This is part 11 in a series on why we are so afraid to be ourselves. And how that fear keeps us broke and invisible.
Previous installments can be read via the links below.
If you look around the internet, especially social media, you’ll notice the posts that are shared most, get the most likes and create the most thought-provoking conversations are the ones where the writer reveals their heart and purpose.
People flock to these, seeking deep connections and the understanding that comes with being heard and understood as themselves.
When you’re starting out (or upping your social media game) one of the gems of this work – free advertising – is when people share what you’ve put out there. First, because you know you’re resonating with someone. They’re sending you hell yeah “I get it” encouragement, while also furthering your reach.
But the people who are sharing don’t give a damn about how much you’re selling. They like and share because they feel seen. Someone understands. Making it even more genuine.
This is not to imply consumers are stupid. Hell-to-the-no. It’s the exact opposite, in fact.
Simply put: The more time we spend online, the more we crave something real.
We consume obscene amounts of information and our BS filters are pretty fucking phenomenal. So we know when you’re lying (or stretching the truth) and we know – based on all of the information we’ve gathered from all of your posts – how much we trust you before you offer us something that seems intriguing.
People want to buy a product or service from you knowing it’s going to give them an experience. That experience is worth purchasing, because it is real. And the more you can provide experience, the more people will buy into it and – in the long run – you.
This is not about convincing them you are worthy of their earnings. It’s about showing them you’re worthy of their trust.
Trust me on that.
If you’re in business for yourself and attempt to trick people into buying whatever you’re putting out, you’re going to go bankrupt. This can happen for a couple of reasons:
- Others who work inside any zone of genius will be able to sniff out and shred up a scam. Not only has the consumer raised their standards. Other creators hustling their asses off aren’t going to let some mediocre or down-right bullshit offering stand if it means the reputation of the content area as a whole is going to be scrutinized.
- Just as you use social media to promote your passion-project, consumers use it to share their own experiences. If you offer something you can’t deliver, they’re going to tell someone about it. When enough someones come along, you’ve got a crowd of people dissecting your claim and showing why it’s a total farce.
The bottom line is clear and critical: Do not make the disastrous mistake of giving anyone – consumers or other entrepreneurs – less credit than they deserve by trying to doop them into anything. They’re just as smart as you, just as hungry, and just as willing to be transparent when shit stinks.
But they’re also willing to talk about the smell-good stuff that lights up their soul. So you have a choice to make.
You can either try to use the buzz words and piggyback off of other promotions that seemed to accrue fat dollar amounts, or you can be yourself, know your worth, and uncompromisingly create a business (and life) that allows you to feel good about the product you’re putting out and the publicity surrounding it.
Realism works for a few really good reasons:
- It instantly elevates you above the slum-lords and sleazy competition.
- You and your business become relatable and people will understand what you have to offer and how it benefits them.
- Your online identity is a dead ringer for the image and influence you put out in real life, too, so you’re trustworthy.
And last, but certainly not least, it turns your online audience into a group of people who want to advocate or campaign or become your business backbone, forming an alliance.
Think about it, by being yourself you’re attracting a slew of other like-minded individuals who feel validated by your words and speak on your behalf. Not only does this draw into you clients who know and love your vibe, but it shows you that you can make it in business without having to become someone you’re not.
In fact, you’re more successful when you show off your own version of sass. You’ve given yourself and others the opportunity to speak out about struggles and experiences, and you’ve liberated all from hiding behind the bad, because they are no longer ashamed.
This is a lifestyle. A choice to be vulnerable, real, and experience love in what you do.
That means being true to yourself and your work by consistently sharing passion and purpose with ease, while also listening to your clients and paying attention to the changes in your industry.
For me, there is no other way.
Yes, I acknowledge and respect the argument that forcing yourself into a certain image or only claiming authenticity for the sake of selling is actually the opposite of being genuine. This is why I think it’s so important to truly figure out who the hell you are before you start putting out offers.
When you come at this from a place of love and acceptance (of yourself), you are not in fact being manipulative at all. Everything we buy in life is because we believe it’s a commodity we need.
