Communicating Values to Find Your Tribe (Power of Authenticity)
When I first started my business, I didn’t really think about the fact that I was a CEO. But soon after having this “realization,” I felt like I was inundated with messages about what a CEO was and wasn’t…how they look, how they dress, how they talk. And the thing is, I am NOT a person who fits the stereotype I grew up with about what CEOs looked like. (News flash, it was the 80s, and they were pretty much white men in business suits!) As a female, I already felt like I was different from the norm…but add the wild (often bright-colored in some way) hair and visible tattoos and I REALLY felt like a fish out of water! Almost immediately, my mind started filling with thoughts of how I could appear more “CEO-like.” Speak like a professional. Cover your tattoos in certain situations. Choose clothing that is more business-like. Wear your hair pulled back and controlled. Don’t curse. These may seem like a small number of simple commandments, but they really all boiled down to one big message: STOP BEING YOU.
The thing is, the more I tried to “be a good “CEO,” the further away I got from my true, authentic self. The result? I wasn’t able to truly connect or resonate with anyone…including myself! Eventually, I gave up the idea that I had to be a certain way and embraced who I am. And you wanna know the crazy thing? I think people love me for it! That’s right…the weird, quirky parts of me that I felt “didn’t fit” seemed to be THE thing that people appreciated most.
You see, whether we realize it’s happening or not, we are constantly being socialized by the world in a variety of ways, both directly in the things we are told about what we should or shouldn’t say or do as well as indirectly by the messages we receive from our families, through the media, etc. about what a “good women” is or isn’t. Unfortunately, this constant socialization can keep us from showing up as our most authentic selves…which is the very thing that helps us build connection! The result? We may connect with people on a cursory level, but if we’re not staying true to ourselves, then we are not giving them the opportunity to TRULY know us. And without knowing us, other people can never truly love and accept us for who we are. Sounds kind of depressing, right? But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be! We are PERFECTLY CAPABLE of showing up as our truest, most authentic selves…even if we’ve been socialized to believe that who we are “isn’t enough.” In fact, it is in the showing up, both for ourselves and for others, where our power lies!
The idea that we “don’t fit in” is a common one among women. Often we compare ourselves to others and focus more on how we are different than what we have in common. The thing is, these comparisons often happen at the most surface level, which means they are often either flat out wrong…or they leave out the most important parts of ourselves, the things that exist deeper inside than what we can see from a cursory review of what’s on the surface. In order to TRULY know whether a person is someone we can connect with in a deeper, more authentic way, we have to understand who they are at their core: what their values are, why those things are important to them, and how they live into those things on a day-to-day basis. And the ONLY way we can do that is by being willing to share that part of ourselves…even when it feels hard, intimidating, or uncomfortable.
Wondering how you might make this shift in your own life? I’d love to hop on a call and see how I can help!