Being authentic in the creative space is a challenge these days. At least it seems to me. There is more content than there has ever been before, there are more creators and businesses than we can think of, and finding people, creators and creatives or creative businesses that really make a difference, that are true and authentic has become a matter of luck.
Many people want either to start something on their own, to pursue a dream, to follow a vision, they want to take a chance on making money and making a living by doing what they love. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them, just as I am. Creating authentic content, such as text, video or photo, and offers, such as products or services, or even art itself, is largely influenced by what we consume daily. And we consume a lot. But, to start with, what does it really mean to be authentic?
Note: This blog post contains audio version at the very bottom of this post. Narrated by: yours truly. Enjoy the ride.
To start, what is really authenticity?
It’s a topic that can go deep and wide, but I’ll stick to the basics in this article. Authenticity is, from my perspective, one’s ability to accept oneself fully and act out of that acceptance daily. What does that mean? To be authentic is to know where you are in this world. Authenticity is about knowing who you are, what your values are, your worldview, what you stand for, what is important to you in life in general, as well as in different aspects, like family, home, business, health, spiritually, etc.
Knowing where you stand in life and the ability to speak about it openly is what makes you authentic. To be authentic means to be be confident in speaking your truth, sharing your opinions in an honest way and making choices and decisions that support your values, what’s important in your life.
Authenticity is about listening to your inner feeling, following your intuition, and going for what you love, pursuing your passions and interests. It is asking questions, searching for answers, walking through life with an open heart and an open mind. Daily.
Being authentic is leading your own way with an open heart, feet deep in the ground, not afraid of being as you are. Deeply.
Being an authentic creator in the digital world
In the past decade the amount of creators, by which I consider artists, creatives, hobbyists and small business owners, as well as coaches, educators and teachers of all sort had increased immensely. It’s not that they were waiting out there for social media to burst out so they can show the world their skills. But as social media like Facebook, Youtube and Instagram were growing, as well as search engines such as Pinterest, more and more people started shifting their perspectives, getting inspired by the work of others, and wanted to explore the possibilities of doing something on their own. We’ve all been there, and we’re still there.
However, as social media platforms are growing, and more and more people are joining wanting to pursue what they desire, it’s becoming more demanding to stand out. To stand out, you don’t necessarily need to be different and original, but authentic. Consistently.
What’s the difference between being original and being authentic?
If something is original, it’s supposed not to be a copy. When it comes to people, often times it means to be unusual, perhaps eccentric even. Like none has been before, like none has done or acted before. Usually, the people who stood out throughout the history are the ones who made a difference and whom we can call originals. People like Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, to name a few. None have been like them ever again. Originality often comes with authenticity, but it doesn’t have to.
One can be original, eccentric, but driven not from their core, from their depths and values, but for playing a role and for the sake of being eccentric. On the other side, one can be authentic, but not being original. I mean, we all are original and unique, there is no doubt about it. The point is that you can be authentic, with everything that I have mention before, knowing who you are, knowing your values and what you stand for, but not bring anything new to the table. And that is totally ok, in case you wonder. I’ll explain in a bit.
So, as I mentioned before, it is becoming more demanding and challenging to stand out in the market. It seems like everybody is doing everything, everything looks pretty much the same, the voices, the messages, the content, the art. How do you differentiate and attract people your way?
How to stand out in the market?
Aside from quality content and consistency that are two key factors for bringing people in, being authentic is far more important than being like none has been before. You know what I’m saying?
As the market is growing, it’s becoming more demanding to market your business. For a customer this means a greater range to choose from, which is not always a positive circumstance, but on the contrary. It means more time spent on choosing, more content consumed, more mistakes in choosing made, more insecurities and dissatisfaction. It’s stressful. It is because we are constantly exposed to a large amount of creators and content which is overwhelming. The ones who stand the test of time and stand out for more than a season or two have these qualities:
- They have a vision and a business strategy.
- They give out great content.
- They show up consistently.
- They are not afraid to speak and share their values.
- They learn, improve and adapt – all the time.
Why it’s important to be authentic in your business
Aside from that, they key thing to attract people your way is to show your genuine self, or to implement and carry out your genuine values into your business. As more and more people are giving out much of the same, it will take authenticity for you to attract and keep people by your side. A question for you? Do you know why it is important to keep your people (aka customers) around you even when they have already bought from you? I would love to hear. Let me know down in the comments. I’ll reply to each and every one and you’ll get notified by email you provide.
So, it is not originality that will help you grow your business, but how much you really care about serving your people. And that can only come from authenticity. When you genuinely want people to feel good after buying from you or working with you, when you care about their feedback, when you know who you are and you want to learn who your customers are, this is what will differentiate you from the other fish in the ocean.
Authenticity in business is important today more than it has ever been before, just because of the competition. Starting a business is not about making it through for couple of years and making somewhat money to earn a living. Creative business that is heart led, vision driven, soul guided requires care, nourishment, love and that can only come from you really wanting to make a positive change and help others. Authenticity is what will make your business stand out in the market and resist the inevitable changes.
How to be more authentic in your creative journey?
When it comes to creating, and that goes for anything – from art, to food, garden, content, business, brand, strategy – for me it always makes the most sense to draw within. Not only physically, but also mentally. That means not taking in as much content, not consuming what is out there. When we fill our minds with work of others, it’s easy to loose ourselves, to overthink, doubt, fear or feel like an imposter.
Before I start creating, just like this article for example, I sit down in silence and meditation to calm, get present, or in contemplation, and I ask myself – what is my point of view here? What’s my angle? What do I think is important here? What is my experience with this? How has it been for me and what do I have to give out? It’s not that I think of these questions, but it’s what comes from within when I am able to be still and without distractions of others, such as other creators and business owners.
Being authentic in life and in creative business requires some self inquiry and getting to know yourself better. You know, it sums up to knowing who you are and standing confidently behind your choices and decisions. It’s about not being afraid to fail, to stand open in your vulnerability, to take in all that life has to give you without being restricted by your own limiting beliefs.
Authenticity is the only way to live a meaningful, fulfilling, inspired and valuable life.
I hope you enjoyed reading and got something you needed. What are your thoughts on authenticity? Leave a comment. I’m looking forward to reading.
Stay tuned for some new updates on my website, www.marinacosic.com that are coming soon, or join my weekly newsletter, Inspired conversations, where I share my deepest thoughts, insights and stories.
Sending good vibes your way.
Audio file for listeners:
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