Here at GSD Factor, we talk about our six main attributes, but I’m excited to dive into one of my favorite sub-attributes–knowing your true authentic self.
Be Confident – The power and confidence in knowing your true authentic self, knowing your voice, and speaking your truth so that you are heard. You lead by example with assertiveness, giving you a sense of empowerment and confidence.
To know and live out our true authentic self, we really need to understand, know, and love who we are. When we are confident in who we are, we give ourselves the permission and space to breathe in our true authenticity.
As children, we may be in a more natural state of knowing our true authentic self because we aren’t burdened with the opinions and projections of others over the course of many years. Where do we lose this child-likeness along the way? I’ve done a lot of spiritual and mental work throughout my life to get back to that place of knowing my true authentic self. As a mom to two tiny humans, who has done a lot of self-work, I strive to parent them with the intent of them knowing and living out their true authentic selves even at young ages.
I’m excited to introduce you to Tracy Borreson of Your Business Peeps, where they focus on helping you build an authentic personal brand online while connecting with yourself and others. Tracy and I were introduced on the Catalytic Icon Show and immediately felt the synergy in helping people find out who they are and telling their story.
Tracy, I would love to hear your high level thoughts and perspective on knowing your true authentic self.
Absolutely, Misha. I think there’s an important level of complexity to understand when we’re talking about authenticity. Firstly, it’s not a constant. The authentic YOU when you are 19 isn’t the same as the authentic YOU when you’re 38 or 67. Our personal brands are constantly in flux as we learn and grow. Therefore, what feels authentic will change throughout our lives. That doesn’t mean the previous versions of us were being inauthentic; it just means we had a different definition of “what feels right” at the time. With that being said, the process of “knowing your true authentic self” is a lifelong journey, or what I like to call, an “evolution”. Moreover, it’s important to give ourselves the permission to go on that journey of change.
Now let’s apply this idea to our adult lives. I can speak directly to the need to embrace individuality and authenticity because I’ve had to implement that ideology in almost every aspect of my life, especially professionally.
We all have unique skills and attributes that we can bring to the table. The challenge is figuring out how to make those skills evident to potential employers, clients or customers. Does your LinkedIn profile look like everyone else’s? Could your picture be one of you laughing versus standing stoic? Maybe you can use a background of a city instead of the white backdrop in your picture. What does your overview say about you? Does your personality shine through?
Now Tracy, let’s dive into showing your true authentic self in your professional brand, either on your website or on LinkedIn. What are some key tips they should focus on?
I like to think of it this way, “How can you make your digital presence a MIRROR version of you?” At the end of the day, a digital interaction with you and a live interaction with you should feel the same. First, you need to get clear on how you want people to feel when they hang out with you. Do you want them to feel supported? Challenged? Safe? Excited? Energized? Courageous? Make sure you pick words that resonate with YOU 🙂
Then, you need to start exploring how YOU create that in a digital environment. What type of interactions are fun for you? Which ones feel easy for you to do? Which GIVE you energy instead of draining your energy? This will be different for everyone. For example, I LOVE conversations. I get energy every time I’m in one (a good one anyway). So I’ve created multiple spaces on LinkedIn and inside my community that allow people to get into a conversation with me. On my website, there is only ONE call to action…a Discovery Call. It’s ALL about conversations. I closed out my email list because it wasn’t a conversation and always felt hard. All of these things are possible, if you give yourself the permission to find your way and do that.
I figured out, pretty early in my career, that in order to make a lasting impression, I needed to make sure I was different, even down to the way I meet people. I don’t just launch straight into a verbal resume-review with people. I focus more on asking them questions and finding commonalities. I truly listen to people and show them that I am interested in who they are and not just what they can do for me. People remember genuine connections, so when we finally do reconnect, it feels authentic and mutually beneficial.
Tracy, when you are coaching your clients on lasting impressions, what do you recommend most?
Figure out what you are naturally curious about, and find ways to ask questions about those things. I am naturally curious about how people see themselves, so I ask fun questions like, “If your personal brand was a pair of socks, what would it look like?” This speaks specifically to my personal brand and what I am curious about.
All of us are, by nature, curious about only certain things, so, if you’re not naturally curious about the weather, a conversation in that arena won’t stand out for you. If you are curious about how many ceiling fans someone has (This is my four-year-old son’s go-to question.), you get to learn something you are interested in, AND the person being asked will likely remember you because your question is so unique.
And one last thing when it comes to lasting impressions…a business pitch NEVER leaves one. What people remember about you is always something personal. You are also a mom. You also love Lego. You are also a Star Wars fan. You also hate pineapple on pizza (I happen to love pineapple on pizza). These are the things that create connection, and without a connection, a lasting impression isn’t possible.
Being confident is the ability to stand unmoved in your identity. It is knowing your voice and speaking your truth so that you are heard. It’s not letting others’ expectations of who you are or what role they think you should take influence your life. Be confident in who you are, and don’t diminish yourself to make others comfortable. This is your life, and the more you embrace your uniqueness, the more empowered you will feel and become. That’s when you can really start to get shit done!
Tracy, any final thoughts or advice?
Just yes, Yes, YES to the above statements about confidence. The problem is, it’s not always that easy. Our whole lives we’ve had other people’s expectations placed on us, and most people think their value is based on meeting those expectations. So what we’re talking about is a transformation. I always say owning your personal brand isn’t like turning on a light switch like you’re in the dark one day, and all of a sudden, you can just show up confidently in your authentic self. It’s a journey. Where you are is where you start. There’s no right or wrong journey for finding your personal brand and your confidence, and if you haven’t found it yet, that just means you’re still on the journey.
Just remember, there are people who see your sparkle. Those things that are unique to ONLY you. There are people who embrace them and even celebrate them, so find those people, and the journey doesn’t feel quite so hard.
Thank you Tracy for leaning into this conversation today. I think it’s so important for individuals reading this to remember that being our true authentic self is not a destination, but rather a lifelong journey as we transform and evolve as humans. There will be seasons of growing and seasons of being. Be proud of your journey to your true authentic self. We are cheering for you!