Being Authentic Matters

People see me as successful.

Sometimes I agree and other times I feel like I’m failing. You know, because freelancing is a bit like a roller coaster ride!

But one thing I have tried to do over these last few years on Horkey HandBook, is to try and keep it real. Because fakeness doesn’t help anyone.

But authenticity does.

What is authenticity?

According to Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of authentic (the root word of authenticity) means:

  • real or genuine (not copied or false)
  • true and accurate
  • made to be or look just like an original

I like that definition. Don’t you?

I want to be real and genuine. To be truthful and accurate. And of course, I want to be original. At our core, I think we all do.

being-authentic-matters-and-its-how-youll-win-at-businessWhat about faking it until you make it?

I think there’s some truth to this strategy.

If you don’t feel confident in your abilities – in your future success – then sometimes you need to pretend that you are. Until you get that first win under your belt anyway.

But “faking it” doesn’t mean being dishonest. It doesn’t mean padding your resume with work you actually haven’t completed. It’s more an attitude or mindset than anything else. And it’s a temporary strategy, not something you can employ long-term.

Sometimes I feel like giving up.

I ran across this quote today while reading Bill Hybels, Who You Are When No One’s Looking <– affiliate link:

These days we demand overnight stardom, overnight success, overnight growth, overnight solutions, overnight marital bliss and even overnight spiritual maturity. And if our expectations aren’t met overnight, we have a strong tendency to quit.” 

Want to know a little secret?

I still feeling like quitting some days. Yep, even me. Even while on track to accomplish my goal of grossing $250,000 this year.

Seems crazy, right?

I wouldn’t even say that I expect or strive for overnight success. But when things don’t go as well – when things get a little bit hard like they are right now – I contemplate quitting.

Because it’s easier.

And easy is attractive, right? Of course it is!

What does this have to do with business?

There are few things that highly successful people usually have in common:

  1. They don’t give up.
  2. They provide value.
  3. People like them.

Why do you think likability makes the list? I think it’s because relationships are at the core of all that we do and why we do it. And you want to see people you like succeed, right? Or maybe you want to be more like them?

So you do business with them or send business their way.

And I think that one reason people like us, is when we’re real or authentic. When we drop the false pretenses and relate on a basic human level.

When we share the good parts of ourselves. And especially when we share the not-so-great parts. Because we all want to feel normal. Loved. Understood.

#DeepThoughtsByGina 😉

I’ve done one thing right.

One thing I’ve done right is to try and be as authentic as possible in my journey as a freelance writer and webpreneur.

It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve been ridiculed, insulted and hurt.

But I’ve also met some really wonderful people. People I wouldn’t have gotten to know on the level that I have without putting some of myself out there first.

And even though the criticism along the way hurt, knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on others makes it worth it.

I just recently finished your 30 day freelance writing course I wanted to say thank you, for being generous with your knowledge, honest with your advice, and providing us newbies hope, inspiration, and a kick in the pants!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you this morning for your post. I could have left a comment but I felt I needed to be personal. I came across your work about six months into your journey. I liked you a lot but to tell you the truth I haven’t been to keep up dealing with personal issues and all. So this morning as I read one of your posts for like the first time in over a year, I felt you should know that you do more good than you probably intend to. Your positive energy is truly soothing and it reminded me that I’m free to let go of my fears. In a way, this is my thank you card for the nice gift I’ve received from you. 🙂 “

I’ve been blessed with gifts of teaching and encouragement. And when I add authenticity to the mix, it’s how I’ll win. Whatever the definition of winning really is.

Being authentic will help you win too.

When I set out to write this post, I had something else in mind. I was going to talk more about how being authentic in your pitches is especially important.

And it is. But then the rest of this came out. So I just went with it. 😉

But you know I can’t leave you without some tangible next step…

So, as you go about the rest of your day and week, I challenge you to be more authentic – to give more of yourself. The real you.

Don’t just say what you think someone wants to hear – say what you mean. And if it’s harsh, say it in love.

And when you’re putting yourself out there, be yourself. Again, not what you think someone wants in a [fill in the blank] freelancer, but who you are and who you want to be.

Why? You’ll attract the right type of clients for you. And you’ll enjoy your work more.

And who doesn’t want both of those things?

19 thoughts on “Being Authentic Matters

  1. Great post! Something I definitely believe in. When you aren’t authentic, it’s hard to remember/maintain what you are trying to be.

  2. Gina, what’s really funny is that people have always told me that they read my blog posts because I told it like it is.

    Then something happened. I changed.

    I became more business-oriented. I changed the style of my writing.

    And guess what happened? Yep. I lost readers!

    I’m always honest, however, and still tell it like it is.

    Of course, over time, my blog’s focus changed. I have a new audience now. I’ve also made a commitment to my readers to publish a post every Monday. I’ve kept this up on Wording Well for almost three years now.

    And it feels good to say this… even if my other two sites don’t get as much attention! 😉

  3. Well said, Gina…

    #DeepThoughtsByGina

    We all think about throwing in the towel sometimes. I know I do. People see what they want to see… my followers see a guy who spends half is day on cycling adventures, his spare time traveling, and good chunks of the year working part-time from the beach.

    Sounds glamorous, but folks like you and I worked hard to have this type of flexibility and freedom. There’s still a lot of blood, sweat and tears happening offline.

    It isn’t that we have any intention to be inauthentic… but it’s always easier to talk about our wins and successes, isn’t it?

    The real question is always, “What’s next?”

    I know I ponder that a lot these days.

    I have no intention to give up on my freelancing work — but I need a new challenge to keep me busy. And I’m trying to decide what that challenge will be.

    Great topic for a post, Gina. Keep up the good work.

    Brent

  4. I find your posts so inspiring and this one really hit home. While working full-time, I’m also creating two new websites and have been stuck on how to present the About Me section without sounding canned. Now I know — just be me! Thanks for all you do. You have a great site and terrific content!

  5. You’ve been ridiculed and insulted? I didn’t know that :-/ Thank you for sharing that, I’ve been feeling a little sad and sorry for myself lately and I didn’t know you went through these hardships. Honestly, it makes me feel less alone when you share what you’ve gone through so thank you.

    • Yeppers – it comes with putting yourself out there and trying to do big things I guess. It sucks, but so far has been worth it! Appreciate your comment Lila – keep on keeping on!

  6. This is a great post. And yes, sometimes I also feel like quitting. I don’t, because to me, quitting is not the easy option. Because what else am I going to do? It’s not that I don’t have other skills. I have. I made my resume so that I’ll have something to fall back on if writing doesn’t work out. But none of the other possibilities make me happier despite how freaking hard writing can be sometimes. So I keep going. 🙂 (I’ve tried the full time job; I’m so not cut out for it.)

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