I have a serious problem. I am old enough at this point in my career that I don’t necessarily care what anyone else thinks of me. Not in a terrible, “Let me post this potentially embarrassing picture of my co-workers” kind of way, but more of a “Let me post this terribly embarrassing realization of myself” kind of way.
I wasn’t always this brazen. A few short years ago my LinkedIn profile would have put you (and three quarters of the internet) to sleep. I own a public relations firm and religiously posted about my clients in the news, my client’s articles being published in XX magazine or my clients' newest board member. You get the idea. Are you still awake and with me?
Good, because the truth is while I was busy posting about all of my clients in the news, I was sharing exactly zero information about myself. As soon as I became more authentic in my posts, my social media presence exploded. This led to speaking engagements, articles and additional clients.
Here are four ways you can start letting authenticity lead in your career.
1. Show your personal side.
Maybe it’s COVID, maybe it’s working from home, or maybe it’s the 40-ish attitude I was talking about above, but I have started posting non-perfect pictures of me doing things I love online. Crow’s feet while icing cookies with my daughter? Post it. Windblown hair while walking on the beach? Post it. Relaxing after skiing with sweat marks? Post it. If you're doing something you love, with the people you love, that genuineness will shine through. Some of the most beautiful people I know are lit from within, whether they have makeup on or not. So, ditch the mascara and tell us what you care about and why.
2. Admit you don’t have it all figured out.
I’m generally a mess. Seriously. I would love to tell you I walk around my house in clean white t-shirts with the perfectly tailored blazer and designer jeans all day, but let’s be real. Half the time, I am walking around with the mullet of all outfits: a productive blouse for Zoom calls on top with my coziest pajama pants below. I’ve left the worry of appearing perfect behind and now focus instead on being real. Not only does it help people connect with me on a personal level, but it builds stronger foundations for business too.
3. Show what you value.
Hands down my most popular posts involve me doing something with my kids and family. Don’t forget there are people on the other side of these profiles. Real, living, breathing people who want to know what you value. So go post that sweet picture of your kids running up to you with joy, share that Slack photo of your dog being hilarious, or tell that funny story of the time your newborn barfed down the front of you during an important presentation. People are dying for connection right now. Give it to them.
4. It’s ok to be funny.
Please, give us a way to laugh at ourselves! We are living in Bizarro land right now, but unlike other personal calamities, we are experiencing this glorious mess together! And man, do we need something to laugh about. Often humor is the easiest way to break the ice and generously give a lift to someone having a bad day. I remember posting a story about walking through an entire airport with the toilet seat cover (unknowingly) tucked into the back of my pants. The toilet seat cover! The entire airport! Why do I tell these ridiculous stories? Because I want people to know they are not alone. As Glennon Doyle says, “Now that we have stopped being perfect, we can be free.”
Are you ready to be free? What authentic posts can you share? Follow the above ways to bring more authenticity into your daily life and go post something real, right now. The world needs you.
Laurie Halter is the owner of Charisma! Communications and host of the Carearing podcast, where she explores how leading females “rear” successful careers and home lives at the same time. You can reach out to her via LinkedIn @LaurieHalter.