We are hearing a lot these days about being “Authentic.” What exactly does that mean?

From the dictionary:We're all 100% Original!

au·then·tic- not false or copied; genuine;

That doesn’t seem that hard! I’ll just be myself. I’ll tell it like it is and people will love me!

Why is that so hard ? Why do we think we have to be something we’re not in order to be successful?

I can tell you why it’s been difficult for me.

Here’s some standard “myths” in business that never sat well with me.

1. Dress for Success: I’ve always hated this phrase. To me that means, wear a suit,  hose and high heels. The truth is, I’m short. I’m 5’3″.  I have always been intimidated by women who can pull off a business suit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worn plenty, but I never feel comfortable. I still struggle with what I’m going to wear.

However, I’ve learned to wear what I’m comfortable in. Nice pants, nice shoes and a seasonable top or jacket. I wear a skirt if it feels like a “skirt” day. I get “dressed” up and then I psyche myself up to be the best person I can possibly be for the day. It’s become as simple as that. My goal is to have fun, be professional, make some great contacts and help at least one person I meet that day. Done – I’m ready to go.

2. Don’t get to personal with clients and colleagues. Well, I’m sorry, but I’m a personal kind of gal. I like to look people in the eye and find out who they are! I like to know about their kids, grandkids and what makes them tick.

I’ve often beaten myself up for being to nice, chatty, bubbly and just well, myself.

But guess what? I’ve also landed some pretty amazing clients because I’m authentic.

The Department of Defense is probably the most significant. I was at a trade show in Washington D.C. Because I didn’t put on any airs and try to be someone I’m not – I struck up a conversation with a regular guy about our content management system. Turns out he was with the DOD and he was looking for a company who would be straight with him and not try to sell him something that he didn’t need. That person was me and a relationship that lasted a few years (and many 6 figures) began.

I can’t tell you how many men looked at me cockeyed – literally asking me “How did YOU do that?”

That contract was one of many with large companies and government agencies.

You see, life is HARD when you’re trying to be something you’re not.

The amount of time and energy it takes to impress others can literally throw the best of us into a depression. We don’t do our best work, we can’t love others and we certainly don’t enjoy life.

Every single one of us is a unique expression of life. Every single one of us has a special gift to bring that world – and that gift is simply YOU!

When you are your AUTHENTIC self, life works. When you wake up in the morning knowing that you will be nothing but your awesome self, the rest of the day opens up to new possibilities.

You’ll surprise others. You’ll inspire and motivate others. When you are yourself, others look at you and say “I want to be like that person!” Your boss will want to promote you, your friends will want to hang out with you. People you don’t know will want to do business with you. Why?

We are ALL yearning to be real. We’re all longing to be heard, and to connect with others.

It makes me happy just to write this. Ha – I told ya so!


  1. Very inspiring article! Thanks-

  2. Kathy, I love this article! I’ve found the most wonderful connections with my clients by just being genuine and authentic. When I would ‘try’ to be someone that I’m not- it would feel false & uncomfortable and therefore no connection. Thanks for breaking down those business myths! Your writing helped open my eyes to being ‘authentic in business’.

    • Thank you Arianne. I’m glad it gave you some insights!

  3. Kathy, this is excellent advice for today’s business world. You are great people person because you take the time to really listen and focus on the other person. In today’s world where everyone is trying to promote their message without focusing on giving to the other person first, much opportunity to connect in a meaningful way is lost. As we know, people do business with people they like and trust.

    Kudos to you, my friend!

    • René – thank you! I appreciate your input – you’re an inspiration!

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