Be yourself. It’s repeated so often these days it’s regarded as nothing more than a platitude. But like most cliches, it really is great advice.
When I started my business, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to present myself and my service offerings (still do, actually). My last professional gig was in a very corporate environment and so communications and presentation were usually quite formal.
At first I carried that voice into my business, but then I realised — that’s not really me. I like to have fun while I’m working. I like to send emails to my clients that sound the same as I would speak to a friend. I overuse exclamation marks and, once we’re email friends, more often than not my words will be punctuated with emoji, too.
But if you don’t know me yet, casual emails could imply a casual attitude to my work (which couldn’t be further from the truth!) On the other hand, sticking with a formal tone might send stricter, super-corporate clients my way, and that’s not the kind of person I want to work with right now.
What happens when you be yourself?
A little while back I pitched somebody and wrote the covering email as though we were having a chat (about topics including my Kikki-K obsession). The response? “There is so much about this I love.” Zing!
A week or two later, a client I’d sent a quote to phoned me to sign on, saying that no one else who responded had sounded as excited about working together as I did. Because I DO get excited, that’s what the exclamation marks and emoji are all about!!
I’m not telling you this to brag (although it was very exciting :p). To me, these instances clearly demonstrate that being yourself can pay off by attracting more of what you’re looking for.
So what does ‘be yourself’ actually mean?
This can be a bit tricky to decipher. Mostly, don’t pretend to be anything that doesn’t resonate with who you are and what you value. You’ll wear yourself out trying to keep up a facade, and no doubt what it brings to you won’t be what you really want anyway.
It’s inevitable that you will present slightly different versions of yourself to different audiences, depending on the situation. For example, I swear a lot (exasperating my mother no end!). But even while being more myself, I’m not dropping f-bombs when I go to networking events (or in front of my Nanna).
I can be relaxed and open without swearing. I can offer an opinion (and stand up for myself if I need to) without being a cow. No matter how I choose to express myself in a particular situation, at the core I’m always coming from the same place.
The bottom line? Be the best version of yourself and remain true to what you believe and value. That can only ever be a good thing!
**This is an edited version of an essay I included in last month’s newsletter. You can sign up for these monthly updates here.