3 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way About Authenticity

mindset values Oct 19, 2021
elabotate mask - all about authenticity


Authenticity. The word we love to hate.

We always feel the need to tell others we hate the word too - "it's important to be, oh I hate this word, but, authentic".

What a strange word to hate! I get that it became a real buzz word and maybe got somewhat overused, but maybe that's because it's SO damned important!

Here are 3 lessons I've learned about authenticity throughout my own entrepreneurial journey:


1. Trying to portray yourself as someone you're not is utterly exhausting & completely unsustainable


When I started my first business I had a really fixed idea of what a ‘business woman’ looked, sounded and acted like, and I tried incredibly hard to personify that.

I wore uncomfortable clothes, understated makeup, spoke in business sound bites, chose my words VERY carefully, kept my opinions conservative, and, well, acted like a robot to be honest!

You see, I was terrified of ‘getting it wrong’. Of missing the mark. Of being outed as an imposter pretending to be a business owner.

I didn’t have the courage at first to show up as the real me. I didn’t feel good enough.

BUT I quickly realised there was no way I could keep up my ‘business woman’ persona. 90% of her just wasn’t me. I mean, my business acumen was solid, but trying to portray myself as someone I’m not, was exhausting AND distracting.

I just couldn’t do it anymore – I was starting to dislike myself.

So, I had 2 choices… either show up as the real me, or not show up at all.

That was 6 years ago, so guess which I picked!


2. Stepping into who you REALLY are online is LIBERATING… and terrifying


I resisted this at the beginning for one simple reason. I thought the real me would put off my ideal clients because I wasn’t slim.

There, I’ve said it. I was embarrassed to show the real me because all the examples of success I saw online were slim, beautiful women with perfect hair and makeup.

I was petrified of people judging me on my looks, the way I speak, my mannerisms, my loud laugh…

Interestingly, the one thing I wasn’t scared about being judged on was my work! I was 100% confident in my ability to serve my clients.

When we’re cripplingly self-conscious about how we’re portraying ourselves to our clients, our prospective clients, and our peers it’s hard to focus on our how we can serve them in the best way possible.

We constantly have one self-critical eye on our looks and our performance… second guessing how we’re ‘coming across’.

We’re committing the cardinal business sin of focussing more on ourselves than on the other person.

Trust me, when you begin to step into who you really are in your business, it transforms the way you interact with EVERYONE.

No longer distracted by the fear of your mask slipping, you’re able to be laser focussed on the other person. It’s what THEY’RE saying that matters most to you.


3. People are smart - they can sniff out fake a mile off


For a long time after the world wide web first launched, you could convince people online of almost anything!

Unless you were one of the few early adopters in the online business world, you had no idea what was real and what wasn’t online. We don’t know what we don’t know right… so if someone had a compelling argument (and a ton of flashing $ signs), for how they could turn us into a millionaires within the next hour, then our interest was piqued…

I wasted hours down the rabbit holes created by get rich quick gurus in the early days – none of which amounted to anything (obviously).

Here we are in 2021, and things have changed SO MUCH… thank goodness!

We’re all way more sophisticated in the ways of digital marketing now. If you want to sell a product or service online then you need to do it in the most ethical, transparent, and authentic way you can. Anything less will see you called out almost immediately.

Isn’t that the best news ever? It means that people like us who have only ever wanted to do business authentically, have a huge advantage right now.

In fact, the more open, transparent and REAL you are in your marketing, the more you’ll earn your target market’s trust.

People are pretty sick of fake perfection… it’s why social media posts using stock images rarely perform as well as those using real images of the creator.

Why people LOVE behind the scenes images where they get to see what your workspace looks like, what your home’s like, where you go for lunch etc… it’s sharing the real you that builds trust.

Just yesterday I felt incredibly sorry for an online service provider who was named and shamed as a ‘scammer’ for offering a free ‘pay it forward’ coaching call. Now, ok, we know it’s unlikely that she won’t have it on her agenda to tell you how you could work with her on a paid basis afterwards, but to call her out as a scam artist seems a bit strong.

But this is the online world we’re operating in now – trust is tough to build but easy to shatter.

Authenticity is non-negotiable.


So, HOW do you find the courage to be truly authentic?   


I wish it was as easy as ‘consider your higher purpose and just be authentic’… but for me it wasn’t. I had to adopt habits and strategies that gradually built my confidence to the point where I COULD put my purpose and my mission first and start showing up as the real me.

Here’s how I did it:

  • I started asking myself ‘is this what you really think?’ every time I went to post on social media. 
  • If I didn’t have something to say on a particular topic, I stopped trying to force it. 
  • I practised recording a ton of video content that never saw the light of day, but got me used to seeing myself on camera and hearing my voice. I kind of got to know myself through someone else’s eyes. This was so interesting – I’m now at a point where I can watch my live video replays and feel like I’m watching & learning from someone else! 
  • Insta stories are a good training ground – they disappear after 24 hours. 
  • I started utterly immersing myself in what the other person was saying – doing that prevents the distraction that focussing on yourself brings. 
  • I embraced the positives that going live on social media brings – no agonising over post captions... 
  • I became aware of how I spoke to myself. I started replacing self-criticism with compliments and doubts with encouragement. I got extremely mindful around this. 
  • I chose myself. As I am. I learnt that what’s possible for one is possible for all, so why not me. The real me.


If you’d like to explore your own mindset around authenticity, then you’re welcome to book a free 1-hour session with me.  (and yes, if I think we’re a good fit, I’ll tell you how you can pay to work with me some more!) 

You can book a call HERE

Suggested Listening

#056 - When you’re unapologetically you, no one is your competition. Introducing Unapologetic Retreats...

#050 - Capturing The Dazzling Truth Of Who You Are With Tamzin Merivale

#037 - What It REALLY Means To Be Authentic with Tamsin Jardinier