Tawanda Chirenda, Founder, Becoming a Willing Student, Toronto, ON

Who are you?

What drives you?

Most of us know what we do and who we serve, but very few of us know who we are and what drives us. Too many entrepreneurs get lost in anxiety – instead of being authentic and staying true to who they are, they are stuck and consumed in the maintenance of a facade.

It’s a common problem, which ultimately results in failure regardless of whatever efforts you make to promote your business, and no matter how much money you invest in it.

The only thing that really differentiates you from your competition is you – your identity, your mission, your passion, your story, your drive, your enthusiasm, and your authenticity. Authenticity not only gives you a sense of liberation and freedom, but it also relieves the anxiety many of us don’t realize we hold onto.

To be authentic means to be true to yourself, your business and your customers. It’s about having the courage to allow ourselves to be vulnerable – to be true to how we feel and to stand up for our own truth even against the opinions of others. This is not an easy task for many entrepreneurs since we live in a world that forces us to deny who we are in pursuit of what we are not.

Many people have an intense feeling about what they’re best at. Too often, they’re driven away from it by other people. To be authentic, you have to learn to trust yourself and focus on what’s unique about you.

Authenticity is about matching outer expression with inner experience. It means that the things you say and the things you do are things you actually believe. It’s about telling people what you believe, not what you think they want to hear.

Authenticity is the reason companies like McDonald’s, KFC, Google, Apple, Wal-Mart and Starbucks have loyal followings. You may disagree with what these companies stand for, but they have fans who believe in what these companies believe. It’s your brand values and the emotional connection it makes that truly define its authenticity. What most of us need is not another aggressive social media campaign or some clever marketing techniques, we need to start saying what we believe.

Success is not created by manipulating people into giving you what you want. It comes when you work and operate from your actual felt experience. Find the courage to connect with and convey your deeper experiences in everything you do. You can fake it for a while, but sooner or later people will find out. Whether you are online or offline, stay true to yourself. Be you.

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