Who do you tend to follow online? The people that look like they are faking it, trying to sell you a product or lifestyle that you know they don’t even use/have themselves? Or do you tend to follow the people that you trust, that you believe have your best interests at heart, and that are telling you the truth!
I would bet the vast majority of the time that it is the latter. We follow people that we trust. We follow people that we are interested in learning from and that can add value to our lives. And we follow people that aren’t faking who they are by saying one thing and doing something completely different.
This is why authenticity is so important in today’s world. Building a personal brand online, whether it’s for you to grow your network or build an online business, means you have to gain trust in your audience. Without trust, nothing else is possible. You won’t be able to get an alternative method of communication (ie. email, text message) with them, you won’t be able to drive them to your website, and you certainly won’t be able to get them to purchase a product from you.
And to gain trust online, it’s my belief that we have to be authentic. We have to learn to show up as our true and authentic self to our audience because authenticity is really the key to your success when building your presence online. Your audience wants you to be authentic, they want to see who you truly are.
One of the best compliments I ever received was “You are exactly who we thought you were” from some women that joined me on my first sailing retreat in Croatia. I thought this was such a beautiful and heart-felt comment because they had only met me through my blog posts and a couple phone calls up to that point. They knew who I was because I was doing my best to be authentic with the content I put out into the world. I am sharing who I am and where I am in my journey towards happiness, joy and success, and it’s my hope that that comes across in my posts. Clearly that is what happened with these women so I must be doing something right.
Because of my authenticity these women trusted me to spend a week on a boat in Croatia with 22 people as we sailed around the islands. It was a truly special week but it never would have happened if I had tried to fake who I was online because they wouldn’t have formed that trust in me before flying to Europe. That’s why authenticity is a super power. I allow you to build trust, it allows you to live in alignment of who you are, and helps you get the energy towards building your vision.
Creating an authentic brand and showing up as your true self online is easier said than done. We have so many limiting beliefs living inside of us that keep us from sharing our voice. We have fears about what people will say about us if we speak our truth, and we continue to hide behind old wounds that try to keep us small. I know because I was there, I was so incredibly fearful about what people would say about the content I wanted to share with the world. I often limited what I would share (in fact in many cases I still do), because of fear of judgement.
But if I am so fearful of sharing my voice with my audience, then I’m robbing them of the information and wisdom I have to share. And I truly believe that what I have to share could change their life, because it already changed mine. So if I give into the fear of judgement, I’m holding myself back on moving forward in my life and preventing them from moving forward in theirs too. I can’t let that happen, so I have learn to be my true authentic self for us to move forward together.
So what does it mean to be authentic. And how do you show up more authentically and create an online portfolio that resonates with who we are?
Being authentic means you show up as the raw, open, and vulnerable person that you are. You tell your audience the truth and you live in alignment. It means that you hold true to your value system. And it means that you do this ALL the time.
Authenticity is an art form. Any just like any skill, it needs to be practiced. We need to learn how to show up as our true self and share our full potential. So here are 3 ways to become more authentic online.
Remove Your Mask
Are you hiding behind a mask? Are you hiding because you are shy or for fear of rejection? None of us desires rejection, especially from our peers or our family.
But when we hide behind a mask, we don’t share our truth; and as a result that often radiates out into insecurities and fears in other areas of our lives. For instance the fear of not being where we want to be in our career or business goals can hold us back in our relationship goals too. When we feel inadequate in one area of our lives, it spills over into other areas of our lives.
We sometimes “pretend” like we have it all together so that we can feel strong, powerful and in control of our lives. Hence the mask we are hiding behind. But then on the inside, our thoughts and our feelings are telling us the exact opposite. We feel like we can’t take down the mask and share our true self for fear of what will happen on the other side. Will people not like us, fire us, not buy our products?
What we don’t often ask ourselves is that what can happen positively if we take down the mask? Maybe people will relate to us more? Maybe they will realize that they can see themselves inside of us. And they will realize that what you have the share with the world, they are also going through.
Allow Yourself To be More Vulnerable
We are all humans, we all have similar desires and goals in this life. And once we realize that there is more that unites us than separates, we start to learn how to relate to each other more. But to create this connection, we have to learn how to be more vulnerable. Being vulnerable, sharing who we truly and how we feel isn’t easy! There’s so much fear about what others might say or what they might think about us.
But vulnerably is one of the keys to sharing your authentic self. While it can be super scary to share our authentic self, it’s truly what the world needs. Because others are going through the same things you are. And when you share your truth and your story, you give others permissions to share their truth and their story. This is the medicine the world needs.
Being vulnerable might mean that you will make others feel uncomfortable temporarily. It might mean that you have to feel uncomfortable about how they feel about what you have to share. But once you overcome that discomfort, it becomes less scary; and the discomfort will dissipate.
Everything we want in life is on the other side of fear, and sometimes being vulnerable is the first step towards resolving this fear and discomfort.
Learn how to live in Alignment
I never really understood exactly what living in alignment meant until recently. There are many definitions but I believe living in alignment means that your thoughts and your feelings match your words and your actions. When our thoughts and our feelings match, we feel like ourselves. We aren’t hiding behind the mask of who we think we should be or others are telling us to be, we are just being ourselves.
And living in alignment is easier said than done. We often don’t want to disappoint others and we don’t want to spend the time and energy to change our life by doing the things we know we need to do. This keeps us feeling disempowered because we feel like we can’t open up and take new actions to change our life.
So let me ask you, do you have a fear of opening up? Do you have a fear of telling people about your internal and external struggles?
This is an extremely common fear we have as human! We are afraid to open up and share what is truly going on with us inside. But keeping that information inside while we continue to act and speak differently than how we feel is not healthy. And the longer we hold it inside, the harder it is going to be to resolve.
But if we share what we are going through, we start to find answers. For one it just feels good to speak our truth, but it also allows us to look for opportunities and resources. We start to see that the world is full of people that need what we have to share and full of people that can help us resolve our internal struggles.
So what’s keeping you from living in alignment?
I hope this blog post helped you understand more about what it means to show up more authentically in your life. Authenticity is one of the key principles towards creating the life you truly love, and one of the keys towards building your online brand.
If you are interested in growing your authentic online brand this year, then I have a program for you! Each month I’ll be running a 2-Week Re-Invent Your Instagram Program where we will dive deep into authenticity and how to build a an online brand that people truth and can support you!
The next one is happening February 8th! I look forward to working with you this year! Comment below or send me a message if you are interested in learning more.