While researching the most financially successful online women entrepreneurs last year, I discovered five success factors common to all of them.
The most significant success factor was their willingness to be authentic. The turning point for each of their successes was the release of all roles, behavior, and expectations that did not enhance and support their true selves. Trying to be something they were never meant to be had been holding them back.
The average independent professional chooses the safety of who she has always been. The super-successful woman entrepreneur takes the risk to go against the grain and fully step into her greatness by embracing her own story.
True etiquette isn’t about rules but about making others feel welcome. In much the same way, authenticity means being true to what you value and showing up as your best, most noble self, not “letting it all hang out.”
I don’t normally bow but when I travel in Japan I do. Does that make me inauthentic? No, it is my true, best behavior appropriate to the occasion by honoring the local customs.
Being authentic doesn’t mean being crude, impolite, or unpolished. You are your most authentic when your identity, image, and actions are all in alignment no matter what the circumstances or environment. Who you are, how you appear, and how you behave all complement each other. You are living a false persona if you would be embarrassed to let one part of your world see another part of it.
It’s risky to be authentic. You will be judged, ridiculed, and mocked. You will experience loss. You will lose people you think you value but they keep you trapped in an exhausting charade – it’s a trap. You feel like you’re spinning your wheels because you keep coming back to something that doesn’t fit – like trying to feel comfortable wearing someone else’s coat.
But no matter how safe it may feel, you don’t want to fit in where you don’t belong. You will know when you are with others who value the same things
- when you feel like you can exhale.
- when you do not have to be on your guard.
- when your thoughts, opinions, humor, ideas, and interests are applauded and not demeaned.
It’s exhilarating to be with people who value you for who you are.
Either gravitate toward those who already share your values or define the center of your own group and attract others to it.
Being yourself gives you freedom, and energy, and opens up your potential but the most important reason to release your attachment to pleasing others is this: not being “true to you” holds you back. It keeps you stifled, makes you play small, and prevents you from fulfilling your destiny.
If your marketing message feels hokey or is all over the map, it’s time for a fierce inventory of where you are being inauthentic. When you finally embrace who you are and what you are meant to be doing, all the fear of marketing yourself slips away. Don’t deny the world the gifts you were meant to bestow upon it and don’t define yourself by your past…you don’t live there anymore.
Be bold! – Ann