The Value Of Authenticity - Was This An Insult, Or a Compliment?
Something happened today that I just had to share, because it reminded me of the absolute value of authenticity - staying TRUE to who you are, especially in business.
KEEPING IT REAL: Who are you, anyway???
(Was this an insult, or a compliment?)
Today I went to go see a dying client and her spouse in a nursing home. We spent over an hour talking over many different things, but the point of the meeting was for me to lay out my plan to solve a major problem.
At the end of the meeting, I asked her: "do you feel any better - that we are getting this all taken care of?" She said yes, and then...
She was getting tired, and fading out a little. But a few minutes later, she looked at me and said...
"I don't mean to offend you, honey, but you aren't what I was expecting."
- I hear this a lot, but of course I was curious, so I asked her what she meant. -
"Well, you aren't as tall as I thought you'd be.
Or as sleek.
Or as glamorous."
My immediate reaction - a mixture of indignation and high humor 🤪. I had a second of bruised vanity, but ... (I'll get to the "but" in a second)
I told her that it was fair enough, because I'm NOT tall, I'm NOT "sleek" and I'm NOT glamorous! But I am a great attorney, which is what I was there for.
She then said - "and it's good you're not those things. I hate women like that, and I don't trust them."
And there's the lesson:
So many entrepreneurs - and people - are trying to project an image that really isn't in line with who they are. An image that they THINK others want to see.
But we all know, in our hearts, that what people really want from us is to be real with them, because that's what we want from them.
I see it all the time, people that started off and got a lot of success by first, their value, but also their humbleness, their genuineness, their "real-ness" ... and then all of a sudden a shift occurs, and while it might be "pretty" it really - isn't - pretty.
One of the best compliments I get from clients is the one I got from her - "you aren't what I expected."
I am who I am.
And this is the thing: I don't need to be "sleek" or "glamorous" to be successful. I don't need those things to charge top dollar for top services. I don't need those things to validate myself.
The longer I am in the "business of people" I realize that I am my own greatest competitive advantage. I don't need to pretend to be anything that I'm not.
And it is true about you, too.