Who are you really?
In this age of increasing transparency – it’s a question which, if it hasn’t already – will soon be reaching out to either move you forward – or haunt you!
A few months ago, one of my client’s “dropped” me and I’m certain she was surprised by how cooperative I was in turning over files to her new agency. To say the breakup was “mutual” would be an understatement.
The other day, I went to visit her new “carefree” site which is how she was “lured” away from my stable of clients.
I was amused because she had totally embraced the whole “blogs are website magic” and had obviously insisted that her new agency include a blog on her otherwise static website. The problem – her blog is as “static” as the HTML pages on her site. She ported over the three posts from her previous blog and now has a beautiful shell style website filled with the same empty words you can find on every other media consultant/trainer’s static website.
A crippling fear of authenticity and transparency
This client lived in constant fear as we were converting her previous HTML website into a blog. She worried that her former clients and former employers would find her and – gasp – communicate via her blog with her prospective clients. (Let me reiterate – this woman bills herself as a communication professional!!!)
While my client never actually spoke the words out loud, there was definitely a thread which ran through virtually every conversation which revealed that her greatest fear wasn’t death or taxes – but rather total and complete transparency.
In hindsight, I should NEVER convinced her to convert her static website to a blog.
Her new web site is really sad if you ask me. Not only has it dropped over 8 million spots in Alexa’s index, but the new website embraces the “cookie cutter template” look with a passion. The content contained within is nothing special either. It is virtually identical to her competitors and former employers website content.
Then, it hit me. The whole “pursuit of the cookie cutter” is just a symptom of the true disease – this client is desperately cloaking herself and who she really is.
Is there an antonym for authenticity?
What’s really sad is I watched this fear of transparency absolutely DESTROY another promising business she tried to launch shortly after we began working together.
After I created her consultancy’s web presence, she hired me to develop the website for her newly launched greeting card company. The cards were titillating, captivating and cute all at the same time and I thought she was going to be a HUGE success. Unfortunately, she was TERRIFIED that her “corporate” clients would discover that she was the CEO of the new company and creator of the cards.
That crippling fear colored everything she did with the card company. A PR professional – she never EVER promoted her business herself. She hired sales reps to hit the streets with a single bit of marketing or PR to break the ice. As a result, her business died a slow and agonizing death. It was truly painful to watch.
The cards really did reveal a side to her I didn’t know existed. It made me like her even more – but she could never ever let go of the plastic “barbie doll” image she had constructed in her professional life.
Authenticity takes the fear factor out of transparency.
To contrast the crippling fear of transparency my former client suffered, I’d love to direct your attention over to Tom Volkar’s blog Delightful Work and his most recent post “How to get on the right track.
I wish I were better at “deconstruction” right now because I wish I could break down all the elements in this post which “work” and document them.
But then I realized that perhaps – if this is your first time to visit Tom’s blog – you may not be as blown away by the post as I am. Maybe the reason I’m blown away by his post is I’ve been reading his blog for about six months now and the real “beauty” of this post is how it ties into previous posts.
Or maybe – just maybe – it’s because the post really resonated with me. For example, Tom writes –
Successful business building is not an exact science. Opportunities present themselves in unexpected ways. Discoveries and realizations often occur in the pursuit of other objectives.
As a 12 year veteran of the self employment wars – I can fully embrace the truth in this statement!!! The entire posts resonates with a ring of authenticity, passion but most importantly – EXPERIENCE.
There is no “hiding” going on over at the Delightful Work blog – as is evidenced by some of Tom’s other recent posts. Tom blogs about being angry, pissed off and off kilter – yet that while that transparency and authenticity weren’t always “pretty” they were always more than “real” enough.
If you’re in need of “some raw truth and fresh direction” you might want to stop over at Tom’s blog. He dispenses plenty of both for free at his blog.
By embracing authenticity – Tom has nothing to fear in the 100% transparency zone which is social media.
Social Media is communication that moves at the speed of thought.
Is it any wonder that authenticity is a requirement in these oh so transparent days of social media?