We have all experienced them, the random personal questions that are asked as we try to access our personal finances online. The six figure code of letters and numbers we enter are required just to request a friend on Facebook. All around us are forms of authentication. Since the passing of the Patriot Act, most online transactions and information gathering platforms require some form of validation that we are real and our intentions are legitimate.
As an opera performer, there is a pressure for historical authenticity in performance. This pressure originates externally, although many of my friends have internalized the expectation. It becomes a point of conflict, resolved only through first embracing the intent of the work and then refreshing it with our own internal drive, and even then there is great risk that it will not pass the test of authenticity. One of the worst responses to a performance can be, “I’m not buying it.”
With such emphasis poised on authentication, how do we translate our desire for sales revenue into a legitimate consumer solution? If your only goal is to make money, what is my motivation to buy?
Wiki defines Authenticity as the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.
In the 1990’s the term was empower; empowerment. Today the term is authentic; authenticity. People have experienced identity theft well beyond their scope of imagination. An increasingly important commodity in our society is trust. Where does it come from?
I would propose that real authenticity in business begins at the origin; within.
The authentic self was coined in reference to our deepest understandings of ourselves. This understand guides us to the best use of our lives. The understanding is expressed through our loyalty to internal rather than external influences. Religious and Metaphysical disciplines have addressed the importance of authenticity through yoga and meditation. Any discipline (which indicates practiced action) that takes us to a place of deep reflection. Rippling waters will not create a clear reflection.
Our first sales relationship is with ourselves. Can you look yourself in the mirror and buy what you are selling? Can your closest friends and family? What solutions are you creating for your neighborhood, community, the world?
Authenticity is ultimately translated in how you market yourself and your products. It translates most clearly when it originates from a point of internal sincerity; true belief in one’s products and services. What is the most compelling reason that people will buy your product? If you can’t answer that question with sincerity of intent, no one else will. If the most valuable commodity out there is trust, then wouldn’t authenticity be the solution?
Many people have “New Year’s Resolutions”, I tend to take a little bit of a different approach to life and set internal goals for myself. This year my word was “authentic” – little did I know that it might be the buzzword of the year. ☺ I feel that in business and in many personal relationships this characteristic is a rare commodity. We live in an era of airbrushing, pretense and ego, whatever it takes to make the sale! There seem to be few people that can set those concepts aside, but when I do meet them, I gravitate to them. Whether it’s a salesperson or an online dating ad, I dig to find something real. I define authenticity on a very personal level of being true to who and what God created me to be. I was placed on this earth for a reason and it’s my job to find out what that is. This frame of mind carries forward into business relationships, friendships, and parenting, basically every aspect of my life. I applaud you for bringing it to the surface and I challenge each reader to look at their own lives and define what authenticity means to them! What a better place this world would be if more people embraced this concept! I believe it will benefit them in more ways than they dreamed!