Why Authenticity Is Your Key to Standing Out in the Crowd
At a recent event, I met a business coach who seemed to have all the right moves. She had great branding, a polished pitch and a very attractive ‘opt in’. But as we moved past the first 60 seconds, I couldn’t help but feel like something was off.
My uneasy feeling intensified when an offer of coffee, by me, was met with a level of excitement completely out of the ballpark for a 10 minute sit down over Nescafe Gold.
What happened next I can only describe as a buzzwordathon. Growth hack, disrupter, digital nomad, 6 figures … The look on my face must have said it all because when she finished she took one look at me, let out a sigh and sank back into her chair.
That’s when things got real. Authentic. She confided in me that she was feeling like a fraud. She was trying to make her mark on the world as a business coach, passing herself off as an expert, but she had no real world business experience. She had some great ideas, but didn’t feel as though she could back those up.
After that we talked truth. Her new business, my business … and guess what? She did have some great ideas and I even learned a few things.
Now if you’ve read any of my articles, you’ll know I can sometimes be an over sharer. I’m fairly open about our business life and the challenges we face as an entrepreneurial family because I’m a great believer in authenticity and transparency.
I’m also a great believer in everyone having unique value. Embracing that value is what makes us stand out in a crowd, and that can be your key to success in the competitive world of Small Business.
Stop Faking It.
But it wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, I was the worlds’ biggest advocate of ‘fake it till you make it’. I thought to be successful I had to first appear successful. But for all my efforts the only thing I succeeded in doing was becoming a huge fraud. Little wonder my imposter syndrome was off the charts!
I had trouble finding anyone to have faith in me and my business because I had no faith in myself.
Throw Away the Rules.
My genuine success began when I stopped trying to conform to ‘how things should be done’. When I was able to throw away the rule book and do business how I wanted to do business.
I’m not the most technically experienced, but I am unique and there is no one out there who has experienced life or business the way I have.
Get Comfortable with Being Vulnerable.
Now here comes the hardest part, getting comfortable with vulnerability. Being ok with standing up and saying ‘I’m not perfect’ or ‘I effed up and this is what I learned from it’.
You’ll probably know by now that I’ve gotten pretty good at that, but back up to the business coach. Before we even got to the coffee I knew something was off. I could feel it and I could see it, and my guard was up. It wasn’t until she dropped her mask and allowed herself to become vulnerable that we made a genuine connection.
After that conversation she went on to reassess her business and really narrow down her experience, and what it was that she wanted to achieve. She’s now started to see some really genuine and positive growth.
If you want to stand out in the crowd drop the act. Let your voice shake, make a mistake. Instead of looking at your customers or clients as numbers on a spreadsheet, talk your truth and seek to make a genuine connection. That is what makes you authentic and that is what makes you stand out from the crowd.
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