Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass

Authenticity in an image-obsessed world

April 14, 2022 Jon Michail Season 1 Episode 32
Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass
Authenticity in an image-obsessed world
Show Notes Transcript

Have you noticed society always tells us: “Be yourself”... But what does that mean? Join Jon in this conversation and discover how not to lose yourself to match what ‘authentic’ means to others.

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Podcast Editor and Producer: Ana Carolina Alves 

Additional Voice: Charles The Voice 

Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)


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Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of image group international an award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image and reputation.

Hello, today's topic is about authenticity in an image-obsessed will. Have you noticed how society always tells us to be ourselves? But what does that actually mean? I want to explain this to you in the following podcast.

Now I have another question for you is being yourself the same as being authentic, this is a time for reflection. And of course, we know that bend yourself in the most authentic manner is definitely something we would regard as being real. However, the reflection should be the time in place. So authenticity is not about hanging out your dirty laundry to the world or prattling on about some, you know, some, some passionate concept you have with that context. And at the same time, without an understanding of the needs, feelings, and of course, respect of others. So it's basically authenticity is a self-management skill. That is not all about, you know, ad hoc 100% being truthful to the world every moment. 24/7 365 It's not about that at all. And I think there's a lot of misconception about that, especially when it comes to authentic leadership. Because the reality is people around you, if you're going to enrol, and persuade and influence, they also are looking for leadership that has self-control. Self-control is an important concept in communicating your power. And of course, your authenticity. That's the paradox of the modern version of be yourself rather than searching within people are trying to match what authentic means to others, what you'll discover is that the truly authentic people have an introspective aspect to themselves as opposed to an introspective. And what that means is they are willing to go within and Mike value judgments core value judgments from within, as opposed to again, from our point of view, retrospective point of view, trying to fit in with what the world expects, as I mentioned earlier, so the paradoxes is fairly common, okay, but what this all means is, and we all do it at some time in our lives, the key here is to become aware of that. And of course, if you're truly looking for authenticity, it's about going more within and less out. Authenticity is the ability to share the deepest and truest part of ourselves with other people, it begins with knowing who we are, and what we believe. And that's where your core values come into it. Because your core values are the driver, or the anchor, that keeps you moving forward. And of course, staying on the journey. And without that, potentially, it's like a boat. With no rudder, it's sort of going all over the place, I have a few tips that will help you not to get lost in this world of what we would regard as fake authenticity, especially in the leadership world. And that means corporations, governments, NGOs, etc. In my experience, over 30 odd years working with 1000s of leaders. It's a common one. And the key here is really to again, go within, go back to your core values. Because if you're willing to do that, and bring some vulnerability to the table, miracles happen. So let's start off with what we say there is, you know, never compromise your values. And obviously, every time you do compromise your values, there's a price to pay for. Remember, every action has a reaction. Everyone has a loss. It's just you need the awareness to see that. And the examples of that is, of course, you know, a great wind might be eating that beautiful chocolate, but the loss might be you know, two extra kilos. So it's not, you know, and I don't mean to sound righteous about that. It's about getting that in balance. Obviously, but it's about compromising what you actually value, you know, what's important to you. Authentic Leadership is about, you know, a sense of purpose, a sense that you belong, a sense that, you know, you get up every morning with a mission to create to do something. And of course, you know, it's having relationship-building skills to build relationships and rapport with people. That's authenticity. So if you're, you know, and well, that doesn't mean that you have to, you know, succumb to the group or Mike, you know, everyone 100% agrees with you. And if they don't agree with you, then you change your opinions. And so it's not about that, but it's definitely about being respectful, right. And you know, and persuading in a conversation that actually enrols people, as opposed to disenfranchise, I disenfranchise them, and you know, and certainly keeps them away. So because remember, everything we do is about relationships, everything we do is about building connections as human beings. So if we don't know how to do that, effectively, then it's time, you know, again, like I keep on saying, you know, revisit the mirror and see what's going on there. Because I promise you, you can actually transform that aspect of your life. And of course, authenticity is about you know, self-discipline is about goal, it's about keeping your promise that we've spoken about previously. And the main one, I think it really is about having a heart, having an open heart. Now you look at the world today, you know, you have a look at leaders around the planet, if there is no heart, trust me, you cannot trust them, because they are operating as transactional pods. Okay, and transactional pods are dangerous, because it's like a machine, what you want is some heart, some vulnerability, that something that says basically, I care about you, not I just care about myself. 

