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728: Overvaluing Authenticity

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Do you keep hearing about how important authenticity is?

In the brand-building circles, authenticity all the rage.

“Just be yourself.”

If you’re doing work that matters, there’s more to this:

If you’re inconsistent, authenticity is likely going to cause frustration for those you serve. Unless the value they’ve bought into is the novelty of frenetic availability, there’s likely to be a desire for a consistently met expectation. You tune into certain channels more than others because you know what you’re going to get, when you’re going to get it.

If you’re struggling today, authenticity is likely going to dampen the experience for those you serve. Unless they bought into a particular “reality TV” storyline from you, where the drama is part of the product, there’s likely to be a desire for you to focus on their problems rather than your own. You trust professionals who dress properly for their work because they focused on fitting into your environment, not expressing themselves in jarring new ways.

If you communicate from strength, authenticity is going to bulldoze through your audience if they communicate from warmth. All your talk about goals and market domination will alienate those who would prefer to talk about feelings and visions of a better world. Unless they’re endeared by your counter-cultural approach to their space, you’ll be better suited to making your communication style about them, rather than about yourself.

Authenticity is important, such as in a trusting personal relationship where you go to heal, grow and nurture. But in the marketplace, authenticity’s praise often casts a shadow over consistency, sensitivity and empathy.

You’re there for them, not for you.

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