I still remember theses lines from a poem I had to memorize in high school English:
“Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks-
masks that I’m afraid to take off
and none of them are me.”
I get it, it can be scary to be you. You don’t think you are good enough. You are afraid of what someone will comment. I promise to you if you really want to cut above the noise just be yourself. That’s it. I also recognize that this is something I do not struggle with. I realize there are many folks out there who battle imposter syndrome. In fact, we all battle imposter syndrome to some degree. If no one else tells you this, I will. You are good enough the way you are and YOU can really make an impact on your profession. Here are things you don’t need to do:
Having a LinkedIn headline that claims you are a ninja, guru, or some other claim.
Calling yourself a thought leader, get over yourself, please.
Using headshots from 20 years ago, when people see you at a conference they shouldn’t have to be told who you are.
Filtering your picture so you have different colored eyes, seriously you aren’t fooling anyone.
But I’m still scared!
There are many people out there doing their own thing and killing it. Look no further than Brian Fanzo.
You can be yourself and have discretion. You don’t have to share everything. It’s a balance between authenticity and transparency. Here’s how I distinguish between the two:
Authenticty is what makes you, you. Your secret sauce, your preferences, everything that makes you human. Within your perspectives, you share your truth. By doing that, you are authentic.
Transparency, on the other hand, is to what degree you share your truth. You have different relationships with people in your life. You likely wouldn’t share something personal with an acquaintance but you may open up quicker to a friend. The beauty of being yourself online is that you can be authentic and not share everything. You aren’t being devious, you are just exercising your discretion.
If you want to learn more about how to build your digital brand to be more like you, select the image below to read my piece, Is My Digital Brand Human?, in Training Journal.