The Downside of Authenticity

The Darkside ofBeing real comes with a price. You have to be willing to strip away everything false in order to let everyone see you as you are.

Most people are not ready for that. Showing the world who you are can lead to rejection. To having clients leave. To having people criticize you for daring to state unpopular opinions.

That’s what we talk about when we talk about authenticity. Brene Brown’s studies in vulnerability have been part of this surge to strip away the artifice and get down to it.

But are you ready for it? Really ready?

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

We live in a culture where we’re programmed to fit in. To buy what we’re told we should buy. To follow trends and celebrities and not deviate from the accepted norm. So how do you make the leap into authenticity under those conditions?

When I started my business, the idea was to pretend to have a bigger company than you really had. You were to say “we” and not “I.”  After a while that flipped and it became the thing to be yourself without filters or pretense. Build a brand around yourself and your interests.

I’m all for that. but at the same time, has authenticity become just another burden? Are we marching to the beat of yet another rule to be followed?

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” – Brené Brown

For entrepreneurs, reinvention is a constant state of being. Seems that every other newsletter I receive contains a missive from a business owner who’s about to switch to a whole new thing. Even business owners who’ve only recently changed their logos, tag lines, websites etc. are already revamping.

It’s sort of like how the movie franchise reboot cycle seems to be shorter and shorter. Every couple of years here comes the new, improved version of a character. Like someone hit the reset button and it stayed pressed.

Photo Credit: Andrew B47 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Andrew B47 via Compfight cc

If you’ve been in business for 5 or more years, chances are you’re wondering if it’s time for a restart.

Have things become too staid? Should you change your website, your marketing, your products?

What’s the new thing? What are people expecting now? Should you chase the hot new thing?

I’ve had my Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ podcast for almost 7 years. When I started it was a novelty of sorts. Now (from what I’ve read) podcasting is the hot “new” thing.

Entrepreneurs can end up running in circles searching for a viable business idea. What used to work might seem stale now. So you start searching for the thing that will turn it all around.

Which brings me back to authenticity. On the plus side, being authentic is an advantage because when you’re being yourself, you have no competition. Standing out in your field becomes easier when  you’re no longer one of many.

“Why try to be someone you’re not? Life is hard enough without adding impersonation to the skills required.” -Robert Brault

But if you’re leaping on the bandwagon  because it’s the hot, new, hip thing–and you’ve got to pretend to be what you think it means to be authentic–maybe you should think again.  If it’s real, people will pick up on it. They’ll just know. And if it’s not, they’ll pick up on that too.

At the end of the day, you can’t fake realness.It’s not like buying a faux designer purse and passing it off as the real thing. You can’t fake your way to being authentic.

Recently I was listening to the audio version of Maya Angelou’s book,  Heart of a Woman. She narrated this book and it described a part of her life when she raised her son, married and moved to another continent. She was real, honest and raw at times. Unflinching about presenting the truth of her life, she didn’t stop at sharing the good and the bad.

Obviously she wasn’t trying to write a feel-good book filled with sanitized experiences. And in her honesty, I could connect with the woman behind the words. (Which is why her passing affected so many so deeply and why people felt like they knew her when they didn’t.)

Realness. Authenticity. I’m going to tell my story even if it hurts. Even if it’s messy. Even if what I say is hard to hear.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

For business owners,  if we don’t find a way to stand out, how can we ever line up with our ideal clients? It takes courage to be out there as we are, without the protective covering and the slick packaging. To be raw and honest.

That’s what authenticity really is. Not a buzzword or yet another false face to hide behind. It takes courage. But there are rewards. You’ll connect with people who are hungry for what you have to deliver. They’ll relate to you because they’ll pick up on your honesty. They’ll know that you’re giving them something real.

 

Book Review: You Can Write–Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction by Kelli A Wilkins

You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing FictionYou Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction by Kelli A. Wilkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book isn’t just for beginning writers, it has something for writers at every stage. With sections such as Meet the muse, Excuses, Ideas, Characters, Marketing, etc, whatever you’re looking for, there’s something here to learn from.

