Nine Steps To Help You Be More Authentic In Your Business
Are you tired? Tired of putting everyone else’s needs first? Tired of wearing a mask every day? Tired of feeling like you have to be okay when you're not?
I work with business owners everyday who started their business because they wanted to help others, are passionate about what they do and want to do it on their own terms. They thought being their own boss would allow them to do the work they love while having the freedom to do it their way. Yet after a few years, they often feel frustrated, disillusioned, and burned out.
They feel inauthentic, like something is missing because they are so worried about pleasing their clients and paying the bills that they are no longer being true to their personality and character.
Authenticity is a willingness to show your uniqueness to the world. Living authentically means showing the world who you really are. You’re willing to live the life that you were meant to live, even when your inner critic tries to bully you into staying quiet and small.
Here are nine steps that can help you show up authentically and let the world know the real you:
1. Know what matters.
Before you take action, you need to get clear on what matters most in your life. What are your values? What drives you? What do you want your life to be about? If you’re not sure, here’s a quick values clarification I do with my clients. Imagine you have one day left to live. How will you spend your last 24 hours? Your choices can indicate what matters most and when you’re clear on your values, you’re better able to make decisions that are authentic and consistent with who you really are.
2. Stop doing things you don't want to do.
There will always be things you have to do that you don’t want to. I don’t know many entrepreneurs who enjoy doing their taxes or making a follow-up call. However, there are plenty of things we do that we don’t want or have to do. You don’t have to answer your client’s email at 2 am. You don’t have to be on every single social media platform. If something is too disagreeable, you don’t have to do it. (Pro tip: “That won’t be possible” is a polite but firm way to say no.)
3. Say yes to yourself.
You have permission to spend your time how you wish, and to make your life what you want it to be. You don’t need proof that you’re doing something on a cosmic level. The simple fact that you want to do it is reason enough. Go to that conference, publish that short story, or wear those shoes that make you feel amazing. It’s your life – embrace it.
4. Be open to new ways of doing things.
So many people get fixed on one way of doing something or one way of thinking. And that’s understandable – routines offer a sense of safety, and our brain wants to keep us safe no matter what. But if your thought process is super rigid, you block yourself from being authentic and prevent your true self from shining through. Embrace different perspectives and keep an open mind.
5. Trust your intuition.
You know that little voice in your head that guides you, or stops you (or at least tries to) right before you make a mistake? Or maybe for you, it’s a feeling you get in your stomach, or your chest. Or perhaps it’s a feeling that washes over you? Whatever it is, that’s your intuition. Everyone has an intuition, though some of us are more tuned in to it than others. When you pay attention to it, you are connecting to your deepest, truest self – and when you ignore it, you feel off-course. Trust your instincts. Your intuition will let you know when something is off – including you.
6. Raise your self-awareness.
Self-awareness is a key part of being authentic. When we’re aware of what we think and feel, we can choose whether those thoughts and feelings dictate the choices we make. Notice your thoughts,and pay attention to how you feel. Ask yourself, “Is this thought helping me or keeping me stuck? Do I have to buy into that thought, or can I choose another way of thinking?” Being aware of your thoughts is the first step in choosing authentic, fulfilling action.
7. Be bold.
Take action. There is a spirit inside you that wants to break free and live full out. It wants to have a voice, but it’s hampered by fear and anxiety. So many of us are uncomfortable standing out in any way. We feel vulnerable, ashamed, and exposed. But growth is often uncomfortable, and there’s so much to be gained by taking big, bold action. So pitch yourself to that podcast you love. Write that book. Ask for that referral. Be brave, and be bold.
8. Share yourself with the world.
You have a voice, so use it. You get to have a say in this world, and it’s okay to tell others what you think or how you feel about something. Don't be afraid to show your personality, your true self, without apology.
9. Forget perfection.
Trying to be perfect is a huge limitation on your natural personality and expression, and it keeps you from authentically connecting with others and yourself. No one is perfect, and our flaws make us human. Avoiding mistakes and imperfection at all costs is a recipe for unhappiness, so don’t let the need to be perfect keep you stuck.
Living an authentic life isn’t easy – it requires courage and a willingness to deal with discomfort head on. But when you’re brave enough to build a business based on your authentic self, you’re rewarded with satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. These steps will help you show the world the unique person you are.