Know thyself

Let’s be honest, do you truly know who you are?

Are you clear on your values and passions? Do you have a clear idea about what your signature strengths are and what type of personality you are?

We often go through life not really looking too deep inside, because it makes us uncomfortable. Being honest with yourself and truly opening yourself to the world is scary!

We tend to look outside more, judge what we see around and then judge ourselves by the same lens. But do we truly know what motivates us, what drives us and what makes us happy?

Be who you are

Easier said than done!

“Be authentic in your marketing!”

“Be yourself and let your personality shine through.”

“Be transparent, attract the best and repel the rest.”

We often hear that we need to be authentic in our marketing, that we shouldn’t be afraid to show our personality or to express what makes us unique. You’ve probably heard many marketing experts saying to allow your personality to shine through your content on your website and in your social media posts.

I was doing exactly the same, I was also saying these things to myself and to my clients!

And technically, there isn’t anything wrong with that. But…

Only recently, I realised that even though I agree with this and I followed this advice for a while now, I actually don’t think that I truly know who I am.

Over time, I got too much into the habit of building a persona and presenting myself in a certain way to build a distinctive and memorable personal brand.

But along the way, I lost track of who I really am.

A quick look at my journey thus far

This might have been caused by a sequence of decisions that lead me from uni, through initial work experiences, to getting interested in social media marketing and starting a career in this area. Moving to a new country in the meantime, finding a first proper job abroad and later on deciding to set out on my own. 

Looking back, even though all these were my decisions, there was a little to no deeper thought or intention behind them.

I kept moving forward, taking one step after the other, but not thinking twice if this is the right direction for me.

And somewhere along the way, I forgot who I am. I forgot to look inwards every now and then and instead I was focusing too much on the outside world.

This journey also changed me a lot. Along the way, I slowly started becoming the person that I am today. And I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today without all these decisions and challenges along the way. 

It’s an interesting conundrum. Not knowing who I really am. What makes me happy and what I’m good at. And yet, knowing that I’ve grown more into myself over the past couple of years, especially since I started running my own business.

It’s been an equally transformative and yet partially misleading and confusing journey.

Look within instead of paying too much attention externally

Over the past couple of months, I started looking more inwards and exploring who I am. I have decided to pause, go back to the beginning and get to know myself a little better.

And it has led me to change the direction of my path.

Back in high school, I wanted to study psychology, but I ended up being accepted to journalism and economics instead. But I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and keen to understand human nature better.

When I started exploring who I am again, I went through a couple of personality tests to see what they will tell me.

I sometimes feel that with personality tests it’s similar as with astrology. Some people believe in it, and others don’t. Even though there’s definitely more research and meaningful data behind various personality tests than astrology, it’s always good to take the results with a pinch of salt. But I was pleasantly surprised by how accurate they were (at least from my perspective)!

And many things started to make a lot more sense. I got some clear answers on why I behave and think in a certain way, especially compared to others.

How to be authentic in your marketing

Coming back to where we started, talking about marketing, personal branding and being authentic – are you truly being yourself, or are you holding back some parts of yourself? And are you holding them only from the public eye or even from yourself?

We all know that we should be clear on our values and aligned with our clients’ values, but sometimes it can be hard to actually know who we are, without taking the time to think deep, consider and explore our inner landscape.

This post’s purpose is to simply encourage you to maybe pause for a little while and think again about who you are! You might want to go ahead and do some personality tests, explore what your signature strengths are.

Once you get some more insights, sit with it for a moment and see how it makes you feel. Only then have another look at your online presence and see how you’ve been presenting yourself in the past.

Is your content and your tone of voice aligned with who you really are? Are there certain things that are worth adjusting?