My next tip is never to care or depend on others' opinions. Well, let me rephrase that, of course, you care. It's to be human is to care. And it'd be, you know, hypocritical to say, not to care when I've just mentioned before that human being with heart care, but definitely, you're not dependent on other people's opinions. Because if you if that's how you run your life, constantly, what you'll be is a cardboard cutout of somebody else's imagination, not yours. So what that means is, you know, when when you can create your future, and you've been authentic is about you, you know, crafting what that future looks like for you, as opposed to somebody else crafting it for you. Because if somebody else has crafted your future for you, you know, that's a copycat approach. And really, there's no authenticity, no, in other words, you know, you're like a drawing, you just keep on doing what you got to do, just to sort of tick the boxes. So there's an opportunity here, right to create your own, you know, create your own, I suppose, from this perspective, personal brand that's authentic, and certainly is respectful of the society you live in. But at the same time, it's not a cardboard cutout, you know, and is not like a drone that really has no opinions, and no humanity. So you don't want to be a machine. And that's the point of my whole conversation here. You want to be, you know, a real human being and a real human being has a heart without heart. You're not being human. But the third tip is to always have your own back. And what I mean by that is this. If you don't care about yourself, number one, why should anyone care about you? This is very, very important. And we live in times of groupthink, that it's all about the group. Well, guess what every group starts with an individual. I'm not saying grip is not good. Of course, you're going to need people around you, you know, to build collaborations and opportunities to leverage, for instance, your career, your business, etc. But my tip is always to look after your own back. And be very careful again, from an authenticity point of view that you don't expose all your dirty laundry because that is just not smart in the Facebook world that we live in. You know, big tech has encouraged you to just keep on showing or be totally transparent. But it's really interesting because when I study the most powerful and wealthiest people on the planet, but don't get to see them being so transparent and showing everything that's on about their lives. So just be really conscious about that, because there are just some things that you know, need to be held in your own heart. And you know, and that's a decision you make. And there's nothing wrong with that. And that's sort of fits in a little bit with what I said at the start about self-control, a very important part of self-leadership. And my last tip is to always be curious, why is that important? Well, curiosity did not kill the cat. Curiosity actually freed the cat from the enslavement of ideas that were really not part of the cat's imagination if I can use that, that term. So basically, in a curious state of being is essential for your imagination. It's essential, basically, for your creativity. And it's essential for your confidence building, as opposed to again, being a cardboard cutout. Remember, life is short, and the clock is ticking for all of us. So with that curiosity, and without an opportunity to at least say what else is possible out there? Right? If you're not asking that question that cut the question around the possibility, then potentially, again, we're going back to, you know, a life like a drone, you know, and this is something that we encourage big time because your curiosity is what's going to get you to look in new possibilities. And if you're not curious, okay, you're, you know, you could be in a whole state of just constant.

