Authenticity isn’t a branding convention
I’m deliberately avoiding any diatribes on the “era of the personal brand” here, and for good reason.
For me, being 110% authentically you doesn’t come close to resembling a tactical process or branding best practice.
In some ways, it’s a requirement for survival in the new creative economy, especially if you’re into fostering deeper personal fulfillment and alignment with your work.
Authenticity gets a undue bad wrap, and that’s because marketers and talking heads have ridden it into a verbal landfill at the center of Jargon City.
In truth, authenticity is really just a fancier way of saying, “what you see is what you get.”
In practice, it’s all about peeling back the polish to reveal the fire behind the smoke and finding ways to fold more “you” into what you create.
In an era of pandering to a utopian perspective on freedom and success, the ultimate act of courage is having faith that being unapologetically you is a space to grow from.
It’s not an easy choice to create from a foundation of you when the world wants to love the idea of a better you.
Sure, great artists steal and all that. I’d be lying if I said that every one of us finds true longevity hiding somewhere deep inside of a creative vacuum.
But there is a big difference between borrowing, distilling and carving our own niche with care while still being true to ourselves vs. blindly emulating what’s worked for others and trying to trick people into thinking we have it all figured out.
At the end of the day, you can be successful piggybacking a number of proven formulas.
But you can also be successful with “genuine you” and “strategic you” playing nice in the sandbox.