I have a lot of writing books, and some of them deliver on their promises, some don’t. But this book breaks down the writing process and shares tips and tricks to help you to learn and grow.

No matter where you are on your journey as a writer, you’ll get something out of this book. I highly recommend it as a reference and as a way to inspire and encourage you to move past writing blocks, and tap into your creativity.

Even if you aren’t interested in writing novels or short stories, no doubt you use storytelling in your marketing and promotions. So if you’ve ever felt that your writing needed a boost, or was too formal or stiff–give this book a try.

Everything I Know about Success I Learned from The Wizard of Oz.

Everything I Know about SuccessThe “The Wizard of Oz” is one of my favorite movies.

For those not as familiar, Dorothy is restless and looking for a place “over the rainbow.” She longs for more than she’s finding on the farm with her aunt and uncle.

When her pet, Toto is in danger of being taken away, she runs away to find the other life she’s been dreaming of.

Ultimately when the tornado comes up she returns home, only to end up whisked away over the rainbow to the Land of Oz.

The Journey

In Oz she meets Glinda, The Good Witch, The Wicked Witch of the West and the other cast of characters including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion.

Dorothy’s journey through Oz reflects her desire to have more excitement in her boring life on the farm.  When she’s dropped in Oz, the movie goes from sepia-toned black & white to color – showing how her world has changed completely into something more exciting and magical.

It’s all fun when the Munchkins reward her for flattening the witch with her house, but the witch’s sister – the infamous Wicked Witch – crashes the party. Demanding to get the ruby slippers, she’s not happy to find Dorothy wearing them. From that point on, Dorothy’s journey will be perilous. Even surrounded by her new companions, she’s in danger as they travel to Oz to meet with the Wizard.

The Wizard

The catch here is that the Wizard really has no powers – other than smoke and mirrors. He’s a fake, considered a powerful wizard by the citizens of Oz, but having no power to help Dorothy return home. He got to Oz by accident – just as Dorothy did.

surrenderHowever, the Wizard does have the insight to recognize that the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and the Lion only need to believe in themselves. They don’t really need the qualities they’ve been searching for – they already have them.

So what can we learn from this wonderful story? Dorothy’s not satisfied with the status quo, so when she ends up in this strange place, she’s ready for adventure.

At the same time, just as we don’t see how powerful we really are, neither does Dorothy or her companions. Dorothy believes that the Wizard can help her to return to her home, not realizing she can return at any time simply by clicking her heels together.

The Wicked Witch

Throughout her journey she’s tested and pursued by the Wicked Witch who wants her ruby slippers. She defeats the Witch, who seemed all-powerful and yet was destroyed by water. Then in the end Glinda reveals that Dorothy had the power within to return to her home – power that even the great Wizard didn’t possess.

We may be tested in our pursuit of our dreams and feel as though we have to find the guru who has the right answer. We may travel through the perilous land of not having enough money, or enough support or not knowing what to do next. We may believe that we have no power or don’t know enough. In the end, it is up to us to believe in ourselves and our vision.

What I’ve found is that you can read all of the books, go to seminars and spend thousands of dollars looking for the “answer.” Sure, I’ve learned from many of those sources, but in the end, it was up to me to find the power within myself.

When we put our trust in wizards and stop listening to our inner guidance, we may never connect with what we really desire.

Glinda saysGlinda

Glinda guides Dorothy, yet does not give her the answers – or reveal that the Wizard in not a real wizard. She lets Dorothy discover for herself that she can return home – to her source.

I believe that we each have something to express and share with the world. If we’re not connected to those desires (and if we don’t trust ourselves) we may never bring those things to life.

There may be powerful forces around us that we can tap into, but in order to have success we must acknowledge our own power.

 

When You Want to Leave but You’re Afraid to Lose it All

When You Want to  LeaveBack when I was in corporate I had a 4-hour round-trip commute everyday.

