I just read a post on Facebook from my friend Marci whose resolution this year was to be more authentic online, to stop worrying about trying to portray a perfect life and just let go. Another one of my friends said her goal this year was to “get over herself” and start sharing her real self with others both online and off. My friend Jay shares his struggles with the aftermath of a heart attack on Facebook and has received hundreds of likes and comments. People in the real estate industry, love him for being authentic. Do you feel free to share your authentic self?
I created a video this week where I was jumping around in the snow during a blizzard and just being me. Some would say I looked a bit silly and perhaps a bit more enthusiastic than most would standing in two feet of snow, but you know what? It’s ME. Over 700 people viewed that video. People have pretty much come to expect what they see is what they get when they become my friend or a client of mine. It’s like the WYSIWYG of life. I have found that folks find it rather refreshing when I just speak my truth, sharing stories of life complete with triumphs and struggles. This has worked professionally for me when I wrote my book, when I post on my 365 Kona site, and on my day to day posts on Facebook and even when meeting people.
Have you ever shared a moment of vulnerability with someone and found it actually brought you closer to the person you were sharing it with? I experienced a horrifying moment of walking into a networking breakfast in Las Vegas in September. My job was to go in and make some new contacts. So, there I was with my breakfast tray in hand looking over a room of three hundred people already seated at tables. I felt like my daughter on her first day at her new high school. Halfway up the room, I saw someone I had just met recently. She smiled at me and I just went up and said, “I feel like I am in the high school lunch room..can I join the cool kids”? Everyone at the table laughed and invited me to sit down. Because I was willing to share my vulnerability with others, I connected immediately with those at the table and got their business cards and had these people offer me seats during the seminar over the next few days, as well.
When I post on Facebook, I don’t just share all the good stuff. I let my guard down and share some real life issues, as well. A family member gave me hell a month of so ago about “letting the public know” that my son has a learning disability. I don’t care. I had a lot of mother’s reach out and connect with me over their own children’s issues and we were able to share resources and I was able to connect with these women deeper. That is the gift of being authentic. I also post photos of just having fun in life. Many of you may see the handstands I do all over the country-and by doing that I put myself out there as a model for “enjoy who you are” to others.
Authenticity works for business also, as it is a well known fact that people want to work with people they like. People like people who show up in their own skin. I have been blessed with meeting some VERY authentic and original professionals in my travels. They tell the stories of falling down, tripping up, and not being perfect. That is called RELATABLE. When you meet someone who is not trying to impress you with how perfect they are and you don’t feel the need to compete with them, then you have a basis for something that can turn into a friendship. And then the world opens up for you both.
I invite you to focus on being authentic in 2017 and beyond. If that means doing a little dance for a marketing video, or writing with more heart in your communications or sharing a story about your family at a business function, then try it. Courage may be needed to get started, but the rewards can be invaluable. Here’s your 2017 hashtag: #BeAuthentic