At Connecting IRL we are constantly talking about authentic connections, but what do we mean when we say authentic? And why should it matter for your business?
What is Authenticity?
According to Merriam-Webster, authentic is “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character” and this is exactly what we mean. Being authentic is bringing your true self with no mask, no spin, and no deception. It is where your words and deeds match, whether you are in public and in private.
In life, we are under constant pressure to conform, to fit in. Most of us give in to that pressure and suppress some part of our true spirit or character. For example, when you go for a job interview you might wear “professional” attire—suit and tie for men, dress and heels for women. You do this, not because that is how you normally dress, but because that is what you believe the interviewer expects.
For me personally, I only wear a suit to weddings, funerals, and job interviews. A suit does not reflect my true personality or spirit. It is an adjustment I make to meet expectations, but my wearing a suit is inauthentic.
Authenticity and Social Media
It is especially easy to present a shaded version of ourselves on social media. We show family outings with the kids all happy and smiling or a selfie of ourselves with the perfect haircut and designer clothes.
Seldom does anyone show the ride home from the family outing when the three-year-old is throwing a major fit because he is overtired. These are typically small deceits and easily forgiven. We all want to show our best selves to the world and make the best impression.
However, if we carry this too far or spin a little too much, we start to create a truly false impression of ourselves. This can impact your business.
In a survey by Stackla, authenticity was the single most important factor for consumers when deciding which brands to support. Your customers expect you to be who you say you are and live according to the values you say you support. People will drop you like a hot potato if they sense hypocrisy.
How Do You Find Your Authentic Self?
A few people instinctively know their authentic selves. For the rest of us, it takes a fair amount of introspection to separate who we truly are from external expectations we impose on ourselves.
We start by identifying your core values. Your core values are not aspirational. They are values that are part of who you are today.
We then move on to your motivations: why do you do what you do? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Once you understand your core values and our motivations and then you begin to see your authentic self.
Create Your Declaration of Authenticity
As part of Connecting IRL’s Authentic Connections Method™, this is where you would create your Declaration of Authenticity™.
Once you know your authentic self and have a well-developed Declaration of Authenticity™, you can use that to promote your business. Your Declaration of Authenticity becomes the basis for your brand story and marketing materials, events you attend, and causes you support. You connect with your customers in an authentic way.
As the author and speaker, Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Sharing your authentic self allows you to build authentic connections with your customers, which creates trust and loyalty. It helps you stand out in a crowded market. Recognition, trust, and customer loyalty is what makes the difference between a struggling business and a successful one.
Being true to our own personality, spirit, or character not only makes sense for your business, but it also makes you happier and more fulfilled in your everyday life.
We at Connecting IRL can help you discover who you are, what motivates you, and why you do what you do. We want to help you live your authentic life and leverage your authenticity to grow your business. Feel free to contact us for a customized, 30-minute online consultation to help you begin to create your own Declaration of Authenticity™.