“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde.
This is my favourite quote. It speaks to me on the importance of being authentic. The world needs you to be you. If you aren’t you, then who will accomplish all the amazing things you are meant to accomplish? Who will make the difference to other people’s lives that you are meant to make?
Being authentic can sometimes be a struggle. In life, one of our basic human needs is to fit in, to belong, to connect to others, to find some common ground. On my personal journey through life so far, I have pretended to be someone I’m not many times, just to ‘fit in’. During these times, I felt anxious and tense. I operated from a constant fear of being discovered as a fake. My life didn’t flow, everything was a struggle.
Being Authentic in the Virtual World
Since starting my virtual assistant business in 2015, I have come across the importance of being authentic so many times. There are references to it everywhere. The modern world, for most of us, is lived on social media. We are constantly reminded of how social media can either make or break us personally and professionally. I like to post business-related items alongside funny personal stories, inspirational quote memes, items that generally interest me and of course, cute animal pictures. An example of a funny story I would share is this one:
Guess what happened to me at the supermarket today? As I was putting my grocery shopping into my car, a bottle of wine fell through the bottom of one of the bags and smashed on the floor! The really funny part to me about the whole scenario is that, at the moment, I am attempting to watch the calories and bought a low alcohol bottle of wine. I figured the universe was telling me to either not bother at all or to just buy the good stuff. Who else has this happened to?
I believe that by sharing a story like this, it shows the human side to me, others are able to relate to me and will hopefully feel encouraged to share their own similar stories. Conversation is created, connections are made, and your business is advanced. It’s truly wonderful.
How to Discover Your Authentic Self
So how do you discover your authentic self? You could start by getting to know yourself better. Sounds obvious, I know. Figure out what you love about yourself, what your strengths and talents are. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers what they most love about you, as how you see yourself can sometimes differ from how others see you.
Another suggestion is to think of a time in your life where everything just flowed easily and effortlessly, then think about why this was. What were you doing in life at this time? Where did you live at this time? Who were you hanging about with at this time? I understand it’s not always possible to replicate the exact same circumstances, but this exercise may just help you figure out some of what truly makes you tick. Once you understand more about yourself, simply operate from this place. My guess is that you already know where in your life you are being authentic, and where you are not.
Putting Yourself Out There!
At the end of 2015, I made a decision to fully step into and embrace all aspects of myself and put it out there for the world to see. I started sharing more content based upon my beliefs. I initially did this on my personal Facebook page and the response I received was phenomenal. I started making connection after connection with like-minded people who ‘got me’ and liked me for me. No hard sell, no pressure, no fake, no anxiety or knot in my stomach. I began to foster relationships based upon who I truly am, and I found it liberating. Some people may have unfriended or unfollowed me, that’s OK. I now fully understand that I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me, and this is a lesson to remember when entering a client/virtual assistant relationship.
To summarise, being authentic means you walk your talk. It represents your truth. It supports your beliefs, aims, and objectives. It’s also important to be consistently authentic across all platforms. Be authentic at work, on the playground, at the gym. Step into your authenticity and be truly fabulous you, after all, everyone else is already taken.
How do you stay authentic in a virtual space? Comment below!
Learn more about Jo's business here!