Who do you want to be?

I just came out of a meeting and it was with someone who’s so enthusiastic, so inspiring, bright and breezy that I feel like I’ve had a shot of adrenalin. I was interviewing her for a feature and we talked for an hour. It was one of those conversations when you start on one thing and end up somewhere completely different.

That’s who I want to be.

Someone said to me a week ago if you moan and complain constantly on your social networks, what does say about how you see your friends? I confess that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to turn all those people off. They see it as screaming into the void, but they forget that void is made up of their friends. I don’t want to be one of those people.

I was having a tricky day (well, month, actually) with a client and mentioned it to a mutual friend. “Hmph”, they snorted, “Don’t take it personally. They’re that patronising to everyone”. Ouch, I thought. I’d hate it if people say me that way. I don’t want to be that person.

I got told late last year by a student that I “don’t seem like someone who would run a business”. Ha, I thought, I kind of do want to be that person.

It’s never really been so easy to craft an identity for yourself online. I don’t believe in having a personal social media account and a public facing one. If someone is buying into you they’re buying into your personality and your approach as much as anything.  I’ve sat in a lot of meetings and pitches with bosses and colleagues and watched them speak and listened to them talk and realised it was all an act. It isn’t about being professional but faceless. It’s about trotting out lines you think want to be heard. It’s about playing your part. Who wants to do that?

Instead I want authentic, I want real. I don’t want people to be crafting an image constantly around me. “She”, a person I very much admire said of  a mutual acquaintance, “looks as though she is constantly applying for a job”. The job, I think is her own life.

This isn’t an audition. We either seize things or we don’t. I don’t want to feel I am tiptoeing around my own social media profiles hoping that someone will see the real me. Similarly I don’t want to run my own business pretending that I’m someone I’m not. These are my skills, this is what I do, if we fit, great, if we don’t, then not to worry.

Authenticism is increasingly valuable and important in business. So many give good talk but in reality they haven’t got a clue. It’s all buzz and bluster, ego and trot. These aren’t the people that are doing well anymore. No one, except those at the very upper echelons, are in that position where they can work in a vacuum. Those wanting to collaborate and work together need to do so in harmony. They need to have the confidence to share their ideas and have open discussion about where they want their business to go, what they want to achieve for their local neighbourhood or city. I don’t think you can do that if you’re constantly pretending to be someone else.

So as I read through the notes from my last meeting I think there is no point going solo and setting up on your own if you’re just going to be negative, think you’re above everyone else and craft this idealised persona that bears little relation to the truth.

No, I probably don’t come across as someone who runs their own business and that kind of suits me, because that’s who I am.

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