Authenticity is not something we have or don't have. It's a practice - a conscious choice of how we want to live. 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. - Brene Brown
I'm sure I'm not the only one who is on the constant search for balance between keeping my business professional and sharing enough personal notes to feel still like I am part of my business. Over the past few years, I have gone from sharing lots of personal things, so switching to sharing more of just my work. And I realize that although my Instagram and Facebook feed is finally looking perfectly styled like I had always wanted it to be, something is missing.
I felt like I was missing.
My business isn't just about my work, my portraits, my clients. But it's also about who I am. Sharing personal stories on what's going on is a great way for it not to feel so isolated when working for yourself. I don't know about you, but it's nice knowing that I'm not the only one who would rather stay in pajamas all day, or that I'm not the only one who struggles with balancing between work and being a mom. It's nice knowing that there is other work at home moms going through the same thing as me. And the only way to hear from others is to be brave enough to put myself out there and let the world see in who I am, beyond my business and my work.
I'll be the first to admit that opening up is scary. The idea that there are 90,000+ people that could potentially be reading this is intimidating to someone like me because if you met me, you'd know that I'm more on the quiet side. Growing up, people always used the word 'shy' because it's a great reflection of who I am. I think a lot, but don't say much. I'm one of those people who are REALLY terrible at small talk and much better at having deep conversations, and that it can take me a little time to warm up to someone and open up.
There are so many of us who feel intimidated to share that side of our life, and mix it in our business because we're worried about it not being professional enough, that we might lose potential clients because of it, or that people just won't like what they see.
So we hide who we are just to play it safe.
I don't know why I have 90,000+ people on my facebook page who follow what I do. Is it because of my photography? Because of my presets? Is it my advice? Is it me? My first thought goes straight to; it's definitely not because of who I am because I'm way too awkward for 90,000+ to think I'm cool enough to follow on facebook.
But here's the really crazy thing, I personally LOVE following creatives who can be authentic and transparent with their business and allow themselves to be such part of their business. The ones who wear their heart on their sleeve and share the highs and lows. The ones who are real about it and not scared of jumping in front of the camera. The ones who don't worry about it being perfect, but focused on being honest. I love those people and follow their life stories not just because their work is inspiring but because they let the world see who they are. The things that make them vulnerable are the things that make them beautiful. They choose to seek authenticity over perfection.
You and I are no different. People want to get to know you, and me, but we just have to move past this fear of opening up and let those around us really get to know us.
If you're scared about opening up with your audience, think about who you enjoy following online and why. A lot of it probably has to do with you feeling like you know this person on a more personal level. Something that goes beyond their work and business. It's not just that you love their work, you like the type of person they are.
It's time to be more authentic and part of our business. Share your story with the world.
Here are my personal goals on being more part of my business;
GET IN FRONT OF MY CAMERA MORE
I often hide behind my camera, but it's time to take a step forward and show the face behind my business.
SHARE MY THOUGHTS MORE
I have so many thoughts and write a ton. What you see on my blog is such a small fraction of what I'd like to share. I often write out articles but never hit that publish button because part of me questions if it's even good enough. So enough of that, I'm going to put my thoughts and words out for the world to read.
BE WHOLEHEARTEDLY PART OF MY BUSINESS
When people think of my business, I want them to think of my work as well as who I am as a person. I want myself to be more of what my business is and intertwine it in all aspects of what I do professionally.
I WANT TO GET TO KNOW OTHERS MORE PAST THEIR BUSINESS
Getting to know others hearing their stories is inspiring to me. The other morning I talked to one of the girls in my business success class and realized how much she reminded me of myself when I got started with my business. Talking to her, hearing her doubts I was able to offer advice because I had a lot of the same struggles. My goal is to connect with more people on a personal level, really get to know them because it's those around me who are continually inspiring me to do better.
How will you put yourself not just as the person behind the business, but allow people to really get to know who you are? I challenge you to try it for a month. Stop overthinking and allow those doors to open. Let people see the real you, and you might be surprised by the new connections you make because of it.