Being ‘authentic’ in business today is really about being yourself. Nothing fancier or more complex than that. People buy from people they like or feel some connection with. When I first read the post below by Melissa Doran, it struck a big chord. She talks about her experience of what it means to be truly yourself in business.
Melissa owns a digital media company called Go Radiate. Her post below was first featured on the Digiwomen blog. She has kindly allowed me to share it with you here.
“As the youngest of seven, being called sensitive when growing up was never exactly a compliment. When I started my business I was very conscious of working against my sensitive side and toughening up to be ready for the business world. I read lots of articles about making pitches, how to sell, how to network, and I thrust myself into the so called “business mindset”. I tried to follow the advice of successful sales people and failed miserably.
I finally realised that all these techniques and philosophies, though they can work well for many people, were to me the equivalent of reading Cosmopolitan Sex Tips for Girls: interesting in themselves but in no way taking into consideration that fact that every partnership is different and completely overlooking the main element involved: making a meaningful connection with someone.
When I pushed too hard it felt like I was coming from a place of fear, trying to hold on, instead of coming from a place of confidence, what my mother would describe as “standing my ground”. As I let the business facade fall away and became gentler, more like my everyday self, I was able to attract clients that were perfect for me, clients that I could connect better with. Once I stopped comparing myself to the cliched image of a businessman and remembered that a, I am a business woman, and b, I am unique, I became more confident and my business began to slowly blossom.
I began to understand that my sensitivity wasn’t a weakness to be hidden away, but was in fact one of my greatest assets, helping me to build relationships with the people around me. In my work as a web-designer it helps me to listen to my clients and tune in to how they want their brand to be portrayed, and helps me read between the lines to draw out powerful details about themselves that they might not have considered before. In my work as a teacher, I need to be gentle with my students who may have made a big leap to even come in to the classroom to try out learning a new skill. And as a children’s illustrator and writer (still in the works!) I need to tap into my sensitive inner six year old and remember how I saw the world when I was small, so that kids will get a kick out of my stories and drawings.
I would like to read a business guide book that tells you that you don’t need to change personality to become an entrepreneur. You don’t have to ramp up your masculine side. Digiwomen have a head start on the feminine side but its equally relevant for men too. Forget the stereotypes and present yourself to the world as yourself, emotions and all, and watch as your business grows.”
Melissa, thanks for letting me share this article. I know that many people will relate to what you’re saying.
When it comes to business, it’s not about being perfect at all. Real people are much more interesting, don’t you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts; why not leave a comment below?
Connect with Melissa online:
Read the original post on the DigiWomen website