"I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I've become. If I had, I'd have done it a lot earlier." -Oprah Winfrey
Before I started my business, there was a gap between my previous career (acting) and coaching, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
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I had it in my head I wanted to work in an office since life as an actress meant I'd never worked in one. I think I equated an office job with success.
I’ve always been persistent, so I hustled my behind off and sent my resume around to what felt like all of Manhattan. I landed an interview to be an office manager for an architect.
I was nervous and felt completely inadequate for the impending job interview (turns out, I was overqualified, but that’s a different blog topic).
So, I did what any good actress would do. I researched my “part”.
I got a new outfit and prepared for my “role”. And, when the interview came around, there I was, Kim, the office-worker girl.
I showed up, played the part, and I got the job.
It was an awful fit.
I felt out of place and suffocated.
Knowing what I know now, I can tell you all the reasons the job wasn’t a good fit. And I might have gone about the entire thing differently had I had the tools I have now.
But, as with most things, there’s a bigger lesson in all of this.
The lesson? DO YOU.
I wasn’t being me on that interview.
Sure, once I got the job, I was me. And, it’s pretty difficult for me not to show up as myself in any situation...but on that initial interview I was being “office Kim”.
I was playing into what and who I thought I was supposed to be, which is what led my then-boss to believe I was a good fit and hire me.
I so badly wanted the job, any job, and to feel “successful” that I traded in my authenticity, which ended up causing a problem for everyone.
At the time, I wanted to blame the office and the job. The truth was, I misrepresented myself.
This carries over into our businesses, creative endeavors, and lives as a whole.
How many of us are playing the part of who we think we’re supposed to be and end up in roles we don’t want to play?
Somewhere along the line, I think many of us have gotten a message about what success in a certain area looks like and then we go off like good little girls and boys to dutifully fulfill the part.
In some cases, this can be helpful. We can learn by mirroring other people’s behaviors. But, that's not what I'm talking about.
When it comes to being a creative or having your own business, "playing the part" can be a quick route to a dead end.
When we don't show up as ourselves in our work, we miss connecting with the very people we could best serve because they can’t see and connect with us.
Like attracts like.
We attract exactly who we aren't when we're wearing the mask of supposed-to-be. Then, we wonder why the clients that come to us aren’t a fit or why we don't have any clients at all.
I see this with my coaching clients. For example, the wonderfully goofy, creative entertainer type and when we go to look at their website, it’s got stiff corporate lingo on it and a picture of them in a business suit that doesn't match up.
(btw, nothing wrong with a snazzy business suit if that’s your thing!)
Or the introverted, quiet type with bold, loud colors and photos all over their website.
It’s a huge disconnect to who they are and what their work is all about.
I think sometimes it’s easy to think authenticity means baring our souls to the world or publicly sharing our deepest inner-most thoughts. You can keep your secrets and still show up authentically.
Authenticity in business is all about showing up and owning who you are.
It’s getting rid of the role of who you think you’re supposed in every aspect of your business from your photos, to your copy, to your website messaging and social media.
Which can be scary. Having a role or persona can take some of the edge off and make it easier to put ourselves out there. It’s something to hide behind in plain sight.
But, I gotta tell you, the more you show up as you, as it relates to your business, the easier it is for your ideal clients and people to find you.
You won’t need to create a persona. You won’t need to try to stand out. You won't need to reinvent yourself. You won’t need to explain why you’re so different from everyone else.
This week, I’d love to invite you to take a look at your business and work (or your personal life, this applies there as well). Where might you be playing a role of how you think you’re supposed to be? How can you "do you"?
From the clothes you wear to the words you use, find ways to strip down.
It's easier said than done, but let's dump the get-ups (everyone knows we really rock yoga pants anyway when we work from home) and ditch the strange jargon.
Sending you big love and wishing you your version of success,