Expressing Authenticity in Branding - The Power of Building a Genuine Business

Being vs. Doing: Redefining How to Build a Successful Brand in 2024

leadership Jan 05, 2024

Earlier this week, on January 2nd, after a relaxing and cozy few days celebrating the holidays with my family, I opened my computer to get back to work. Immediately, I noticed a mental flood of all the things I needed to do and all the places I already felt behind in my business... And it was only January 2nd! 

Feelings of not enoughness and falling behind had been a consistent part of my daily experience for years, driving me toward doing more and more and constantly improving upon myself and my business with no end in sight. It was exhausting. It made me feel like a failure, no matter how much I did or how much I’d actually improved. 

Thankfully for me, I’d done a ton of personal growth work over the past year, and unlike previous years, I was able to stop and reflect on what was happening.

So this New Year, when I noticed feelings of falling behind and not enoughness creeping back in after the holidays, I made the decision that this wasn’t going to be my experience (again) in 2024! 

But how? 

How will I dissolve this pattern that’s been running my life for years? That’s the big question! 

It can be really hard, especially in our culture that encourages doing over being, and especially during the New Year when we’re swimming in the collective energy to do, achieve and improve (oftentimes, at all costs).

While it’s totally ok during the New Year (and any time of year!) to think about the goals we want to set – those big dreams and ambitious plans, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and the endless to-do lists (which can be problematic if it leads us to a place of feeling stressed and bad about ourselves). 

So this year, if you resonate with my experience, I want to invite you to consider something a little different, something that might feel a bit unconventional: the power of 'being.'

You see, in the bustling world of business, where every entrepreneur is striving to stand out by doing all the “right” things, there's something incredibly powerful about stopping for a moment and shifting your attention to how you’re being amidst all that doing. 

Because I dare say, if the doing is stressing you out and making you feel bad about yourself, that will show up in the way you’re being with clients, the way you’re being on social media and the way you’re being on camera or on stage. 

Now before you shut down your computer thinking, “I don’t have time to just be, I have big dreams for my business and there’s no time to waste!” stay with me for a moment because I’m not necessarily saying you need to do less (unless, of course, you know that’s what you need!). 

For most of us, it’s not as simple as just putting fewer items on our to-do lists. Personally, I’m so excited and inspired by all the things I want to do this year - I don’t want to do less! But I do want to take action from a place of inspiration, love and enoughness, so here’s my plan for achieving that this year.

Be Mindful: It’s important for me to be mindful of my energy behind my actions. Am I doing from a place of scarcity? I will know if I am because there will be an underlying current of anxiety… even if I’m doing things that I want to be doing! When I feel that anxiety starting to creep in, I know that I need to take a step back and adjust my intentions and my being behind the doing. 

Shift My Energy: If I notice myself falling into old patterns of “doing” from a place of scarcity, I will have a practice in place to shift my energy. Maybe it’s going on a walk in nature, taking 10 deep breaths, dancing to my favorite song … or? I will decide this week. And if what I decide on this week doesn’t stick for the whole year, that’s okay, because I know how to adjust and I know that I will need to have a way to shift my energy in the long run, not just in the right now. 

Stay Focused on My Priorities: It’s easy to get distracted by other people’s requests, exciting opportunities, or new ideas. Now, I’m not saying that all of these should be ignored by any means, but being clear about my priorities this year will help me know what to say NO to so I don’t end up piling on more to-do’s that make me feel like I’m falling behind. 

Carve Out Time for Play: This is a big one for me! For years, I didn’t understand how essential play was, not only in my personal life but also in my business. In fact, I told myself the story that play could come later, after I finished doing all the “important” things in my business. What I didn’t realize is how play helped me feel more relaxed, fulfilled and joyful, which had a huge impact on how I was being in my brand and with my clients. 

