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Minding My Business

Is authenticity really that important? When it comes to personal branding and YOUR personal brand – I think it’s critical. That’s the reason why you’ll often see me tweet things like:

But hey, “she was keeping it real.” The second story was about a businessman that was loved by everyone. He took the time to listen when others spoke and regularly shared funny jokes, which always made everyone laugh.

Interesting. Authenticity: Being ‘Who You Are’? Let me present another scenario to you about my understanding of the meaning of authenticity as it relates to

Personal Branding: Is Authenticity Important? By Annemarie Cross

“Business Owners: nothing stands out more powerfully than an authentic brand. Is the real ‘you’ showing up in your brand?”

Little did these people know that he didn’t have a sense of humor. In fact, he would search for jokes and just repeat them; with no idea why people found them so funny.

you and your personal brand. Joy Tanksley sums it up perfectly in her article ‘Finding Your Ideal Writing Voice’ as she quotes Dolly Parton:

And, if the truth be known, he didn’t really care about what people were talking about either.

“Figure out who you are; then do it on purpose. Strive for authenticity instead of popularity. Don’t try to sound like anyone or anything except who you already are.”

Or: “Building a strong brand? Authenticity and integrity are vital. Don’t try to be something you’re not. It’ll show.” Authenticity: ‘Keeping it real’ or ‘Acting as if’? I did a search to see what other people thought about the meaning of ‘authenticity’ and found some interesting opinions. Brian Clarke – from Copyblogger presented two different scenarios in his article: Do People Really Want Transparency and Authenticity? The first story was of a loud-mouthed young marketing consultant who was attending a party. She’d had a little too much to drink, was using foul language and insulting others, while also trying to convince people to hire her.

What he did realize, was the importance of ‘acting as if’ he was interested so that people would like him. It was important for business. Do either of these scenarios portray the real meaning of authenticity? Authenticity: Not ‘Who you are’ but ‘Doing what you promise’? If we look at Seth Godin’s thoughts on Authenticity, he paints a similar picture of the businessman in Brian’s article. Seth believes that authenticity is not being ‘who you are’ but rather – doing what you promise. This is because we can be quite vague about ‘being’ who we are due to our struggle in being able to see and understand our ‘internal vision’ clearly. So ‘doing’ is an act – a behavior that others can see. Hence the ‘doing what you promise’.

Authenticity: ‘Acting as if’ can be exhausting When working with clients (previously in my role as Career Coach and now as a Business Coach) I see the impact ‘acting as if’ has on my clients. Trying to sound like anyone or anything other than themselves is exhausting. AND, trying to be someone you’re not, especially if it’s the opposite of who you really are (like Brian Clark’s businessman) can often stand out like a sore thumb once people get to know you a little better. Authenticity isn’t about ‘keeping it real’, especially when the behavior you are exhibiting is inappropriate. Just because you can get drunk, abusive and offensive, doesn’t mean you should. That’s not being authentic

November-December 2013 | Exceptional People Magazine | 15

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