A Short Guide to Being Yourself Online

Apr 25, 20172 comments

“Be yourself” is the most useless piece of advice ever.

Together with “Don’t worry” and “Don’t be shy.” Like there’s a switch button for that. Shyness off. Being myself mode activated.

Be yourself, and everything is going to be fine.

 

It’s not a bad piece of advice. But it doesn’t help:

When your Mr. Darcy asks you out for the first time and you google “how to make someone fall in love with you,” you get 13,900,000 results (just checked it) and the #1 tip is to be yourself.

The night before your first big speech or your first live lesson, you search for something—anything—that would help you get rid of stage fright. And the public speaking gurus tell you to be yourself.

And when you can’t force yourself to market your business online, you ask marketing gurus, and they tell you to JUST be yourself. Duh!

Dear gurus, I am myself—and that’s my problem! I don’t want to be myself. I want to be someone cool, someone who is over it, someone who knows it all and has it all together, someone who isn’t full of fear.

Someone who isn’t full of fear.

 

So that’s why I don’t want to be another person telling you to be yourself without telling you how to do it. Today, I want to give you three quick, practical tips that will help you trick your brain into being more confident and get unblocked so you can be yourself even if you’re scared as hell.

 

Afraid to be yourself online? This might help.Click To Tweet

 

#1: What would Beyonce do?

Beyonce isn’t the only one who uses this trick, but she’s one of the most famous examples: To overcome shyness and give herself courage, she created an alter ego named Sasha Fierce. (She later killed Sasha and created a new persona, Yonce. But anyway.)

On the stage, she wasn’t herself. She was this wild and sexy woman, Sasha Fierce. She basically tricked her brain into being more confident.

Sounds doable, right?

But can you become yourself by being someone else? I believe that you can. It is you—minus your fears, perceived limitations, and concerns about what others may think.

I mean, think about it. There is a “Sasha Fierce” living inside of you, just beneath the fear. She is your unfulfilled potential. 

 

My question for you: Who is your inner “Sasha”? Could you give her (him?) a name? What would she do if she could? What would she create?

 

Action step:

Next time you can’t force yourself to hit the publish button, send the email, ask a question in an online forum, or whatever—free your alter ego for a moment. It usually takes less than 20 seconds to do the thing you don’t want to do.

Let Sasha do it and see what happens.

 

#2: You are not just one person

Now, I want you to think about three people you know. All of them should be close to you, but each of them should be associated with a different area of your life (for example your spouse, best friend, and sister).

Got it? Great.

Now, think about who you are when you’re with each one of them and when it’s just the two of you. How do you speak? What do you talk about? How do you behave?

The chances are that each time, you’re a different person. Not completely different, but different. Right?

And yet, each time, it’s 100% you.

Similarly, when putting yourself out there online, you can be 100% you without getting 100% naked. You can show some parts of yourself and hide other parts. It’s not cheating. It’s still you.

You are the one who sets the boundaries for your online personality. Of course, in real life, you don’t have to think about it. It just happens. But when building a personal brand, you have to be intentional.

When I realized this, it felt so liberating. I felt so much more in control. That’s why in my Brand Manifesto Workbook, I included an exercise to help my clients draw the line between themselves and their online personalities—and it turned out to be one of the most helpful exercises.

 

My question for you: Who would you be if you were hanging out with your Dream Client in real life? How would you speak? What would you talk about if it was just the two of you?

 

Action step:

Decide how you want to be perceived online. What is the person like? Write it down. Describe her. How does your Dream Client feel when they meet her? What does your Dream Client like about her?

(Once you decide, stay true to your online personality so that you don’t turn your brand into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)

 

#3: You are the stories you tell

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not endorsing creating a fake personality for your online business, pretending that you’re someone you’re not, or hiding behind someone/something else. That would make your brand less trustworthy and less human (not to mention the legal side of your business).

I’m just trying to say that the stories you tell yourself and others have enormous power. You can tell better stories that are true and that will help you be yourself:

You can stop telling yourself that you’re too shy, too emotional, or too introverted to run an online business. You can use whatever you consider your weakness and turn it into a superpower.

☆ If you’re paralyzed by fear, you can do what Beyonce does. For a while, pretend that you’re someone who isn’t full of fear. Do the thing you don’t want to do. Then, when you become yourself again, you’ll see that it was YOU who did it. And you’ll see how courageous you really are.

You can choose who you want to be online. You are not your brand; you are so much more than that. Keep some parts of yourself to yourself.

 

You are not your brand; you are so much more than that.Click To Tweet

 

Final action step:

Find your personal motivational story and use it as a reminder of who you are.

Think about the time you helped a client in a big way. Every time you feel like this is not you or like you can’t do it, remind yourself of your story. This is who you are. This is why you’re here. You aren’t here to thump your chest and manipulate people to buy your stuff. You are here for your Dream Client.

And she needs you to show up as yourself.

 

Okay, here’s what to do now:

★ If you need help creating guidelines for your online personality, get my Brand Manifesto Workbook.

★ In the comments, please tell me: Are you afraid of being yourself online? When was the last time you overcame your fear? How did you do it?

✯ If you found the tips helpful, would you mind sharing the article on your favorite social media? It helps me a lot. Thank you!

 

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2 Comments

  1. Elena Mutonono

    Thanks for yet another inspiring post, Veronika!

    I sometimes find it difficult to be both inspiring and telling the truth. Although I do believe that truth sets you free, I’m not entirely sure how truth can be comfortable all the time. Inspiring is a bit different, I think. But telling the truth (something that we share with authority) – it’s eye opening and can be perceived judgmental. What do you think? And then of course I don’t want to be judgmental.

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Hey Lena,

      Hmm – food for thought! I think there is a line between stating facts (telling the truth) and being judgemental. The truth is objective, judgment isn’t. But then again, being judgmental and being perceived as judgmental are two different things.

      I think that you (now I mean as a brand) should be telling the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable. But when you arrive at a place when it’s not just uncomfortable, but it could go against your brand values and personality, you should remain silent. Like in the example I shared a couple of weeks ago, when someone was publicly complaining about her clients. I believe it was true (her clients not paying bills on time), but it was also unnecessary. The person was clearly working hard on building a brand reputation (as a warm, feminine brand) and then she ruined it.

      But then there are other things, for example calling someone out for copycatting. Should we do it? On one hand, I feel sorry for copycats because they’re hurting themselves. On the other hand, someone should tell them that it’s not okay and that people notice it and talk about them, even if they think that no one knows anyway. Right?

      But doesn’t it only add to the negativity? Maybe copycats don’t give a damn. Maybe you can use your time and your voice to helping and inspiring people instead.

      Not sure 🙂

      Anyway, that you for your thought-provoking comment!

      Reply

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