To be authentic isn’t to be yourself – you already are.
To be authentic is to know yourself.
There is a difference. Someone who knows themselves and is described as authentic, strikes a complex emotional chord in the audience. One that includes:
As a result, when people are asked “what makes that person different?” their responses are normally something like “I don’t know…they are just…just different!”
On the other hand. Look at the majority – all the coaches, consultants and therapists who noisily say the same thing; “Escape the 9-5,” “Be your own boss,” “Change your life,” “Transform your life,” “Overcome your fears,” “Live a life you love,” “Learn to have more self-love,” “Self-sabotage,” “Realize your potential,” “Life by design,” “Earn more money.”
Now – that’s not to say these phrases are wrong. Nor is it to say that they aren’t useful. It all depends how it is said. Whether it is said from the mouth of someone who is comfortable in their own skin. Or whether it is said from someone who is trying to wear someone else’s.
The former holds power, tremors the hearts of the audience, and has each and every individual feeling like they were meant to be there.
The latter turns powerful phrases, to nonsensical noise. Simply by mimicking behaviours of other ‘gurus’ who motivate them, rather than drawing on their own inspiration. Not saying we can’t learn from them. Simply – I do not recommend getting drawn to be a ‘blind follower.’
Are you positioning yourself as background noise in your client’s eyes?
Examples on facebook – if it is a male coach, his advertisement online will have a picture of him with a whiteboard or flipchart, or on some beachy location (e.g. Bali or similar exotic south-east Asian location) preaching the whole “live your life by design” thing. If it is a female life coach, she will either be doing something similar, or standing on her head in a yoga pose, with a picture of a green smoothie by her side.
I’m generalizing, I know. But I can – because the pattern is distinct. And that pattern of the majority, positions them as background noise – eventually, even if they get initial results.
Now I’m not saying their intentions and service are not of value – that would be too harsh a judgement. What I’m saying is – they simply might not understand branding. It’s not something that is properly taught. And as a result, it might be doing an injustice to the value they bring.
It is wiser to draw on something that runs deep inside, and is a culmination of the complexities that define the unique individuals they are.
I personally had to sort and sift through the industry to finally discover the right mentors to learn from – and that journey involved an investment of over US$35,000. I’m not asking you to invest the same – it’s just I was serious (and curious) about getting to the right sources.
You are already distinct. How are you aligning your uniqueness with your target market?
So on the topic of being authentic, let us first notice the obvious – everyone is different people by divine law. We have different tones of voice, physical looks, pace to the way we live, and poise to the way we stand.
Everyone, including you, is already of distinction.
The only difference is – whether you are of distinction by choice. And that leads to authenticity.
The solution? Simple – spend more time and energy to know yourself, and align yourself with what comes most naturally to you.
What do you do with such ease, that you don’t consider of distinction? What inspires you? What do you dream about and talk about all the time?
Rather than trying to be someone else, you can consciously take the cumulative sum of your unique life’s experiences, acknowledge their value, and present them as accurately as possible.
“Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everyone has experiences, natural talents, and passions that when combined – are of distinction. It takes a great degree of introspection and self-inquiry. Branding for authenticity and distinction is primarily a personal growth journey.
What difference does it make when your branding comes from a place of authenticity?
The result? It is the difference between Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the standard dream home in outer suburbia.
It is the reason Apple and Oprah Winfrey are of distinction – and the common coach or entrepreneur is pigeon-holed as following in their footsteps. “Just another entrepreneur,” “Just another coach,” “Self-proclaimed expert,” “Self-help guru,” or “just one of them.”
The market coins brands as distinct and authentic, to the degree that they act in alignment with what is innate. In strength, passion, talent and experience.
“Your brand is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself, but what the company does.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com
Branding, personal development and diving deep into yourself to find your inner genius and true passion are some of my favourite topics. Get quality content to your inbox by signing up for my newsletter below.
Until next time,
~ Jon Low