The word “authentic” is so overused it’s almost become a cliché. But maybe that’s because authenticity is so important. People like genuine. Genuine builds trust.
But being yourself can be tricky.
When I blog for my clients, I find it easy to capture their voice. Maybe it’s because I’m on the outside looking in. I can see who they are and what their business is about.
Writing my own blog is harder. I’m constantly on the lookout to check I’m being me, and not trying to be somebody else.
People crave authenticity and they get a feel for someone who isn’t genuine.
A couple of years ago I started buying a particular brand of breakfast cereal. It cost a bit more than the usual stuff but I liked the company’s ethos, and the rustic packaging implied a small, funky business.
One morning, while reading the back of the packet, something struck me. Everything about the box suddenly seemed a bit try hard. A bit too perfectly healthy and ethical.
A quick google search later and my illusions were shattered – my funky little cereal company was owned by the big boys.
Now, I still buy the cereal occasionally, but I don’t feel quite so good about it. I had filed it in the box with “things I buy that make me a better person”, along with eco washing up liquid and recycled paper. Now it’s in the box marked “things I buy because I like the taste”.
I feel a bit let down. My cereal was pretending to be something it wasn’t.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
What about you? Are you being yourself?
Photograph by Ara Pehlivanian