Authenticity is about being the real deal. Your personal brand should be so authentic that everyone instantly ‘gets it and gets you’ when they put you and your brand together. Just as everyone ‘gets it’ when they think of Nike and ‘Just do it,’ they should instantly link you and your brand with ease and see them as authentically linked to one another as one single version of the truth.
Life is challenging enough with the pace we are all moving at, the multiple plates we’re spinning and things we want to achieve, without adding more complexity by having to wear a cloak – a false façade – every single day.
You can’t say one thing and do another.
You can’t make claims about how you are and then act differently.
Not if you want to be believed.
Yes, this one trait is essential.
You could think of it as the hub, or like Steve Jobs’ vision when he created the ‘mother station’ (the mac) and the i-gadgets plug into it.
Authenticity is about…
…being clear on what you stand for, the values that drive your thinking, and the filters through which you define your behavior.
…having an unwavering determination that no matter what happens, you will never compromise your core values and beliefs; that you will remain true to who you are and what you stand for.
…never compromising on doing the right thing, every time. And while external influences to bend, to close an eye, to get in line will remain, you will have an internal peace because you know you are the real deal.
In my recent blog posts – how to develop your personal brand in 5 easy steps and factors to consider when communicating your brand – I shared how you can develop and deliver your personal brand. This blog is about how you can protect it. By being authentic and asking yourself at the end of each day:
Have I been faithful to my personal brand, living with authenticity, purpose, and focus?
What one thing have I done today to enhance and strengthen my personal brand?
Protect your brand with authenticity
I often use the expression;
“People never consistently do who they aren’t.”
Now, I know the sentence is grammatically incorrect, but it’s written that way to deliberately stop you in your tracks, to make you think.
People never consistently do who they aren’t.
So, what do I mean?
When individuals are inauthentic when they are not ‘being’ the real deal, two things happen.
Firstly, their façade starts to slip. Whether it’s when they’re under pressure, or overconfident or when their guard is down, their true-self starts to emerge. You notice inconsistencies in their manner, and you begin to question their motives, you may begin to ask ‘can I trust this person?’
Which leads me to the second thing.
Authenticity and trustworthiness
Authenticity goes hand in hand with trustworthiness. Excellent personal and business relationships are based on trust.
For most of us, there are only ever a few people who we can rely on throughout our lifetimes. Although the individuals may change as relationships evolve and new people come into our lives, the number of people we can depend upon without question is always going to be very small.
As we get older, our tolerance for people and their behaviour changes so that we have less and less time for people whose brands don’t align with ours and a greater appreciation, perhaps even a craving, for those whose personal brands genuinely do.
We like to interact with people we feel comfortable with and have some degree of trust and rapport.
And yet trust can be destroyed just as quickly.
In a world which has created so much uncertainty and where trust is broken between nations and individuals, the one thing people are looking for more than ever is a connection; connection to individuals who are the real deal, who are authentic, who are values-driven with integrity and moral principles and standards.
With these as the cornerstone of your compelling personal brand, you really can create a brand that will serve you in realising your personal and professional goals, developing productive and fruitful relationships and living a life where you achieve your full potential.
The Man in the Glass
I could talk forever on why trust is a bedfellow of authenticity, but I want to leave you with a poem that I frequently share at my keynote and workshop engagements. It’s one of my favourites, which I passionately believe drives home the essence of authenticity.
The ‘Man in the Glass,’ Peter ‘Dale’ Wimbrow Sr first appeared in print in 1934.
Every day you meet new people, or are put into unique situations or experience different challenges, each of which puts your personal brand through a ‘stress test.’
Being authentic is about accepting who you are, warts and all, including the aspects you may prefer to be different, but accepting them anyway. When you can do that, you can also acknowledge the things that are special about you, that gives you a special kind of personal currency in your relationships.
You know that energy spent being something you’re not is energy you could better apply to building success.
Are you the real deal?
What is your mirror telling you?