One day I was on the express train into NYC. Surrounded by other commuters, there were so many people in my car that I couldn’t lift my arm up to read my book.

Unable to move or do anything but endure the 40-minute ride, I made the decision.

I was done with this commute and done with corporate IT. After years of wanting to leave,  but being afraid to make the step, I was finally ready to quit.

I picked a date on the calendar, and made the decision, That day would be my last day as a full-time corporate employee.

By that point I was fed up and disgusted with my job and the lack of advancement. I didn’t care what I was giving up. I just wanted out.

A lot of the time we don’t call it quits until we’re too tired, too fed up, or too exhausted to do anything else. Instead of making a decision to make a fresh start, we wait and think, and wait and think, and think again.

We ask our friends, talk about it with anyone who will listen. We suffer through it and hope that things will get better without our having to change anything.

If you decide to go, what will you have to give up?

After I’d made my decision to leave corporate IT, a lot of emotions started coming up. My identity for a lot of years had been tied to my work as a computer programmer. What would I be once I walked away? How would I define myself?

It’s always better not to get to the point where you’re ready to run away screaming.But the fear of losing everything is a good motivator to stay in place and take it. Not to mention, if you’ve got possessions and responsibility, walking away isn’t so easy.

I’d like to say you can make a fresh start and it’ll be painless. But it won’t be.

Photo Credit: Chris JL via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Chris JL via Compfight cc

And you won’t realize just how attached to your situation you are until you’re forced to leave it. Even if it sucks, there’s a strange comfort in knowing what to expect.

Making a change doesn’t have to mean throwing everything out the window. Can you take it slowly? Take one step, then another and another.

Even if you take it slow, you will have to get used to a new normal. Things will change. But change doesn’t automatically mean losing all the things you want to keep.

However, some things you want to keep right now aren’t serving you. You just might not see that yet because you’re still attached.

Are you going to have to give up some things to let other things in? Most likely.

Will it hurt? Possibly. Depends on how ready you are to let go of what isn’t working anymore.

And you won’t know that until you decide to make a change.

 

 

 

Is it Time to Walk Away from Your Business? 3 Pieces of Advice

Time to Walk Away“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.” – Ella Fitzgerald

Back when I was in corporate I would get what I called the “Sunday night blues.” As the day would go on, I’d have more and more anxiety.

It didn’t matter how much fun I’d had, or how relaxing the day had been, by 7:00 pm my stomach would be in knots. Just the thought of returning to a job I hated on Monday morning was enough to ruin half my weekend.

Unfortunately, as a business owners you might be going through similar things. But instead of getting the blues at the end of the weekend, you might get the dreaded 3:00 am blues.

It happens when you wake up in the middle of the night gripped by fear. All the emotions you’ve been keeping locked down during the day start flooding in.

When you’re vulnerable and half-awake, suddenly all you can think about is what’s not in your bank account. Or how your latest product launch fizzled. Or how exhausting it is to work night and day on a dream of business that’s become a total nightmare.

The good thing is the 3:00 am blues usually passes. And when it’s time to go out in the world you pull yourself together, smile and pretend nothing’s wrong.

You keep hustling and hope that something breaks before you completely break down.

What happens if you can’t make it work? What happens if you risk everything to pursue this dream and you end up losing it all?

Not sure if it’s time to stay or go? Close your business, shut the doors and start looking for a JOB?

Before you decide, here are three things to try:

1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Business Owners

Give yourself a break. Even if everyone else seems to be happy and successful with no problems, that’s far from the truth. There are no overnight successes.

No matter what their PR says, everyone has had to go through rough places in their business. Sleepless nights, self-doubt and soul-numbing fear. If that’s what you’re going through, you’re not alone.tEREUy1vSfuSu8LzTop3_IMG_2538

2. Get Back to Basics

Why did you want to go into business in the first place? Have you forgotten your “why?” Did you get sidetracked from your original idea?

