forward and do what feels right, only to be reminded our feelings and intuition shouldn’t be the only determining factor in our decisions. We try to prove people wrong by taking different routes and making uncomfortable decisions.
“Make sure you stay logical,” says those among us called practical.
Yet we’re flailing just to be seen, to avoid becoming an invisible illness festering below the surface.
And there you have it. The same battle you had from day one – determining when being yourself is good enough.
Honestly, I’m not sure why using our hearts and heads must be mutually exclusive, but that’s the bum rap our souls and brains are getting. Far too many of us are told our emotions are weaknesses. Because somewhere along the line we decided to listen to our gut and – goddammit – we felt something for the first time.
Think about it. Isn’t that why men have a difficult time tapping into their own feelings? Isn’t that why women are called crazy or bitches or erratic?
It’s All. Too. Much.
It’s not my place to tell you who are you. I’m not a therapist. And before we get any further in, let me come right out and say I’m only an expert in my own experience. It’s truly up to you to decide if you’re willing to explore how my thoughts and experiences have led both of us here.
Choice is a given right for each of us, so if you choose to continue reading, then I welcome you. What I can tell you is this: I’ve watched talented, passionate people fail in business because they fear being themselves (for the reasons I’ve already listed and others I’ll dig into in later). I’ve watched others give up on their dream jobs because they don’t want to be seen.
And this is more common for women, unfortunately, because of societal pressures to be friendly, submissive, or likable.
It’s so gross. And we play into it without even realizing it’s a problem.
Our lives and businesses change every day while we constantly ask ourselves if our contributions are meaningful. Somehow, the idea that if we’re not doing public, massive things, an ordinary life doing work we love, surrounded by people we love, is still not enough.
We’re fed an endless stream of social media posts, often presenting us with information we never need to know about each other (hello, blow out diapers and bathroom selfies). Yet we feel inadequate if we aren’t getting likes for our kid’s shit.
Because, in our beliefs of deficiency (of never being good enough), we’re irrelevant.
Obviously, you don’t think I’m irrelevant if you’re reading this.
You believe – in some small way –the information provided can help you reach whatever goal you have. And you’re right to believe the content is applicable to getting you where you want to be, if you show up and do the work.
Seriously though? I’m not special.
Yes, I earn good money and get many, many Facebook likes (LOL) working for myself, but I’m not even close to special. I’m just a woman who found a job she loves – through years of searching and struggling – and hopes to help people get where they want to be faster than I did.
My advice has helped ignite some of the biggest and best names in the entrepreneurial world, but I’ve also had clients who decide entrepreneurship isn’t what they want themselves (so you’ll never hear their names in terms of this type of business).
Sometimes I’m up until midnight, working my ass off and watching wrinkles crop up on my forehead. I’m wearing sweatpants and smoking cigarettes, the same unhealthy but totally normal behaviors many men and women across the globe are partaking in, while money hits my bank account. The picture I just painted for you is vastly different than the image some people have of me, but it is my reality.
Some people expect me to be busy, with a life they’ve only dreamed about having, but in opposite ways of my reality. My life just isn’t that glamorous. Fortunately, I’m damn comfortable with myself and my sweatpants-wearing, profanity-laden conversations with the crème de la crème of online business. And I embrace what others might consider flaws (my fucking foul mouth) while knowing it might turn off a person or two.
Because those things some people hold against me?
Are the things that draw others into me.
Which brings me back to where I started: Be brave enough to be your fucking self.
That’s how you create a life you love.