Just being yourself. It should be the one thing that comes naturally to all of us yet is often one of the most difficult skills to achieve. Both big and little things can cause us to present who we "think" we're expected to be instead of "be" who we really are when we find ourselves in certain situations, business being one of them. There are almost always preconceived notions of "how" we are supposed to present and conduct ourselves to clients and colleagues. All I really know is that when I started my own company 11 years ago I was so busy just trying to be an entrepreneur I didn't have the time or energy to develop a professional image or persona.
To be honest I never even thought about it until one day a colleague who had been in the industry much longer then I said that she envied me. Huh? Envied me? She had a thriving business and was well respected and successful. I was an industry newbie and even after a few years was barely making it, living job to job and eating more Top Ramen then I care to recall.
So why would she be envious of me? I asked her and this (or something along these lines) was her reply:
This is me, just being me!
"Because you are one of just a few people I know who has built a business and has the respect of those who know you while just being yourself. You're fortunate. Most people aren't able to be themselves in business. Most people have to play a part to be accepted. You're just being yourself and it's working for you."
Wow. That blew my mind. I'd never actually thought about it before but her words really hit me like a ton of bricks. There I was so busy focusing on how "hard" I was working I'd never stopped to think about "how" I was presenting myself. The realization that by just being me I was being different was surprising. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. As a "creative" type I think I've always pushed the edge a bit and had the confidence to dress the way I want and to act the way I want as there aren't a lot of preconceived notions as to "how" a professional bridal accessory designer should "be." LOL
For the most part my basic philosophy has always been to be forthright and honest with people, unafraid to rock the boat a bit when needed and usually being a bit overdressed for most business functions. LOL. Being genuine means more to me then being polished both in how I present myself and when it comes to the people I connect with.
Earlier this year when I was reading a blog post about authentic entrepreneurship by Coach Joelle titled "Will the Real You Please Stand Up! I realized that that is what I am: An "Authentic Entrepreneur." I highly recommend anyone and everyone read this article.
Recently I also read a blog post by Videographer Ron Dawson titled "The Power of Being You-nique" which delved into the same topic.
I think after reading both posts you may come away with an awareness and appreciation of steps you can take to be more fulfilled in everything you do by allowing your real self to shine through.