We write a sales page and offer an opinion through marketing, and it resonates with you so you buy. You have complete and total choice.
If, however, I was being fake and promised outcomes I didn’t believe I delivered, we’d be having a different conversation.
But is there a good way to tell the difference?
I think there is.
If you take action because everyone else is doing it, you’re playing into fake-ness.
Crowdsourcing final decisions is as ineffective as anything at actually becoming who you truly are. First, it’s a sign that you don’t truly trust yourself to make a choice on your own. Finding a resource the bulk of entrepreneurs use and go for it before looking into the benefits it will provide you personally, or deciding to go along with a political vote because everyone in your state leans that way – those decisions are not actually your own.
That doesn’t mean you won’t make choices that coincide with the popular choice sometimes. But it does mean you’re not doing the research to determine the benefit for you, specifically. That’s the key.
True leaders look past the momentum and commit to having conversations within themselves before making a decision.
If you refuse to forgive, you’re being a phony.
Being human means we all make mistakes, and it’s important to acknowledge and accept when someone else has done so. It’s easy to write someone off and refuse forgiveness, but it’s also incredibly damaging. This does not mean you forgive someone and allow them back into your life to make the same mistakes, but it does mean you buck up and get over it in the best way you can.
Getting stuck without doing this work means you run the risk of feeling the failure or disappointment over and over again. Instead, it’s time to grieve the loss or hurt you feel, forgive yourself for participating in the situation, and move forward with a better option. Eventually, a solution.
If you’re not good at forgiving, it’s time to start working on being more graceful in this regard. Which also means you realize you aren’t perfect (as we’ve discussed).
Never, ever neglect yourself.
Self-care is another trendy phrase for a reason, but it’s one that is absolutely vital when trying to be authentic. If you do not take care of yourself, you’re obviously not going to be able to be the best version of you (and that’s unfortunate).
Your personal health is the most important piece of life, the foundation to whatever you want in your future. Invest in yourself, your physical, mental and emotional health, and re-prioritize your time if you aren’t doing this already. There’s no excuse for treating yourself like crap.
Don’t flake on commitments.
If you continuously say yes to everything people ask you to do, you’re likely going to wear down. But many people cannot seem to say no without feeling guilty for honoring themselves and putting themselves first. They think it’s selfish.
However, if you always say yes to others without giving yourself what you need, you’re not going to be able to keep the agreements you’ve made and/or you’ll grow resentful of them.
- Don’t make agreements without considering the impact they have on you.
- Write down what you agree to so you don’t accidentally miss an important meeting.
- Tell people when you have to cancel. Nobody likes being stood up (and that’s not a great way to keep friends, clients or business connections).
Also along these lines, please practice whatever it is you keep telling everyone else to do. If you preach a message but people notice you’re not doing whatever that message entails, they:
1) aren’t going to do it either and
2) aren’t going to respect your belief.
They’ll call you fake, wishy-washy, or they’ll say they can’t trust you. If they can’t trust what you’re saying, they won’t look deep enough to see your heart. It’s really that simple.
And Now A List Of The Opposite Things You SHOULD Be Doing:
- Forgive yourself and others
- Do what you want, not what others want you to do
- You ARE your word (and keep it)
- Practice self-care
- Accept imperfection as a way of life (and let go of the fear of failure)
- Consistently live a lifestyle that allows you to respond in these ways, instead of from fear
By spending more time thinking about what you said and did that was right, you’re going to be kinder to yourself, giving off a higher vibration and attracting the same back to yourself.
Shit, we all deserve a pat on the back sometimes. Why can’t we give it to ourselves?
Now’s the time to try.
From here, I’ll break down a lot of these ideas in more detail.
We’ll talk about other buzz-worthy phrases like self-worth and self-care.
You’re going to need to hang on tight because some of what I’m asking you to evaluate will be uncomfortable, but understand I believe it’s absolutely vital work in figuring out how to show up in the universe as the person you’re intended to be.
Doing this means you’ll be rewarded for the effort and you’ll feel proud to walk around in your own skin (whether you’re clothed or not).
Hard work? Yes.
Worth it? A-fucking-men.