This article is about how to be authentic in business and in life.
You will have noticed that I have changed my approach over the last few months. You might know exactly what I have done and why. Or you might not. And that does not matter. The point is that things have changed.
You’ve probably noticed that I have shared with you stuff that I have never shared in a decade and a half of speaking and coaching. More personal stuff. Things about me, my family, my life, my background and my journey. I have also been much more open about sharing my opinions.
Some of you will have loved this. I will have connected with you better. We may even have had a conversation, either in person or over email. I have had many. My posts about giving money to people in the street, the myth of talent, and the folly of willpower have had more interactions than 95% of all of the other articles I have ever written.
And that’s good news.
Quite simply I made a decision to be more authentic. I made a decision to be more open. I made a decision to share more of myself, more of the time. I made a decision to let people know more about me and not just my strategies and principles for success.
In business and life today, many people are boring. They are unoriginal. They are walking, talking, carbon copies of who they think they ought to be. They get up in the morning, pull on their work clothes, adopt their work persona and check their true personality in as they leave their house and pick it up again when they come home at night…
Maybe this works for some. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it is enough for some. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s right for some people in some industries. Maybe it’s not.
In my opinion, it’s not.
If you try to toe the line and please all of the people all of the time, you will end up truly pleasing no-one.
You will end up in the middle of the pack. You won’t truly connect with your customers. You won’t create raving fans. You won’t be the talk of your industry. You won’t make jaw-dropping presentations. Your products won’t sizzle and you won’t achieve the success that you deserve.
When you compete for business, you will be apples vs apples when you want to be a passion fruit. When you interview for a role, you will be another candidate not THE stand-out superstar. When you work with your clients, you will be a supplier not a confidante, a friend and an adviser. You will never be the go-to authority.
In my experience, when you embrace true authenticity, maybe 20% of people will love you. They will adore you. They will follow you, work with you and buy from you. They will hire you, refer you and rave about you.
These people will make you more successful than you can imagine. These people will help you achieve your goals and your dreams. These people will support you, share with you and inspire you.
Another 60% of people will like what you do. They will buy from you. They will hire you. They will work with you. And that’s cool.
20% however will not like what you do. They will not like your message. They will not like your approach. They will not like your energy. They may not even like you.
Most people are not okay with this. They cannot stand the thought that they are being true to themselves and yet some people just do not like them. So they choose instead to play the safe game, the one where everyone thinks they are okay but no-one truly loves them or truly connects with them. They choose to walk the mediocre, more normal path.
Don’t do it.
Embrace the real you. Embrace possibility. Embrace everything you can be. Be the real you. Connect. Share. Live. Succeed.
And don’t think that this does not apply to you. Try this experiment…
Think of anyone in any walk of life who is amazingly successful. Anyone who has fans. Anyone who stands out. You will see that this equation applies.
It could be a singer, a comedian, a politician, a business magnate. For example, I like Alan Partridge. Love him. Think he is hilarious. I am not the only one…
“Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan!” Oh, come on, that’s funny shit!
Some people hate him. They do not think he is funny at all. (“Smell my cheese.”) Over their heads. Not funny. We are not amused.
And some are indifferent. My wife can take him or leave him. Does not hate him. But doesn’t get it either.
Does Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge) care? I doubt it. His raving fans have built him an amazing career and life and he wouldn’t swap that for some less authentic version of his comedy that engaged everybody slightly but nobody fully.
I have recently undertaken my #100dayfithabit exercise programme where I am sharing my 100 day mission to lose weight, get fit, feel great and build healthy, positive, fitness habits. I am sharing what I am doing, how I am feeling, my wins and my learns. I am not sugar coating it or sanitising it for public consumption.
I am sharing it. Sharing me. Being authentic. That’s how to be authentic. Just be.
I am doing the same with my blogs, my talks and my coaching. It’s good news for you. It’s good news for me and it’s good news for my business. If I can reach people, connect with people and share my journey in a way that motivates and inspires, then I am happy. If people who read my blogs and book me to speak feel more motivated, take more action, make more sales and achieve more success then that’s awesome.
Take some time now to think about how you can be more authentic. How you can be more natural, more open and more sharing with your prospects, your clients, your friends and your family. When you do, you will experience some amazing connections and you will be someone that no-one else can emulate.
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