Conversations about authenticity are all the rage these days. And, if you are like me, you’re sometimes left wondering exactly what that means and how you can bring more of it to your business and still make the sale.
First, let’s define authenticity. Merriam-Webster defines “authentic” as “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” So, if we apply this definition to business, it means infusing your own personality, spirit, and character into everything you do. It means understanding and embracing your values, strengths, vision, mission, and goals, and intentionally aligning your business decisions accordingly. This all sounds good, but it definitely can be tricky in a world that often provides conflicting messages.
One of the reasons so many entrepreneurs struggle with authenticity is that there are so many voices out there telling them to NOT be authentic. The business model today is often focused on selling people blueprints and templates for success, happiness, and health. Authenticity takes courage and vulnerability, so instead we often reach for the easy answer to success and happiness.
Drink this product to be happier!
Follow this plan to build your business!
Take this course to make more money!
Follow these 3 steps to live the life of your dreams!
Despite our deep desires for authenticity, we often choose to follow the strategies of other people because we see that person’s “success” as an indication that what they are doing is “right”. And, if it’s “right” then it will likely be approved of by others. And boy do we want to be approved of by others! That is human nature. The problem with this approach, however, is that the methods and techniques that worked for one person may not work for someone else. And, more importantly, what feels right for one person, will rarely feel right for another.
Ask yourself this question. Do you really think a business that is built on someone else’s visions and methodologies is going to make you happy? The entire reason you became an entrepreneur is because you were tired of doing things someone else’s way! You have a unique vision for your skills and talents, so why are you now trying to mold your vision into someone else’s box?
But, that still leaves us with the question of how to be more authentic in your business. What I’m NOT going to do is offer you a blueprint for creating an authentic business. And, if I did, I’d suggest you immediately throw it in the trash and create your own! What I will do is share with you some of my own practices for being more authentic in my business. I’m not suggesting you adopt any of these for yourself, but instead, let them inspire you to create your own list of practices that will keep you on your right path.
1. I’ve stopped subscribing to so many newsletters and blogs. All of this noise in my inbox was creating stress and confusion for me. I don’t need to start my day with an inbox full of people telling me what is important, how I should run my business, or how I should measure success and happiness. Instead, I choose to follow a handful of people that truly inspire me to be my most authentic and creative self. I choose people who are walking the walk and talking the talk of authenticity and who would never tell me that the “right way” is their way.
2. I know my life and business values, and I revisit them regularly. I can recite my top six values by heart, and I take time to think about them every time I make a business or life decision. My business values are authenticity, empowerment, love, and freedom. And I try to measure my success not by how much money I am making, but by how happy and fulfilled I feel, and how much freedom I’m able to create in my life.
3. I stretch myself to go out of my comfort zone. I understand that “safe” and “authentic” are not the same thing. I confront fear with curiosity. I embrace opportunities to try new things and take risks, knowing that these are also opportunities to know and understand myself better. And the more I know myself, the more authenticity I can bring to my life and business.
4. I take time to meditate and journal daily. These practices keep me in touch with my deeper Self and make it far easier to stay aligned with my personal vision, mission, and values.
5. I only do things that feel right. If I’m avoiding something I stop to examine the reasons behind my avoidance. Am I avoiding it because I am fearful, or am I avoiding it because it feels icky or wrong to me? If it is fear, I work to challenge and overcome my fear. But if it feels icky or wrong, I examine it in light of my values and vision. If it doesn’t align with who I am as a person, I let it go and don’t look back.
If you are working on being more authentic in your business, start with an honest analysis of your current state of mind. Are there areas of your life or business that you feel out of integrity with? Are there things you’re doing or not doing simply because others have told you they are the right or wrong things? Have you defined your own measures of success, or are you using someone else’s measuring stick to evaluate your success? Most importantly, figure out what you want and just start doing it!
If you found this helpful, check out a few of my other blogs that can help you on your journey to building a life and business you love.
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