It’s tough to be genuine. A lot of the time we opt to fit into a specific mold in order to avoid conflict and get things over with.
You can see it in kids who act ‘cool’ to fit in with popular groups in school, and adults who change their mannerisms while hanging out with a different ‘class’ of people.
We sneer at those who act disingenuous not realizing that it is sometimes a survival mechanism.
However, being disingenuous or inauthentic becomes a problem when it’s the foundation upon which you build your identity.
Who are you if you choose to adopt an identity that is not yours?
One group of people suffering from this identity crisis is entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is challenging, and you need all the advantage possible to get ahead.
Though it is always advised to ‘be real’, ‘be yourself’, and ‘be genuine’, it is sometimes easier to be someone else.
Why would I waste my time being me when I could be Richard Branson? He’s already proven that being Richard Branson works.
It’s the same reason that people cuss like sailors when addressing their audience, simply because Gary V does it. But that’s Gary V; do you talk like that in your day to day life?
Even when you realize that you’re acting inauthentic, making the conscious decision to change is tough.
Why should I change my disingenuous self?
As a promising entrepreneur still in the early stages of entrepreneurship, your identity is easily influenced by the books you read, videos you watch, and courses you buy.
Being inauthentic isn’t a moral sin, which begs the question: why should I change my disingenuous self?
The answer is pretty obvious to me. Unless your acting rivals that of Viola Davis, your customers can see straight through you.
There’s a hotdog stand in Chicago called The Wieners Circle where employees and customers cuss and insult each other as they order food. As you can imagine, this customer relations approach creates an interesting atmosphere.
It’s not for everyone. If you get offended in a heartbeat you’ll probably want to grab a hotdog somewhere else, but if you enjoy confrontation and lack basic manners you’ll love it.
Their target market approves, and they’ve made a name for themselves as the place where mutual late-night abuse is encouraged.
What’s stopping you from creating a business that is a reflection of your beliefs and personality?
Can I be a little bit inauthentic?
Even the most ‘square’ entrepreneur cannot avoid the trap of insincerity.
It may not be as serious as a ‘green’ company owned by the same people who drill for fossil fuels.
In fact, it may be as simple as marketing yourself as a high-energy firm when you are actually lazy and lethargic.
My belief is that if you’re not authentic, then you’re serving the wrong target market.
Whatever crazy personality or bizarre behavior you exhibit; there is a customer out there who will be attracted to what you have to offer.
So if you’re putting in the hard work that entrepreneurship calls for, why don’t you make sure it’s something you believe in? Something that is true to you, rather than something that is a reflection of who you think you should be.
I wholeheartedly believe that authenticity is crucial in business, as it provides a firm foundation for your venture and builds trust with your target market.
So go out and create your own style, own the shit out of it, and love it. Be you!
What do you think? Do you need to change who you are to fit into what you believe is the model for an ideal entrepreneur? Or should you remain authentic even when you struggle to fit into an industry?
Drop me a comment below and share your thoughts.
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I hope you have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Monday.