Authenticity? I'm over it. Here's why...
There is a bit of a trend in today's digital world...authenticity.
We hear it all the time, if you have a business/blog/brand then you need to be authentic. I get it, I really do but honestly, I'm starting to think that authenticity is grossly overrated.
Let me explain...
It's not the concept of authenticity that I have a problem with. I wholeheartedly believe in being real and I think it's fundamental in business these days. Your audience wants to know who YOU are. They want to hear your story and decide if they relate to you. But what happens when the pressure of being authentic gets too much?
The very first time I worked with a business coach we did a lot of work on authenticity. You see, after nearly 10 years of constantly adapting to try and fit into the corporate world, I didn't really know who I was anymore. But the more I tried to be authentic, the less real my authenticity became. I started to force it - I edited what I was sharing online to try to be more authentic. I watched how others were being authentic then tried to apply that to my 'brand'.
Which leads to the question - when we purposely edit what we share to appear more authentic, how real are we actually being?
Are we, in an effort to 'be authentic', merely manipulating our own story and inflating our own self-importance?
In the name of authenticity.
When we view authenticity as something that we need to obtain or achieve, we are in danger of elevating the expression of our authentic self above all else.
We say what we like with no regard for others, because we are 'being authentic'. (Sidenote - there is a huge difference between authenticity and honesty. Real honesty has to come hand in hand with empathy and understanding).
We overshare instead of having healthy boundaries.
We avoid things we don't want to do, and tell ourselves it's because it doesn't fit with who we are.
If 'being authentic' is viewed as an expression of who we are, then there is a danger it is ego-based and becomes entirely about self-fulfilment. Our own authenticity needs to be viewed with a wide-angle lens, in the context of the wider world.
I think it all comes down to intention.
Sharing our story to gain (...sales, clients, subscribers etc.) vs. sharing our story to serve. When we share our story to help others to heal or expand, it has an entirely different energy behind it. For me, authenticity shouldn't be viewed as the means to reaching a goal.
Maybe it's time to forget about being authentic and just show up. Stop strategising and filtering every piece of content and just show up...as yourself.
My social media 'strategy' is very simple, I share only when I have something meaningful to share. Sure, I like to create a pretty flatlay for Instagram every now and then (the designer in me lives on), but there is always meaning behind it. You'll never find me publishing something just to get a post up or fill a gap.
Could I grow my online following quicker with regularly scheduled posts and a perfectly curated Instagram feed? Probably. But that doesn't feel aligned to me - life and business, this whole existence, isn't linear.
There are things I consistently do each week - sending out a love note to my tribe, uploading a new podcast episode, because that's how I best serve my community.
Here's the thing: when we stop trying to be authentic and just show up, something magical happens. People take notice and respect us for it. We organically attract our tribe.
Instead of putting our energy into worrying if we are being authentic enough, what would happen if we just show up?
Focus on alignment, not authenticity.
When we act in line with our values and vision without any attachment to the outcome - that is being authentic.
Nothing is more authentic than choosing to show up each day and embrace your own beauty and power, and then share that with the world. And to do that we have to be willing to go deep and accept all the parts of ourself, even the shadowy parts.
Let's stop sharing our story in a perfectly edited Instagram post, in a bid to be authentic. We are messy and beautiful in equal measure, so when allow ourselves to embrace that and then show up... that's when we are truly being authentic.