It’s okay to change direction if you’re not where you want to be. Stop and take stock of your situation.

3. What Action Can You Take Right Now?

Instead of getting stuck in an endless loop of thinking without action, take a step right now. What is the best action you can take at this time?

When you’re confused and frustrated, it’s easy to lose the ability to make any decision.

So you either jump from thing to thing looking for the magic pill that will make everything better, or throw up your hands and give up entirely.

If you’re almost at the point of no return, and want support (and tips to help you decide if this is the right time to walk away) click here: http://eepurl.com/bnDMQ1 to get access to my free ebook: “Ready to Break Up with Your Business? Three Things to Do Before You Call it Quits!”

Here’s some feedback from an entrepreneur who gave the ebook a test drive: “I can’t tell you how much clarity this booklet gave me, when you are at a crossroads with your business, you need someone to talk too, an impartial party and have a checklist of how to approach your problem, and this booklet nails it!” – Kerry H.

It could be time for a fresh start. Or maybe you only need a fresh perspective. Now is the time to find out.

Copyright © 2015 Deborah A. Bailey
Slider Photo Credit: nicola.albertini via Compfight cc

The Purpose Driven Marketing Summit

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewing an author on the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast and we were discussing the challenges of writing and publishing. One thing we both could agree on was how publishing your book is only the beginning. Marketing is the real challenge.

Whether you’re an author, or a coach looking to get the word out about a launch, or a small business owner, you know how important it is to connect with your ideal client/customer. Without them, you don’t have a business.

But with all the conflicting information on how to accomplish that, what should you do first?

That’s why I was excited to participate in this free audio series. Designed specifically for coaches, authors, speakers and consultants, this series covers four main topic areas: marketing, products, mindset and purpose.

16 speakers (including yours truly) will be sharing their expertise and some free gifts as a thank you for registering.

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Click on the link below to get started and get access to proven strategies and gifts to grow your business & make a bigger impact!

http://purposedrivenmarketingsummit.com

Book Review: The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

The Art of WorkThe Art of Work by Jeff Goins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Those looking for the work they were meant to do, will find a meaningful guide in The Art of Work. Not the usual book about how to follow your dream, author Jeff Goins shows that your calling isn’t a destination, but steps on a life-long journey. Giving examples of others who have found their calling in various ways, he shows the reader that success is rarely if ever a straight line. And the definition of success can vary depending on the person. Being on your path and living your purpose may include a red carpet and all the external trappings of success, or it may be a much simpler life outside of the spotlight. It all depends on the person.

The book includes sections which divide the chapters into Preparation, Action and Completion, and detail the journey through answering the call, becoming the apprentice, practice, mastery and ultimately legacy. In the introduction, Goins makes clear that he’s not referring to finding your dream job, but finding your vocation–which is your calling. It’s not just about showing up at a job and going through the motions, but stepping into the work you were meant to do. The thing that fits you, fills your dreams and your desires.

As the old way of working disappears, taking with it things like job security and pensions, a new way of looking at the work you were born to do has emerged. As Goins observes, with longer lifespans, it’s no longer a matter of your work life ending at retirement. A calling isn’t about punching a clock, it’s how you express yourself in the world.

Sometimes you know what you’re called to do, or you may discover it after a set-back, a loss, or a course correction. Based on what Goins calls, an ancient path followed by master craftsmen and artisans, it’s not meant to be a blueprint that everyone must follow exactly. Instead he urges the reader to be open to what shows up, and be mindful of how you respond to it. You may be led to places you never expected, and discover that all along you were being led where you were supposed to be.

He’s also included an Appendix with items such as, “Your First Steps Down the Path,” “Seven Signs You’ve Found Your Calling,” and “Next Steps.” No matter your age or stage of life, you’ll find something here to guide and support you along your life’s journey.

Author Q&A: “How Will You Create Positive Change” by Leah Oviedo

Title: “How Will You Create Positive Change”, book one in a series.

