I understand that I have picked a word that I am not quite sure how to pronounce but be patient me. Let me start by saying the major reason I am writing this at this moment is because one of my thought provokers is Scott, The Name Tag Guy. He has issued a challenge for followers to write an article about being “-able”. If you haven’t gotten a chance to know him, check out his website. I saw him speak at a tradeshow recently and I confess I have become a groupie. However, what’s by far more important here is the challenge of writing about being “able”.
In the world I play in, being able to have an authentic voice is more important than most other industries. Why? Because in the Sustainability community it took about two seconds flat for the terminology of greenwashing to pop-up. Greenwashing is the act of stating your product is green when either it had those qualities before the whole green thing happened…this time or you spun your marketing to make your product sound green because you were being opportunistic. So when we discuss authentic in my sandbox, it’s not just a sound concept, it’s vital to your own business’ sustainability. Once you have been labeled as a greenwasher it’s pretty much over.
This doesn’t mean you can’t tout it to an unsuspecting public but someone will find you and start a campaign online that could potentially kill your business. And really why do you need to be unauthentic about your product and services anyway?
Now, you might be asking well isn’t everyone authentic anyway? But just think of an instance when you walked into a sales situation and you got some Pavlovian response when you walk in to a store? Hi, can I help and tell you about our specials (but I really don’t want to, I would rather text my boyfriend). Or Hi, I’m here to answer any question (but I would rather figure out my fantasy football team and you don’t look like a customer I can make a real commission off of anyway.)
When you speak from an authentic voice then people innately recognize it. If you take time to make a connection with a genuine smile it is amazing the reaction you will get. Ironically it seems that an authentic smile is the one thing that is so difficult to do. Even if you are not in your dream job situation you can still be authentic in your listening and question asking. If your attitude is just go through the motions then it will reflect with the people you deal with.
I like to practice by doing the reverse. My goal is to the best customer I can be in any purchasing situation. Sales people don’t realize that they reflect their customer’s attitude a lot of times, so if I become the best customer then I end up getting the best service and not because I buy the most. In fact, a lot of times, I am buying the least but that doesn’t mean it has to be an unpleasant for everyone.
So I challenge you to find your authentic self. Because once you find it then anything you want to achieve is easier. If you are authentic in all aspects of your life then it’ easy to be authentic in your work and that is where real success starts to build.