As business owners it can feel like we are stuck in a cycle of being told who we are or should be. It’s simple right? Just be yourself! We have to ask ourselves as we scroll through news feeds, is my perception your reality?
As the next wave of trends and concepts rolls around with heady anticipation, we are constantly being asked to set goals, plan, adhere to our New Year’s resolution, embrace technology, maintain accountability, leverage your brand (identity), do more, do less, and be authentic! Now there’s nothing wrong with all of this but one question I hear all the time when working with my clients and one I believe you need to ask yourself is:
“Who am I?”
It can be so easy to lose yourself in all the hype & latest buzz words that you simply reflect what everyone perceives you as and not as who you really are. This is as true for you as an individual as it is for your business. Well, now is your opportunity to strip it back. Start simply with a pad & pen (or digital device if it’s your preference).
How do you think people perceive you?
List out all those characteristics that you think people see in you when you interact with them. Now this list may get exhaustively long and it should include the good and the not so good (bad). This is not an exercise you necessarily do on your own but putting the list together can be a very cathartic experience. Just remind yourself this is how other people see you not necessarily how you want to be perceived!
Are you championing your values & staying true to yourself?
How does what you do everyday reflect what you care about? Look at an average working day & ensure you are projecting the real you – not the person everyone thinks you are – in everything you do. From small interactions within your business or role to external interactions with clients and colleagues, infuse those key traits that are critical to reflecting who you are.
It may seem overwhelming at first but if you have been able to truly identify your core personality traits it soon becomes second nature. If you make a habit of calling yourself on behaviour that is not true to those core traits, people will soon see who the real you is and come to appreciate your transparency.
Lay your values out for everyone to see!
Why hide what you believe in? I have news for you! Unless you have a significant audience, the world isn’t hanging by its fingertips waiting for you to announce this. In fact, you have to work hard to get this message out with occasionally little response. Be patient & consistently speak your language about who you are & what you believe in.
See your interactions with others like a mirror. Recognise what you value in them is a reflection of your own values and personality traits and shout it from the rooftops!
Got it all figured out already?
I challenge you to do the exercise anyway! We adapt and evolve to the continually changing world & environment we live & work in. Expanding your knowledge can influence all of these things.
Look at Oprah for example. A woman dubbed the ‘Queen of All Media’, who is said to be “North America’s first multi-billionaire black person”, according to an article published in Forbes. Oprah couldn’t have endured over 30 years in the media industry without evolving her identity from talk show host to CEO of “OWN” (Oprah Winfrey Network). Her core values never diminished either, as she continues to this day to promote the confession culture which first brought her so much attention on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’.
Finally, people need people.
Hold in high esteem those people that truly bring out the best in you, rather than a misconceived perception. They will continually encourage you to share your core values with others.
Use all the mechanisms you can to showcase you! So if you need help, just ask. It can be hard to cut out the white noise; an external voice can simplify the process & help you to connect to who you really are.