What I would call is repetition. And, of course, too much repetition just leads to boredom. And boredom never leads to good things. So the curiosity element is very, very important. And we encourage everybody to consider that. And remember, you remember, when you're a kid, mag curious, you were, you know, how you'd basically pick up that rock, you know, potentially, as, as you know, as a child, you might even actually put in your mouth and taste it. You know, that's how curious you were. So we do all these sorts of things along the way. And at times, that Curiosity has been drummed out of us for whatever reasons. Okay, so I'm encouraging you to look at that because authenticity is around being curious as well. How can you not be curious, and be authentic, you know, the two sorts of living together? So please look at that, you know, look at that and go out and have a goal, you know, especially if you've got a real passion, a dream, you know, that says, there's a calling for you to really explore beyond the normal, big, curious, you know, it works. Okay, so remember this, and this is the final one. Being authentic develops the confidence, you need to handle almost anything in life with ease. And people will take notice and treat you with more respect, and realize you're not inauthentic or fake. So good examples of that. Authentic Leadership. And I want to focus specifically on authentic leadership. And, you know, remember, when we talk about leadership doesn't mean you need to lead, you know, two or more people, it starts on yourself. But of course, in reference to groups as well. Authentic Leadership is about sharing, again, your purpose, you know, what, what excites you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What mission are you sharing that is essential? It's about, you know, coaching, and supporting other people to make good decisions. And also, you know, being very clear about that, you know, it's not about necessarily being a nice guy, it's about being authentic in your feedback because what you're attempting to do is do good, okay, and certainly, you know, from the perspective of people is good for others. And of course, potentially, the group of the community you're in.

The other aspect of being authentic is being more a coach and less a boss. And that means less dictatorial, and less dictatorial does not mean that you have some fairly strict, you know, what I would call protocols on what actually goes on in the relationship and being very clear about that is being authentic as opposed to being in an environment with no protocols. And then before you know, and we know this when there are no protocols, or there are no rules of the game, people then tend to make up their own you know, and you can see this in a lot of workplaces today. What happens of course, with that is then you know, the boss in this case, you know, grills, the team member, and before you know, the team member saying, Hey, I didn't know anything about that you didn't tell me about that as a protocol, etc. So that's the more definitive you can get around all of that, you know, is, in my opinion, being authentic you You're not leaving anything to chance, because life as we know, gets out of control fairly quickly. And before you know it, people start blaming each other, you know, all sorts of friction come up because people have not been authentic as certainly from a leadership point of view from the outset. Other ways to do that is, you know, it's share stories with people share some great authentic stories, people love stories, their whole life is based on stories. So people connect to that. And of course, what that means is share some of your stories, and of course, you know, enrol your team, to also share their stories, you know, and bring them out, you know, if that's what they choose, of course, from the perspective of sharing, because what sharing does is, of course, create camaraderie and trust. The other thing, finally, I would say is also push your team, you know, push them to be a straight out debt. And of course, you know, everyone's got the story, everyone's got their life experiences, and everyone's got their baggage, and some people have caused serious trauma, you know, in the world where mental health is going out of control, okay? Authenticity is a key to bringing it back to self, bring it back to your original identity as a personal identity that's been constructed by forces outside of you, your identity is you it's not what the government tells you. It's not what your boss tells you. And it's certainly not what society tells you, your identity is you the authentic you. And there's an opportunity to reconnect with that with some work, you know, and it could be some simple work like, you know, meditation, it could be journaling, exercising, etc. Or it could be conversations with, you know, a professional, even a counsellor, but it's about getting back to who you really are. And that's authenticity. And at times, you know, depending again, the experiences of life, sometimes people struggle with their identity, and of course, their identity when it's inauthentic, or incongruent with who they are inside with the expression I put on the outside creates all sorts of problems. So authenticity is it's a really extraordinary asset to have in the world today with fake news, disinformation misinformation, it's, it's a serious problem. And if you don't believe me, you know, go and have a look at some of the leaders out there, I'm sure in your mind right now, you know, you know, who the authentic leaders are, and the inauthentic leaders and I'm gonna leave that up to you as an exercise go and check it out for yourself.

Well, I want to thank you for listening. I hope this episode was useful for you. If you like this episode, please rate the show on Apple Podcasts. If you do rate it, please send us an email confirmation and we'll send you an e-book the real world guide to authentic personal branding. The email is on the description of the episode. You can also find me on social media. You can follow me on Twitter at Jon_Michail on LinkedIn as Jon Michail and on Facebook as Image Group International. And remember, if you need my help with your personal brand journey please email me and I will be happy to work with you. I want to thank you all. I look forward to chatting again next week and I wish you an abundant week. Thanks very much. Cheers.

Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass" Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists, based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world. To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops please visit or call 1800 631 311.