You will never be very good (or, at least, as good as you could be) at being someone else.
I don’t mean to discourage you. Quite the opposite, actually. I want to encourage you to do the much easier work of being yourself—and showing up as yourself, in every facet of your life, including your business.
Brené Brown, researcher, professor of social work, and vulnerability’s biggest fan, has a lot to say on this subject. She encourages all of us to show up and let ourselves be seen in our life and in our work—and with good reason. According to Brené, being vulnerable is the only way to live a meaningful life, with a full and open heart and meaningful connections.
That’s easy enough to understand (if not so easy to practice) in our personal lives. But can we do that at work? In our businesses? With our customers? For most of us—myself included—our businesses are our livelihood. We feel we have to appear perfect and in control and as if we have it all together all the time, or else who would want to purchase what we have to provide?
Those are all fair questions and fears. I have asked and felt them, too. But, in my many years as an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that authenticity always wins. In showing up as your true, authentic self—allowing for both the good and the bad, highlighting both your wins and your failures—you let people truly see you, and you’re able to connect and serve more deeply than you ever thought possible.
And there’s a pretty awesome biz-related side effect, too: The more YOU that shows up in your business, the more easily YOUR right people can find you. Sure, there are going to be people who are like: “I’m actually all good, thanks.” (God willing they’re that polite, especially on the Internet.) But that’s a good thing! Not all people are YOUR people.
By being vulnerable—by being wholly and authentically YOU in your business and your work—you very easily and very quickly figure out who should stay or who should go. (Actually, even more conveniently, they tend to figure it out for you.)
And in this age of the Internet, where people can find thousands of copywriters, and millions of web designers, and more than one beautiful print planner (ahem) at the click of a mouse, the only thing that sets you apart is…you.
Through her research, Brené came up with 10 guideposts for “wholehearted living”, or what she calls “cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’”
- cultivating authenticity by letting go of what people think
- cultivating self-compassion by letting go of perfectionism
- cultivating creativity by letting go of comparison
How often do you hold on, white-knuckled, to these three ways of being in your business (and your life): caring what people think, pursuing perfectionism, comparing your missteps with her Instagram feed? What if you could show up in your business with creativity, self-compassion, and authenticity instead?
Wouldn’t that feel better, easier, truer for you? Imagine how experiencing that you might feel for everyone around you, too—your loyal employees and customers included.
So, I encourage you to stop following your competitor’s example. Create your own, showing up as yourself where it matters most—around the people you love, of course, but also around those customers and clients who are out there waiting to love the real you…and your business.