People Want the Real You

Be Superman, Not Clark Kent

If you are a solo business and you use the term “we,” stop it. If you are an employee at some major company and are trying to be the navy polo and blue chinos version of who you really are, enough. It’s time to give up on being Clark Kent or… do you know what? The most mainstream female superhero is Wonder Woman, but if I type in “Diana Prince,” almost no one will get it. But now you do. Okay, back on track, team. People want the real you!

Corporate Speak Is Never Effective or Helpful or Business-Growing

You know this because you’ve experienced the other side of it many times. “We’re sorry, but that’s the policy.” “We’re pretty happy with how our product turned out. I can’t really say much about the competitor.” “We’re creating valuable content to maximize our social business marketing efforts.”

Any time you have to refer to a policy, you have failed. The policy exists as a “serving suggestion” for what might be the best idea. Blaming the policy is giving away your own power.

When you are the employee at any level of a rival company and you choose not to acknowledge the other company or product by name, and/or never say a positive thing about their product or service, no good comes of it. People never think, “Well, isn’t that interesting. I think Surendra hasn’t even heard of the iPad.” They think, “Aw, poor Surendra. I’d hate to be stuck with the WidgetPad 2000 right now.”

Jargon is just silly and whenever I hear someone use a big word when a little one will do, I make a quick guess as to whether the person actually has an endless supply of expensive words, or whether he or she is scared of being considered stupid. It’s usually B. Oh, the other reason we use jargon is to exclude people who “don’t get it.”

None of these ideas above are good, are they? This runs counter to your goals, I would reckon. True? And there’s so much more that I didn’t cover.

Why Aren’t We Our Actual Self?

There are many ways in which we somehow tumble into being someone other than our true self:

  • We are worried about how the culture around us will react.
  • We lack enough self confidence to not care what others think.
  • We perceive that our livelihood depends on the way we dress and speak and act. (And it certainly does to some extent.)
  • We’ve tried being ourselves once ever in one specific situation, and someone said something unkind about it and now you’ve decided that this singular experience is now the “avatar” of any time you might ever decide to be yourself in the future, so why bother anyway? (phew)

Sometimes, we really can’t be ourselves. If you are a nudist and a fry cook at McDonalds, you’ll probably find it hard to express that particular passion (besides – ouch!). Other times, we probably could be ourselves, but maybe we’ve forgotten to do so for some reason. Most times, though, it’s because we’re chicken for some reason or another.

Men, for instance, hate showing their weakness. Women sometimes have to struggle with the “when men do it, they’re considered ‘tough’ and when women do it, they’re a bitch” problem. Most people hate to show their ignorance. These are all valid and true feelings. But I have to ask anyway: what’s stopping you from being who you really are?

Is There Success To Be Had In Being The Authentic You?

Were you to read the biographies of several novelists, you’ll find that many people go through a growth curve from writing the way they perceive their heroes to have written, but from there, they develop their own writing voice and their own style. It’s a natural progression. In all cases, it’s only after the author finds her voice that she reaches a great level of success. There are several stories of authors who received dozens of rejection slips before hitting it unbelievably big. What do you think finally got them to that peak?

Who is the first Korean pop (K-Pop) star to break through in the US? A pudgy guy who does a crazy horse dance. With hundreds of other acts trying desperately to stumble into whatever the US market deems to be catchy, we went with the totally unique voice, that which we hadn’t seen.

Jenny Joseph wrote a magical poem called Warning. The start of it, you might know:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

It would take you less than two minutes to read it here. Especially because the ending is so worth it with regards to what you and I are talking about here:

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Start Today

What’s one part of who you are that you hide away? Is it a part that you wish you could wear on the outside? Have you ever tried being the real you with horrendous results? Or was there a moment of bravery where you decloaked and became who you are?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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