About the Author: Leah Oviedo is an author of 6 books, self-defense instructor, fundraiser, long time volunteer and community activist with a passion for equality, community involvement and access to information. She founded the Change is Up To You Project in 2012 to promote and support those who are being the change they want to see. Her volunteer career includes environmental and social issues for several organizations.

About the Book:

This is the first book in a series that encourages people to solve problems and create sustainable solutions in their communities. Sixteen amazing people from around the world have shared successful stories of how they created positive change in their communities.

Each interview includes a blueprint for how they took action, what obstacles they overcame, and advice on how everyone can be an active participant in creating a better world. These agents of change are championing for human rights, education, health, environmental sustainability, ending violence, eradicating poverty, mentoring youth, improving their communities, and inventing products that create a better world. They are different genders, skin colors and ages who live in different countries and have different beliefs. What they share in common is taking action.

Leah is stopping by the blog today to talk about her book and share an excerpt!

Deborah Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, Leah! What inspired you to come up with the idea for your book?

Leah Oviedo: Glad to be here! As an avid volunteer for various organizations over the past 15 years I wanted to highlight the amazing work that is being done across the globe. I was tired of reading so much negativity in magazines and online and noticing how major media outlets focus on bad news much more than good. Prior to creating the idea I was working on personal development and practicing ‘being the change I want to see’. So this book series gives free promotion for all who participate

Deborah: Were there any challenges in writing this book?

Leah: Since all the books in this series contain interviews with people from around the globe and are all done via e-mail, it’s challenging to gather the interviews. For those who procrastinate or forget I may have to follow up 3 or 4 times before they actually send it to me. In this first book, one person who I really wanted to include and who expressed interest actually contacted me the day I published the book so her interview was not included.

Deborah: So many people out there want to write a book. Any tips to share with someone who wants to be published?

Leah: I self-published all six of my books so the most important advice if you choose that route is to hire a talented, experienced editor and go for it! There are various publishing platforms to use. I chose Amazon because of the high profit margin, the ease of self-publishing and the many tools they offer can help your book get noticed. There is a lot of advice to market your book online and most of it offers very little return for the tie and work invested.. You will sell the most books by networking throughout your community, speaking engagements and simply sharing that you wrote a book without being pushy. Research marketing ideas that work with your personality and preferences. It took me a while to be any good at public speaking, but I overcame my doubts, prepared ahead of time and had fun.

Deborah: Do you have a favorite writing environment?

Leah: Quiet places! Give me a desk and comfortable chair and I can write for hours. However I’m also inspired when I’m outside walking in nature or downtown people watching. Unexpected inspiration can happen anywhere so I always carry a pen and notebook with me to jot down notes and ideas.

Deborah: Who do you think will benefit most from reading your book?

Leah: Those who have a passion for learning about the world, who are interested in social issues, and want to get involved in their community will be inspired. Also, those who volunteer or are starting a nonprofit will learn valuable advice and find resources to help them succeed. It makes a great gift for your family member or friend who volunteers.
 

Deborah: That’s terrific. Can you share an excerpt?

Leah: Sure, Deb. Here it is:

“The role models in this book are not famous and don’t have millions of dollars. They are not politicians or CEOs of large corporations. The media doesn’t report their every move in the news, yet they are creating change that affects you, me, and billions of people. They are human rights activists, environmentalists, health activists, youth mentors, educators, innovators, and community leaders. They are different genders, ages, and skin colors. They live in different countries and have different beliefs. What they share in common is taking action to solve a problem. They consciously chose to make our world happier, healthier, safer, and accepting of others. They were not simply handed an opportunity, but instead saw problems and created solutions.

At the end of the book is information to help you take that first step and some resources to help you succeed.

My hope is this inspires you to be a force of change for good. Always remember that you are capable. Follow your passion to people and places who can guide you on your path. It has been said many times that you must actively be the change you want to see(in your personal life, community, and the world) for that change to happen. Wishing for and hoping will not make change. Learn from these amazing people. Take that first step and see what you can create.

