Updated: Sep 19, 2019
You see it everywhere.
On social media, on websites, in advertising, in descriptions of food, restaurants, wellness services, even alcohol!
Now I have to wonder, whenever I hear authentic or authenticity, whether the words are being used properly, whether they’ve been dropped in as the new buzzword, whether people even know what they mean.
I admit that I was a culprit of overusing this word for a long time. I have always considered myself authentic. I do what feels right for me; I don’t follow the crowd and I don’t copy people. I consciously choose not to get sucked in to comparisons or worry about what others are doing and whether they’re doing ‘better’ than me.
And what I’ve discovered is that whilst all these things are great and help me to live a fulfilled life… they are not what make me truly authentic.
What does authenticity really mean? It means genuineness and originality.
Last April I re-branded my business. During this process I started to understand, and apply, the real meaning of authenticity.
I worked with an army of amazing women to define what I really stood for. I wove my values through everything from the colours of my visual brand to the words I used to describe my services to the way that I revealed myself on my website.
What was really important to me during my re-branding process was putting in the time and energy to clearly define what was at the core of my business and what made me and my business tick. I wanted to explain fully what I stand for.
It wasn’t about using the ‘right’ words. It wasn’t about showing up the same way as others who are ‘successful’ in this space. And it was about more than being ‘accurate’. Re-branding, this time, was about stating what was true AND capturing the right energy and feeling… it was about showing up as me – genuine and original.
Is using your voice to speak your truth authenticity? If it’s genuine and it’s unique then yes. But if you’re echoing what’s being said by others then it’s not original. Yes, you are using your voice and yes, you are speaking up… but it’s been heard before.
When you dig deeper, when you share your lived experience, that’s when your voice comes from a unique and resonant place. That is when you start to speak with authenticity.
Authenticity means intentionally choosing genuineness and originality.
I make it my mission to communicate authentically, and unapologetically, without feeling like I have to adapt, shrink or defend what I stand for, which is the advancement of women in business and reaching out to support and encourage those who do not feel that they have a voice. I choose to help people increase their visibility and embolden them to fully take up space through their work and passion, to use their voices. This is what is important to me.
People know what they’re getting when they meet or read about me. They know how I think, what I feel. They see the genuine me. Because I draw openly and honestly from my own stories and experiences, they get an original perspective – a look at the world through my eyes.
When I use the word authenticity, I stay mindful to use it in this – and only this - context.
What I’ve found is that, through practiced authenticity, I am consciously and unconsciously attracting the right clients and business opportunities. I know when to say ‘no’ and do so without apology. I also know when to say ‘yes’ and do this with a happy and grateful heart.
I choose to be genuine; I strive to be original. And this above all has made me a happy business owner.
Take a look at your life, your work and your marketing. How genuine and original are you? And, what are the benefits you are seeing?