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Why it’s important to be wonderful, original you.

May 01, 2023

 Happy to be stuck with you

This may sound strange but until his latter years, Elvis Presley was very good at being Elvis Presley; Trump is extremely good at being Donald Trump and Dolly Parton is extremely good at being Dolly Parton. They were/are very, well, them. Unfortunately, not enough people are good at being themselves. Too many people put on false fronts because they worry about what others think of them. They will change who they are depending on whom they are with– there is almost an alter ego they assume in order to fit in; they are not being authentically themselves. 

Take social media for example, people will post their highlights on there – their glossy filtered photos, their professional highs, the amazing testimonials for their business, their awesome relationship, amazing people they hang out with, and their happy, sunny holidays. Scratch the surface though and very often you find it took 20 photos to get the kids to look happy, then six tries to get the right filter to give it that sun-kissed look. Rarely do people talk about the struggles their business has been through– they want to look a success so that potential clients will flock to them, no one will tell you about the nightmare client relationship that leads to tears and gin; or the frustrations and days of feeling hopeless because nothing seems to be going right in life. Some even live their life vicariously through those they follow on social media, without realising that half of what they see isn’t the real version of them at all.

There’s so much ‘fake news’ on social media that it’s hard to find the diamonds in the rough. There will be those who tell it like it is and for me, they are authentic souls who help those of us who feel like we’re not succeeding at #lifegoals, to feel human, to feel ‘normal’, whatever that is.

 Playing a role

When you’re comfortable in your own skin, happy with who you are– with your decisions and choices in life, that’s when you are authentic. People who lack self-belief, or who feel they constantly have something to prove in life, they feel the need to act in a different way depending on who they are with. Yes, of course we might act slightly differently when with friends, or with our parents and family, but when there’s such a drastic disparity, I believe there’s a problem with you feeling comfortable with who you are.

 Maybe they choose to be the quiet one in the friendship group – happy to let more dominant characters take the lead, yet that same quiet person, feels much happier being themselves when with their family. It can happen vice versa. Maybe there are more outspoken members of your family – perhaps they’ve always seen you in a certain way and perpetuate that image of you – perhaps putting you down, reminding you of all those silly childhood misdemeanours or funny quirks; yet when with colleagues, you are a completely different person– confident, happy to take the lead, the planner, the organiser; maybe you often wish your family can see you in this light so they’d stop treating you the way they do.

We sometimes play a role that we feel is assigned to us by others until it almost seems as if that is us – it becomes part of who we are, and we neither question nor challenge it. As 95% of what we do day in day out is habitual, it’s no surprise that the way we think and behave becomes the norm, unless we make the effort to drag those subconscious thoughts to conscious gaze. No one can make us feel anything, it’s how we choose to interpret and the response we give.

Congruent chameleon

In the workplace, great business leaders have no trouble being themselves– they’ve got to where they are because they’re comfortable in their own skin; they are in touch with their values and their behaviours evidence this. They are genuine– authentic and are what is known as Congruent Chameleons. This means there is no dumbing down or social climbing according to who they are interacting with - they are altering their communication on a subconscious level which is neither patronising nor condescending because their behaviour is modified at a subconscious level by the deep respect they have for those they are leading. 

The CEO of a multi-national retailer whom we have worked with, was a great example of a Congruent Chameleon. Whomever he spoke to- personnel on the shop floor, middle management, or board directors - his communication would be modified slightly but was always genuine. In return, there was great respect for him as it was evident his motives were always for the good of the organisation and those working within it. He sought common goals and was always ready to listen– another attribute of an effective leader.  

This trait of being a Congruent Chameleon also prevents management by moods. I’m sure we’ve all worked for someone at some point in our career whose moods have dictated the atmosphere of the workplace: 'Don't go near him/her today' is the cry. This behaviour is evidence they’re leading from status not stature. Consistency, therefore, is another sign of a great leader which means people know where they stand and there's none of the politicking or game-playing that goes on in some businesses and organisations. These tactics result in the loss of access to something without which most businesses would struggle to survive – discretionary effort. 

Authentic leadership

Authentic and effective leaders and managers are what we need in business. In these challenging times, we need people at the helm who we can trust, and who lead with integrity. Communication is key and if people know where they stand, there is less bitterness and resentment if it does come down to the fact that difficult choices need to be made. If it comes to the crunch and redundancies are needed because a business needs to streamline, or the business has to close, if transparency and openness have been constant and choices effectively communicated, it enables people to get a handle much more quickly on how they move forward– they’re better able to use their energy and effort in looking to the future, rather than feeling angry and bitter about what they feel should and shouldn’t have happened.

As a leader, it’s about knowing what your values are – they are deeply embedded in your subconscious, and you will automatically display the traits and characteristics necessary for inspirational leadership. It’s not about trying to be everyone’s friend and modifying your behaviour so much that it doesn’t align with your responsibilities.

It’s so important for your mental health to be comfortable with who you are, to be comfortable in your own skin, to celebrate your individual qualities and to be you, with whomever you are with.  

In my opinion, Dolly Parton epitomises authenticity. She celebrates who she is. She has never shied away from the fact she’s had plastic surgery, she’s comfortable with her wealth, yet doesn’t flaunt it. She has acute business acumen but almost plays on the dumb blonde image because that’s how much it bothers her what people think. Dolly is not only a singer but also a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author and of course, businesswoman. Yet so many see her as the petite blonde, with outlandish wigs and costumes and an ample bosom. But she is so much more than that but doesn’t care who or if anyone knows, as is shown in the fabulous interview with Barbara Walters in 1977. I urge you to watch it – at the very least from 2:34 to 4:03 where Dolly just about sums up the importance of being secure with you and your self-image.

If you feel you’re playing a role that isn’t true to who you are, think about why that is. Does it stem from childhood? Maybe you’re the youngest sibling and always seen as the baby, someone whose opinion isn’t listened to. Maybe you’ve been the joker in the team for too long, that’s the way everyone perceives you, yet you don’t want to play that role anymore. It’s about finding the confidence to prove to yourself that you’re worthy of being heard and listened to. Your voice counts.

Strategies to improve your confidence in yourself to be authentically you:

  •  Monitoring your self-talk– the way you talk about yourself both to you (that voice in your head), and the way you describe yourself to others;
  •  Powerful assumptive affirmations that you repeat to yourself twice daily. Believe in who you are. A great affirmation which applies to so many different situations in life: ‘I am calm, confident and in control’
  •  Visualisation – visualise a calm, confident you that feels in control, and make it so. Build that mental movie, using all five senses, and feel the difference in you.

For more tools and strategies to ensure you can bridge the mindset gap from where you are now, to that confident, self-assured person you want to be, head to the  Mindset Coaching Membership. It’s what we’re good at! 

I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote by Dolly:

"Find out who you are and do it on purpose."

Amen to that. We can all #bemoredolly

Be you and do it well. 

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Being authentically you can throw up all kinds of questions… Maybe you’re not sure of who YOU really are – what you want out of life, what you want to set your sights on and go for.

The Mindset Coaching Membership can help you understand the tools and strategies needed to be the best version of you. With Masterclass Teachings + Coaching + Accountability, we will help you to create the future you want. Find out more here

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