Authenticity must be the most overused word in my ears right now.
I want to have an authentic voice,
I want to be seen as authentic,
I want an authentic brand,
authentic, authentic, authentic.
Has it lost all meaning for you yet?
Authenticity as a term is becoming misunderstood, and misinterpreted.
Why do we want to be authentic?
Because we want to distance ourselves from the sleazy marketing that we find ourselves subjected to.
Because we want to be known, liked and trusted.
Because buyers and subscribers are becoming more savvy about handing out their email address in return for information.
Because we don’t like the way that we are being treated online, the cookie cutter website and offer structure. Even the industry language like ‘ethical bribe’, ‘tripwire’… no wonder people are skeptical!
Real authenticity is a good thing, and it is what your potential clients want too.
So why are we constantly looking at other people’s formulas and blueprints?
Formulas and blueprints are one person’s map to what success means to them. That is their authentic system.
They are not being sleazy when they try to sell it to you, because it did work for them.
But you are not the same as that person.
You have a whole host of different experiences, skills, approaches, messages, and change to offer. (Even if you think that you are offering the same or a similar thing to others, you are very different.)
Which is a blessing and a curse.
The blessing is that you are 100% unique, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. You do have a unique proposition for your audience.
The curse is that it requires you to look not sideways at what others are doing, but deep within yourself.
The Secret To True Authenticity
Why are we all striving to be ‘authentic’, ‘individual’, ‘ourselves’, and then avoiding looking at our authentic, individual selves?
Instead, we would rather buy someone else’s authentic, individual self in the form of a blueprint or course. The formula that made them successful.
The reason? Fear.
Fear of getting it wrong
Fear of wasting time
Fear of looking within and finding ourselves wanting
Fear of trusting ourselves
Fear of believing we are enough
We would rather believe anyone but ourselves.
So we look to the ‘gurus’ who tell us:
‘We need to know everything, to be an authority, to be credible’,
‘we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone’
‘in fact the more uncomfortable you are, the better the results.’
And some do see results, for a time. And then they burnout, because none of us are designed to be someone other than ourselves.
It is unsustainable.
There are others who are doing their best. They are working from a good place. (In fact, I believe that the vast majority of online teachers are working from a place that they believe to be helpful.) And they are teaching the mechanics what works for them.
But you are not them, so the odds are actually stacked against you getting the same results.
I am reminded of a quote attributed to Matsuo Basho
‘Don’t follow in the footsteps of the masters, seek what they sought.’
My interpretation of this is that if you just follow the blueprint without aligning yourself to the bigger vision, then you are likely to get different results than that of the person you are following.
Your motivation must be truly authentic to you, before you follow the steps.
Let’s take a look at one of the most common problems that my clients have – reaching more clients. More often than not they end up following a version of the following advice.
Typically, it goes along the line of:
build a list,
give away information,
make a small offer,
then make a bigger offer,
then make a premium offer.
This is a typical ‘Information Age’ model. Sell information, then offer help as a premium upsell.
They get so focused on content creation and list-building though, that they lose sight of their motivation in the first place.
To create change
To help others
To work with people
More and more people are tired of navigating through the free information and small offers, and are ready to have their hand held from the get go.
There are more potential clients looking for you than ever before.
How To Connect Authentically
I see people who share widely online in a bid to be seen as being ‘authentic’. It’s as if they think, ‘if I share every last detail of my life and vulnerability, then I will be ‘authentic’ – the real me.’
And the confusing truth is that authenticity is less about you than you think.
It’s more about the people you are trying to reach.
See what I mean about confusing? And it gets worse!
You need to fully understand how the information model works, and the numbers that we are talking. You see, you can pour your heart and soul into your offers, and still only ever be attracting the people who are never going to buy from you – ever.
And do you know what?
It’s not your fault, there is nothing you can do to turn them into customers or clients.
Stop beating yourself up for low conversion rates; you are just targeting the wrong people.
When you are creating your model, be aware of that. There are always going to be people who are stuck in the Information Cycle – that ‘this freebie is going to hold the key to my pain.’
Spending your time, effort, blood, sweat and tears on them is going to drive you to bankruptcy faster than they can sign up for the next newsletter.
But by the same token, there will be others who are ready to take the leap to work with you, now. After all, isn’t that what you want? To work with people?
By all means build a following, tribe, community, audience, posse, whatever you want to call it, but not at the expense of eating.
In order to change the outside, we must first change the inside.
And that requires going to those places that we pretend don’t exist.
To do this you need to understand you.
Really, really look deep inside of you. Look deeply into your values and beliefs and unpeel each layer. Acknowledge and then discard what no longer serves you to make space for what does.
And this is where we believe that a blueprint or formula is going to come to our aid. To give us a pass to skip this step, because we don’t want to do the deep work on ourselves, do we?
But that is where your gold will lie.
It will allow you to ask for what you want; Courage, Confidence and Clients
Because when you have the confidence and courage to ask for what you want and need, you will attract the clients who are ready to buy.
Where To From Here?
The noise in the online marketing world is getting louder and louder, there are more and more opportunities to get into analysis paralysis every day.
Until we learn to look within ourselves, and do the hard work like:
facing up to where there are holes in our process and systems,
refining our messaging and offers,
understanding the true far reaching impact of our work,
realising our true value,
and getting out of our own way,
we will be caught in a different kind of rat race:
the ‘content creation’ rat race, constantly spinning our wheels trying to keep up with the next launch or marketing tactic.
The ‘not good enough’ race, where everyone around you seems to be taking greater strides than you. But actually they are running their own race, and fighting their own internal battles. Or maybe they’re looking at you and wishing they had something that you take for granted or cannot see for yourself?
Let’s stop comparing ourselves to others who have their own baggage.
Let’s quit the idea that we need to compete – it shrinks us, when we can be more expansive than you could know. Expansive from the heart, that very core that drives you to serve. And it is not an external tactic that will allow that expansiveness to step forward, it is you.
So what now?
Now it is time for you to implement what you know you need to do.
To take those scary steps into redefining what success means for you.
To look deep within to the rules that you have created for yourself which are keeping you stuck and small.
And to stop competing and comparing yourself with others.
It is time to get back to where you started, living a successful life of purpose of your own design.
No blueprints, no formulas, just YOU. 100% unapologetically YOU.