Build a strong brand just being yourself
Three years ago on my birthday, one of my most cherished friends left me this Facebook post:
“You are one of the most authentic people I know, and that’s gold to me.”
It’s still in my inbox. I keep it because it reminds me of the person I strive to be, but don’t always know or believe I am. And it reminds me why I love these fantastic women with whom I feel privileged to spend time. They’re doctors. They’re writers. They’re mothers. They’re lawyers. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re marketing minds. Wives, sisters, artists, photographers, conversationalists, foodies, travelers, truth-tellers, givers, joyous angels, really.
They’re simply all the things.
I sit back and observe more than I talk when I’m in a room with them, because they embody everything I want for myself. Most importantly, they’re authentic. Unapologetically genuine. Unique. We don’t have to agree, or have the same personality or interests in order to have great talks, and that is so refreshing in a world where we tend to hang out in silos more often than not.
Recently, conversations with a few of these lovely people have focused on personal authenticity and how that carries over into your profession. Do you have to put yourself out there? How much do you put yourself out there? Is it enough to just do good work or do you constantly have to sell yourself to make it happen?
And those questions are being asked because shameless self-promotion feels inauthentic. Doesn’t it to all of us? I totally understand this perspective — it’s uncomfortable, and it doesn’t feel pure or selfless or helpful in any way (which are reasons these ladies do the work they do).
The double-edged sword is that in order to share your passion with others and make a living from it, you have to get it in front of people. Word-of-mouth is still extremely important, but in this technological age it means video. It means hearing our own voices when we don’t want to. It means social media. It means blogging.
But here’s what it doesn’t mean: Being someone you aren’t.
One of our favorite TED Talks is Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” and the most important line of them all is, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” It always comes back to this for us in our work with communities and organizations. As we build brands, we start with “why” and craft that story. We find our clients’ genuine voices and share them with the world — being mindful of their personalities, their audience, and their authenticity.
Why do you do what you do? What makes you feel most like yourself? (The Being Boss podcast ladies have talked about this too.) Be that person in life and be that person in business. Be authentic. Because, “It’s those who start with why that have the ability to inspire those around them.”
Inspiration happens with the ladies I call friends. And that is gold to me.
Ready to find the authentic voice and brand for your business? Let’s chat.