The Importance of Authenticity in a Sea of “Unreality”
After watching last night's outcome of the US presidential election, I felt the need to write this, because being on the other side of the world for an election is quite an experience.
First thoughts? Well… this is shocking. Whether Republican or Democrat, we are all pretty shocked by the outcome of the presidential election. I choose not to be as outspoken about politics as some. I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. However, watching it from afar is not only surreal, but I'm seeing firsthand how people overseas view America's election, as it affects them too.
The questions people have asked me are interesting. They start with: “What do you think of Trump?” My canned response has been, “He's pretty crazy. He won't win.”
Welp. I was wrong.
I have never in my life been abroad during a presidential election. I knew that foreign countries were interested in our politics, but not quite like this. This election was, well, weird. So many things about each candidate seemed inherently wrong or “ill-fit,” according to some Europeans. Today their main rhetoric began with, “HOW did this happen?”
It's a question we all have. Of course, I'm proud to be American. I will always be. But this does hurt, especially to witness how we Americans look in another country's eyes. And I think it's scary. It feels a bit like a reality TV show. Except I can't turn this one off. This reality, or”unreality,” makes me think of the importance of being authentic. On and offline. And how much your true colors show when put to the test.
There is so much news coverage, so many media reports, social media real-time updates, advertisements, all spinning in a 24/7 news cycle. The list goes on and on.
In the online or blog world we hear a lot of talk — take this course OR FAIL, read my income report and get rich quick, read this or that every day.
We live in an era where “reality” seems to trump all else. Usually, we're left with flashy graphics, unfulfilled promises, and a smaller bank statement.
How can we cut through all the chaos to get to the truth?
One answer, I believe, is a little research.
Before you judge, comment, buy, or… vote (although at this point that's hindsight) do your research. Just because someone has flashy graphics, shows off an income report, and claims to know it all; think, do they? What are their qualifications? Did they just get lucky, have a lot of money? Or, do they have a passion and managed to put together their unique experience plus knowledge to create something great?
Turn off some of the noise and focus on what you believe to be true. That lines up with your values.
If you want to prove your authenticity online, be open and honest about what you know and why you know it.
Often, we aren't true to ourselves in order to gain approval. We present ourselves in the way we want others to perceive us, instead of being who were really are. And really, this is a disservice to you. I have preached about this on my blog, but I think it's worth repeating. You are unique, as is your experience and your audience. It's what sets you apart from the rest. Use that to your advantage, without stepping on someone's toes.
I think it's also important to be yourself. Be weird, quirky, fun, sad, whatever… just be you. People can relate to that and want to share in that part of your story. Most can also see right through
Learn from your mistakes.
We all make them. Own up to them and learn from them and then move on. When I first started my blog I made LOADS of mistakes. But one of the biggest ones was when I started my t-shirt business. This is now over two years ago. I had no plan at all. I just wanted to make something fun and sell them. I did. And they sold! But then it all stopped. I didn't have inventory or I didn't have buyers or both. And it fell apart.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I learned from it. And I learned what I really wanted to do online.
Being authentic might be the most important quality anyone can offer. It instills trust, but more than that, it solidifies you. I think when you are true to yourself, you end up learning what your passions are, where your goals lie and how to find your right path.
Okay, this ended up veering from politics to the importance of being authentic. So be it.
I am not perfect. No one is. I was compelled to sound off today because with all the news we are reading and muck that we must now get through, it's important to remember to stay true to yourself. Your values and morals are what make you a great person. Whether you had a dog in this presidential fight or are trying to make it in the online world, there's a lesson in this for all of us.