Prioritize Spaciousness: I feel spacious when I take time to meditate, go on a walk with a friend, cook a healthy meal, create art, or snuggle on the couch with my husband and watch a good movie. Spaciousness makes me feel like I have room to breathe in my life, whereas letting my to-do list run the show feels suffocating. Spaciousness also helps give me fresh perspective on all the to-dos and return to action reenergized. So, this year I am going to leave room for spaciousness in my life and business. 

I want to be clear: there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to approach your goals and build your business. I’m not advocating for you to empty your to-do list and spend less time doing. I’m simply inviting you to reflect on how you’re being amidst all the doing. It’s about who you’re being while you’re in action. Because that actually has everything to do with achieving your big dreams and building an impactful brand in 2024 and beyond. 

To give you another example of what I mean, I’d like to share a story about one of my clients. The name and some details have been modified for privacy, but the point of the story and the lessons learned remain the same.

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From Authenticity to Automation (and back): What we Can Learn From Losing Personalization in Favor of Professionalism

Emma, a dedicated wellness coach specializing in holistic nutrition, came to me frustrated with an experience she had working with an email marketing specialist, and this story teaches a very important lesson!

Emma initially built her client base through heartfelt, personalized email newsletters – so much so that she even had email subscribers referring their friends to subscribe to her too. Each email she sent to her list was a labor of love, filled with genuine experiences, her own health journey, and tips that personally worked for her – it felt more like reading a letter from a friend than opening just another email in your inbox. Her subscribers felt a deep connection with her stories, and her inbox was always full of responses and inquiries about her coaching services.

Over time, as her business grew, Emma decided it would be smart to streamline her efforts. She was introduced to automated email marketing tools, and worked with an email marketing specialist to craft a series of emails that were well-structured, professional-looking, and more polished than what she’d been sending out. The goal was to reach a larger audience more efficiently, and save time in her email marketing efforts. 

At first, Emma was excited about this polished new approach – this is what she thought (and was told) that professional email marketing should look and sound like, and she was finally on the right track! 

However, she soon noticed a shift from her subscribers. Her open rates started to decline, and the personal responses she used to receive completely stagnated. The emails, though visually appealing, perfectly edited, and finished off with that professional polish, lacked the personal touch that her audience had come to love. They were no longer uniquely 'Emma,’ but instead they felt like any other wellness newsletter found online.

She realized that in her effort to professionalize and automate her communication, she had lost the essence of what made her emails special - her authentic voice and personal touch. Her being herself! Her subscribers had been drawn to her original, heartfelt stories and personal insights but in an effort to do more, to do what she thought was more professional, she completely lost her personal touch.  

With this realization, I helped Emma clarify why she made this shift in the first place, and we made a plan for her to get back to her roots. She took what she’d learned about emails from her specialist, and began infusing her personal stories and experiences back into everything she wrote, even if it meant sacrificing some of the polish and perfection. 

Gradually, her engagement rates began to climb again, and the responses from her subscribers became more frequent and enthusiastic, like they had been previously!

Emma's journey in email marketing is a testament to the power of BEING in business! While automation and professional aesthetics can be valuable, they can never take the place of showing up as your truest, most fully expressed self for your audience.  

In the digital age, where inboxes are inundated with professional-looking emails, what made Emma stand out was her genuine, heartfelt communication – her letters from a friend. 

Her initial success was not due to flawlessly structured emails and a professional, polished tone, but was built on speaking directly from her heart and sharing personal stories and insights. This approach resonated deeply with her audience, creating a unique bond that professional editing just couldn’t replicate. 

This isn’t to say that trying to perfect a craft or hiring a specialist to help you is a bad thing – but throughout all of those extra things, don’t forget to continue to BE yourself! Even in a professional setting, showing vulnerability and sharing genuine experiences can be more powerful than a flawless façade.

After all, it's the imperfections and personal stories that make your brand relatable and endearing to your audience.

By finding a balance between taking inspired action to grow our businesses and maintaining our unique way of being in the process, we pave the way for a more fulfilling and successful journey in business and life. Let's make 2024 a year of genuine BEING and aligned success!


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