How to Be Authentic in Business (And Why It’s Important)

Feb 05, 2024

I've spent most of my life helping others and their businesses. Over the course of three decades, I've started four businesses and played a pivotal role in growing another.

However, in 2023 I finally took the leap to go out on my own and promote my own knowledge. I thought, 'Why not? It should be easy. After all, I’ve spent my entire life creating and selling things.

But I was in for a surprise! Promoting my own offerings is a whole different ball game, and it's way scarier than promoting someone else's. I suddenly realized that I've been hiding behind something or someone else for most of my life. I had a lot of knowledge and plenty to offer that could help people, but I didn't truly know myself or what I stood for.

I really didn’t know how to be authentic with myself or others. 

I started to have doubts: Do I know enough? Am I good enough? Do I need an expert to help me? Will people even be interested in what I say? What do I even have to say? These self-doubts just kept coming.

All those self-doubts  and fear of rejection made me play it safe. If you've been following my journey, you might have noticed that for the first 6 months of my new venture, I shared my knowledge in a very general way, trying to appeal to everyone. But I learned that offering something that's too general and can apply to anyone, attracts no one. And, it doesn't align with my personal values. 

Every week, I used to dive into researching the latest trends, challenges, or topics to write about. To stay safe, I'd write a script based on the blog I’d written and then create a video reading from that script. Sound familiar?

If you watched those videos, you probably noticed they lacked spark. They didn't reflect my personality or my core values because I wasn't truly excited about the content I was sharing. The thing was, those topics weren't always something I cared about, and it showed in the content.

Sure, people were reading and watching, but it didn't motivate them to take action. Why? Because it was missing that special touch from my heart, the authentic me.

But then came another set of worries. What if people don't like the real me? What if my views don't connect with anyone? What if I say something that upsets people? It got me thinking: I've been working in psychology and human behavior for over 30 years. I've helped others tackle the same issues I was dealing with. What advice would I give to them?

First, I'd recommend taking a step back and reflecting on the entire journey, starting from the beginning. Delve into those pivotal moments that have paved the way to where you find yourself today. What insights did you glean from those significant experiences, and in what ways did they mold the person you've become? Reflecting on these questions was vital for me to understand my unique value. I've had a lot of different experiences in my life, and they've given me some truly unique perspectives.

Next, I had to figure out who I wanted to help with my knowledge and how to do it honestly and authentically.

After some trial and error and guidance from great coaches, I came to realize the importance of being very clear about the people I wanted to connect with. I’m talking, super specific. What do they look like? How old are they? Where do they hang out? What are their interests? What challenges do they face? What truly inspires and motivates them? These were the questions I needed to dig into to make my approach as effective as possible.

What I discovered is that my ideal prospect is someone who's been through similar experiences as me. It's like finding a younger version of myself who's striving to craft a similar life and can gain from the lessons I've learned.

Alternatively, it could be someone who's had similar experiences and aspires to build a business that aligns with their dream lifestyle. They don't have to want an exact replica of my life; instead, they should desire to learn how to fashion a life that brings them success and happiness on their own unique terms. It's about helping them navigate their journey toward their own version of success and personal authenticity. 

There's another thing I want to be open about, even though it feels embarrassing to admit. It might sound a bit vain and self-absorbed, and it needs to be said. Since I went through menopause, my body has changed. I've gained some curves (though it's taken me a while to embrace that term positively). My face shows signs of maturity, and honestly, I don't look the same as I did a decade ago. But you know what? That's perfectly alright. This new version of myself is happier and healthier.

To truly be genuine and share my true self with the world, I had to begin by loving who I've evolved into, regardless of what others might think. I couldn't let the fear of judgment stop me. My main focus now is on using my experiences to help others and fully embracing the woman I've grown into. It's about celebrating this new chapter of life and sharing the wisdom and positivity that comes with it.

I made a conscious decision to shake things up in my approach. I let go of worrying about what others thought of how I looked or whether they agreed with me. Instead, I started delving into topics that genuinely sparked my excitement and connected with my personal journey or the challenges I faced. And you know what? The response was truly remarkable. People could sense the authenticity, and they started engaging more, learning, and taking action. I feel like I have stronger connections than ever before. 

Being yourself and sharing that with the world does indeed require courage. Once I stopped trying to please everyone and started addressing the specific needs, desires, and challenges of my target audience, I found a renewed joy in creating content.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If so, you can connect with me further here.  And, if it didn't quite resonate with you, that's absolutely okay because I'm confident that somewhere out there, there's someone who has exactly what you're seeking. 

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