*As always, enjoy the podcast or the kinda-sorta transcript below! Thanks for stopping by!*
I’m glad to be back and I feel like I need to have this conversation. So here it goes: the latest thing that is driving me nuts.
A few weeks ago, I went and spoke to a bunch of students in Boston – high school students and I also spoke to 7th and 8th graders. And we had this conversation about authenticity and what that meant.
When I landed back in Los Angeles, I realized how much it was bothering me – the people that I had to deal with after talking to these great wonderful students, it was so depressing.
I came home and I had a meeting with this young man (I don’t know if he’s young but he’s in his 30’s so he’s younger than me) but he’s very successful. He sold his business. He just moved here with his family and he’s going to be working in the film industry and he was looking for a bookkeeper. And I was happy to help him with that – possibly help him with that search. But he kept boasting – he was doing this whole thing about how he makes about $300K to $500K a year – how he sold his very successful business and so now he gets a certain amount of money every quarter from that –
So he’s trying to explain to me what’s involved with his need for bookkeeping and in the next breath, he’s saying things like, “…yeah you know but I’m so poor I live paycheck to paycheck.”
I actually said to him: “You’re not poor!” I mean, I said it in a tone I hope was nice — but I knew within 10 minutes of meeting with this man that I would never work for him, nor would I ever help him find somebody. I could already tell he was just full of it – you know?
So in one breath he was talking about how much money he makes and how successful he was and what he’s doing, and in the next breath – because he doesn’t want to pay anything to have someone take care of his bills he’s trying to pretend that he doesn’t have enough money to pay someone a decent wage.
So I said to him, “Look, if you can’t afford $1000 a month – that’s $12,000 a year – then you shouldn’t hire me or you shouldn’t hire anybody that I would refer to you.” And his whole face kind of just — I don’t even know the right word is — I just realized in that moment:
I don’t want to be around people who are not authentic, who not real. Who are not honest.
Now, either he was bullshitting about how much money he made or he’s just a cheap human being. Either one of those things are people I don’t want to be around. I don’t want to be around someone is telling me to make a half a million dollars a year but they can’t afford to pay someone to help them with their money at a whole rocking $12K a year!!
And then it happened again.
A weel later I was talking to someone at a presentation I was at – we were all just milling around talking afterwards and everybody had left the conference room she was telling me about all the things that she does and that she’s kind of this big time entrepreneur.
She has 5 businesses, so she’s so busy she’s always doing speaking events — and I was kind of intrigued by learning more about her speaking events because it’s something that I’m starting to do a lot more as well. I don’t have 5 businesses – I just kind of doing my small little thing – but I was intrigued. I went to her LinkedIn and to all the websites and I thought, “Wow this woman is a powerhouse! She’s doing all this stuff!”
Later that evening a mutual friend of ours said to me, “You know so and so is looking for work so if you have any work for her she kind of does business management like you and she’s also into branding and marketing and really needs a job because she got let go…”.
I was stunned. Not because she needed work, or whatever, I was stunned at this this kind of false narrative we’ve all fallen into that we’ve confused the line between branding and marketing ourselves so that we can try to get work – so that we can be perceived a certain way and just straight up lying about who we are.
It’s funny. Both of these people that I met – within 5 minutes of talking to them – I knew I would never work with these people. I have no interest in being around them because I wasn’t getting the right vibe.
So finding out that she really wasn’t this booming entrepreneur person – and that yes she has all these great websites and can probably do all these things, but that actually at the end of the day she’s just a regular person trying to get a job too, just trying to get work.
I starting thinking about authenticity and I started thinking about why we’re skewing the line — and all this stuff about branding and marketing is kind of the thing you do right now. Everybody has a website. Everybody brands. And I think we’ve confused branding with actually crossing that line where we lie to try to get work. It’s grey line. I’m not sure what the answer is to tell you the truth.
And then there’s social media where we’re always presenting our best selves. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with presenting the best of who we can be – we do it every day for goodness sake I mean I I’ve been coloring my hair for like 15 years because I saw like 1 grey hair 15 years ago and freaked out! I want to present myself in the best possible way I can. We do it all the time. Animals do it as well. It’s the way in which we attract people in our lives so there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean that’s healthy, that’s part of all of our socialization. But when we skew that, when we’ve gone a little bit beyond presenting our best selves – to being inauthentic – I think that’s where the line is or that’s where we’ve skewed those two things.
But it is something that has been bothering me and I’ve been dealing with it for the past couple weeks. I keep meeting people that I just literally want to smack upside the head (not literally ’cause I would never physically ever hit or hurt someone) but you know — in my head I totally slapped him ‘upside-the-head as I was sitting across the table – and then that woman — I just felt really bad for her. I just wanted to hug her actually!
So, I just wanted to share this idea of being your authentic self.
And here’s what I told the kids because is such a great conversation:
When you can figure out who you really are, presenting yourself is actually pretty easy. Branding who you really are is actually not that hard. I mean you can get some help from other people to help you with the coloring or the logos or whatever all that is, but if you’re not sure of who you are — and in the same respects with companies — if you are not sure what your company does or what your company is supposed to be, and all you’re doing is “branding” just a bunch of bullshit so you can say this is all the stuff I kind of sorted do but I really do absolutely nothing… If you don’t know who you are, you’re never going to come across the way you think you’re going to come across.
So knowing your company, understanding what your product is, and even in our own individual selves — Knowing who I am – is what makes me so authentic! Not lying about it and not trying to be more than what I am.
I am so sick and tired of inauthentic people. And I don’t want to be around them. And I don’t want to work for people who are inauthentic. And I don’t want to associate myself with people who are fake (and have like 15 companies but they’re actually looking for work doing anything that they can find that will pay their bills).
Okay. So, thanks for stopping by. Have a sweet day.