On being authentic …

There are few Oscar Wilde quotes which don’t resonate with me … but at the moment, the one which I’d like to share with you is this:-

“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken”

 I had the great pleasure of attending an event in London a couple of weeks’ ago which focused on ‘Building a Great British Brand’ – with Amanda Berry OBE, CEO of BAFTA, Lulu Guinness OBE, founder of Lulu Guinness Accessories and Kelly Hoppen, MBE, the Grande Dame of British Interior Design – and was delighted to discover that all three of these super-successful women share my personal passion for authenticity!

Now to be absolutely honest, and just between you and me, the discovery of the importance of authenticity came to me quite late in my career. I spent many fruitless years trying to be like ‘everyone else’ around me in the corporate world … believing that their university education, their MBA qualifications and their ability to use Management Consultancy jargon was the thing which I should strive for in order to be successful in my own career. As it turns out however, the thing that has made me successful in my own career is to be myself – to be authentic. Hence my oft used phrase with clients and candidates alike – what you see is what you get!  It doesn’t work for everyone .. but it always works with the people that I enjoy working with!

Every single one of us has a ‘brand’ – whereas ‘branding’ used to be a term we would use in connection with a large corporate organization, or consumer product, it is becoming widely accepted that your ‘personal brand’ – the thing that the rest of the world sees when they look at us, or hear us, or see our work – is what you are judged upon and therefore is of the utmost importance.

When you are being yourself, when you are in ‘flow’, this is when your passion, your focus and your authenticity shine through … and when your customers (in whatever form they take) can relate to you, believe in you and build their trust in you.

And, take it from me, it’s so much easier than trying to be something you’re not …

I’m going to leave you with another quote, from a chap who has been reasonably successful in the book-selling world … Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com said this about brand:-

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”

 So, make sure it’s positive won’t you?!