“I can’t share that. It’s personal, not business.”
You’re just about to post about how you ended up wearing your trousers inside out at a friends party. But you hesitated before hitting publish.
Those thoughts start racing through your mind…
“It’s not professional.”
“It’s too personal.”
“You sound like a crazy person” — Wait, maybe that’s just me.
So you inevitably change your mind at the last minute and go with something less personal. Something that adds value and shows you know your stuff.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. But does anyone know the real you?
Everyone is banging on about being authentic these days.
Just be you. Be authentic. Become known. Build trust.
And to be authentic, you need to show more of who you are. Right?
But what does it really mean to be authentic? How can you be well and truly authentic on social media? What stuff should or shouldn’t you share?
I mean, no one wants to hear how you accidentally put a red sock in with the whites. *Snore* Or about that time you threw up on your bosses shoes. 👀 Do they?
How personal do you need to get to be seen as an authentic, real, genuine person?
Let’s break it down.
What is Authenticity?
The definition of authenticity is the quality of something being legitimate, valid, genuine, real or true.
To be authentic is defined as “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; being true to oneself.”
So to be authentic is to be genuine or real. To do this, we need to behave with integrity and honesty.
Authentic = Honest and truthful
But that raises the question ‘how honest and truthful should we be?’ — on the bosses shoes? 👀
Brené Brown, who’s spent the past two decades studying authenticity, courage and vulnerability, says:
“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practising authenticity.”
If we break it down, that means to be authentic is to find the courage to be vulnerable.
So perhaps the answer lies in the level of vulnerability we’re comfortable with.
What is Vulnerability?
“Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.” — Brené Brown
Putting ourselves into a vulnerable situation is something most of us avoid in life.
I mean, why would you willingly put yourself out there for the potential to be judged, hurt, rejected?
But during her research, Brené discovered that vulnerability is the key to connection. That those who are open to others, who are courageous enough to allow others in, are the ones that create deeper relationships and have more fulfilling lives.
“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” — Brené Brown
When it comes to social media, the level of vulnerability you’re comfortable with is what will help you determine your level of honesty.
How to Test Your Vulnerability Comfort Level
Create a table of all the things in your life, past and present.
Your relationship, your family life, and your past experiences. Your thoughts and feelings, your health and wellbeing, your desires and fears.
Rate each of these against the following:
- I’m okay with this – These are things you’re comfortable sharing.
- I could if it helps someone – You may find sharing these difficult, try reframing techniques to help you see things from a different perspective.
- I’d find this hard – Again, you may find sharing these difficult. Reframing techniques could help.
- This is too sensitive – These may be too sensitive now, or you may never be comfortable sharing them. Revisit them from time to time to see if things have changed.
- Doesn’t fit my brand – If it doesn’t suit your brand (your values and personality), then it’s irrelevant.
Want a ‘done for you’ test? The Vulnerability Scale is part of my Invisible to Visible in 30 days Social Bundle. This gives you 50 areas to rate what you will or won’t share on social media.
What Vulnerability is Not
Being vulnerable and authentic isn’t about sharing everything in your life.
Always have a goal in mind.
Share what you care about the most and the lessons you’ve learned that can help others.
Are you interested in learning more about vulnerability? Check out Brené Browns TED Talk The Power of Vulnerability, it’s mind-blowing.