Change is up to you.”

Deborah: What a great message. Please share where readers can your book and where they can find out more about you.

Leah: the Paperback is available on, http://www.bookemon.com/book-profile/how-will-you-create-positive-change/358925 and the E-book is available on,

http://www.amazon.com/Leah-Oviedo/e/B007LMUEJ2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Here are my website and social media links: website and blog: http://changeisup2u.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/changeisup2u

Personal website: http://leahis.com

Just want to add that in addition to marketing my own books, I love to support other authors, especially those who supported me when I started. One way I do this is a monthly reading challenge on Facebook.

Each month I select a handful of books to feature from authors I know and books I’ve read. I invite hundreds of my friends and challenge them to read new books. This both encourages readers to discover books by talented authors and introduces those authors to a larger audience.

Check out the April Readathon at: https://m.facebook.com/events/801527406594941/?ref=ts&fref=ts&__nodl

Book Review: “The Art of War for Small Business” by Becky Sheetz-Runkle

The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun TzuThe Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu by Becky Sheetz-Runkle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of advantages to running a small business over a larger one, though often small business owners may feel overwhelmed when they try to keep up with the big players. The Art of War for Small Business by Becky Sheetz-Runkle, uses “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu as its inspiration.

Sheetz-Runkle is experienced in martial arts and in business leadership, and she lends her expertise to this guide for the small business owner.

Included in her book are 12 lessons, which include directives on how to understand your market, how to understand your competition, how to build alliances and how to maintain your focus.

She’s also added examples of various successful businesses such as Five Guys, Wegmans, Samuel Adams and Paychex.

At the conclusion she’s listed key themes from The Art of War, and tied them back to actions the small business owners can take as they grow their companies. This is a reference book that readers will refer to over and over again, since these lessons are as timeless as Sun Tzu’s classic. (Received a review copy.)

Amazon Link:
The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu

How to Spend Less Time Struggling (and Make More Time for Joy)

How to Stop Struggling & Make More Time“We find what we are searching for – or, if we don’t find it, we become it.” – Jessamyn West

Have you ever wondered if there’s something you “should” be doing with your life? Perhaps the job you’ve been in for years isn’t really what you want to be doing.

The career you were once so excited about is now going nowhere. The passion you once felt for your business has burned out and now you’re reluctant to try something new.

Some people have always known what they wanted to do. But I suspect most people have no idea what would make them happy. They’ve become used to not feeling anything at all, and go through their lives like sleepwalkers.

We can spend a lot of time struggling against the current because we believe that things have to be difficult. If they’re not difficult some people will create drama to make them that way. There’s a belief that overcoming obstacles earns you extra points, and it does have a way of teaching you things that can help you in life. But, struggle for the sake of struggle is not very instructive.

There has to be a point where you ask if perhaps you’re struggling because you’re doing the wrong thing.

If you’re looking for your purpose, consider what you enjoy doing. What comes easy for you? Chances are the things that are easiest for you are related to your purpose. Is there something that people always ask you to help them with? What brings you joy? Yes, I said joy. That feeling isn’t just for special occasions.

Unfortunately so many of us are content to spend most of our lives in compromise, settling for “almost good” or “better than nothing” because we don’t feel we deserve better.

Or we’re not sure what we really want because we’re not connected to our inner needs and desires. We turn off those whispers by working too much, drinking or engaging in other behavior that will cover up our feelings of dissatisfaction.2644050292_27c471f1e5_b

Your purpose is what you say it is. It’s what makes you come alive. For years I worked in the corporate world putting in long hours and planning my career. Then one day that career path went away as changes rocked the company and put our jobs in jeopardy. I had to think about making my own decisions and not letting them be made for me by default.

It took me a while to come to terms with what I wanted, years as a matter of fact. All I had to do was let go of the struggle and listen to what had always been calling me.

Deep down you know what you want, all you have to do is get quiet and listen.

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: slimmer_jimmer via Compfight cc

From: Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.