A while back, when attempting to create a new webpage and expand my career, I was going back and forth between slogans and phrases I wanted to use as my brand.
And then, someone schooled me. They told me very clearly that my brand was me. Not some cute phrase, not a quirky quote, not a subtle hint…but me. Moi. Jean Krisle.
I remember responding with a sarcastic “So YOU are telling ME, an overweight, 60-year old redhead lady is MY BRAND?!?!”
And she quickly and enthusiastically answered, “YES!!!!”
So there you have it…no matter how brilliant your ads, how compelling your message, how inspiring your talk, how creative your topics…you can’t get away from the fact that YOU are your brand!
So…what really matters? Oh. So. Many Things.
But today, let’s talk about AUTHENTICITY. If I am my brand (which means YOU are YOUR BRAND too!), I must be authentic to me. I can’t pretend to be something I am not. I am me and “me” must come through whenever I speak, write or even smile to an audience or an individual or anyone.
AUTHENTICITY. The quality of being authentic, of being genuine, of being yourself – the original and only you.
The someone I mentioned in the first paragraph, the person who told me I was my own brand, was the one and only Michelle Villalobos, super-star speaker and brilliant woman (@superstarspeaker). My conversation with Michelle was one of those “ah-ha” hours! I just soaked in everything she had to say with mouth wide-open.
Another incredible and insightful woman, Brené Brown, has this to say about authenticity: “To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”
When we think of authenticity, or an authentic person, the words that come to mind might include confident, integrity, trustworthy, safe. Here are a few more thoughts about being authentic:
- Authentic living is being true to oneself. Being Real. Thoughtful. Kind.
- To be authentic means a person is open to new ideas, but true to their own set of values. Their own boundaries.
- They are willing to learn, from others as well as learning from their own mistakes.
- They know how to listen, and can express their thoughts clearly.
- They accept who they are and accept others for who they are.
- They are realistic and thoughtful.
- They have a sense of humor – at no one’s expense.
- They are kind and respectful.
- They know their own motivations, as well as their limitations.
Authentic people know who they are and are not intimidated by new information, or new people. They welcome “new” and make their own choice to embrace or not.
The term authentic has been a bit over-used in recent years, but being authentic never gets old.
Authenticity is one of those important things in life that really matter. It’s the real deal.
And it’s you. And you are your brand. It’s a huge responsibility. So be authentic and embrace yourself, because you are unique and of infinite value.
Jean Krisle is the Founder & Executive Director of 10,000 Beds, Inc, a national 501c3 non-profit organization connecting individuals battling a substance use disorder with vetted addiction/recovery programs through treatment scholarships. A nationally certified recovery coach, life coach and motivational keynote speaker, Jean helps organizations and individuals discover, develop and cultivate powerful leaders, goal-driven teams, and mindful individuals.