Authenticity and Entrepreneurship

To be authentic as an entrepreneur means providing a service or offering a product that is an “extension” of the real you. It is having the courage to share a part of yourself. An authentic entrepreneur is willing to put him/herself out there. They are compelled to share their gifts with the world even if it means facing rejection. It is worth it for them. They have had enough of the rat race and maintaining “status quo”. The overwhelming desire has finally grown inside them to the point where it overshadows the fear of not appearing politically correct or , worse, failure.There is no more holding back. They may not know exactly how they are going to do it. They simply know that they absolutely must do something!!!

Certain business experts believe that it is better to find out what the public wants before marketing a product or service. It is my opinion, that this viewpoint revolves around gaining profit. Please don’t misunderstand me. As an entrepreneur, profit is paramount, but, so is delivering my message. The ideal scenario for me is to be able to provide a great lifestyle for my family while staying true to myself. My passion is to inspire others to realize their own unique potential and to be able to do that full time. Could you imagine being paid to do what comes natural to you?!! What would it be like to have a career which consisted of engaging in activities that you thoroughly enjoyed and getting paid substantial amounts of money to do so? For me, that would be ” heaven on earth”.

Believe it or not, each one of us has gifts to share. You have a purpose that you and only you are uniquely designed to fulfill. It is just a matter of identifying your gifts, desiring to share and learning how to “package” them. Whether you know it , like it or not, you are special. The world is better for you being in it. Embrace this truth and make the decision to “shine” in the way that best best suits you. To your continued success….. Stay true:)


How to Become Authentic.

What does it mean to be authentic? The Merriam -Webster dictionary has several definitions for the word: 1) real, 2) not copied or false, 3) true and accurate. Words like “real” and  “true” stick out to me. From personal experience, any time, in my life, that I tried to fit in to a group ended up going terribly wrong!! My whole purpose behind trying to fit in was to look good, but, on each occasion, I ended up looking like a complete idiot, or , at the very least , felt like one. I was miserable. My experiences have led me to  conclude that another definition for “authentic” is being happy. The importance of happiness is often underestimated. Authenticity is key . It can be challenging for many of us to be authentic especially if you have been conditioned to ” follow the crowd”. Based on my experiences, I have identified several steps towards becoming authentic that hopefully will prove helpful for you as well.

1) Love yourself.

Embrace both your strengths and “perceived” weaknesses. I say perceived weaknesses because what might be seen as a weakness to you could be encouraging for another. You are not a mistake. You are perfect just as you are. Fall deeply in love with yourself despite popular “worldview”. The world will catch up eventually. You are unique and there will never be another exactly like you. The authentic you is needed in this world to inspire others to set themselves free( authentic=happiness=freedom!!!).

2) Express yourself “fully”.

Whether it be through your clothes or sharing your opinion about different topics, never be afraid to express how you truly feel. Never be afraid to share both your likes and dislikes, regardless, of who agrees with you or not.Engage in activities and hobbies that resonate with you. Stop basing your importance on others approval of your choices. Remember that you are unique. Never shrink back. You neither do yourself or the world any favors by being a coward. I guarantee that someone in this world absolutely ” needs” to hear what you have to say. You have a significant impact on your world each time you make the decision to completely share who you truly are. You never know who is watching.

3) Practice mindfulness.

Be mindful of your thoughts and actions. Mindfulness is especially important if you have spent most of your life conditioned to maintaining “status quo”. Being authentic can be an ongoing process. It takes consistent practice especially in situations where we might be tempted to be intimidated( work, family gatherings, etc). Stay mindful of the times where you might be tempted to give a “rehearsed” answer to a question or when expressing your opinion to someone that you know doesn’t share your viewpoint. Learn to respectfully disagree, but, by all means, stay true to yourself.

In conclusion, being authentic is necessary in order to have a fulfilling life. Make it a daily practice to love yourself, express yourself fully and be mindful when you are tempted not to follow the first two steps.You owe it to yourself be happy and do everything that you can to stay that way. Happiness is an inside job. Becoming authentic is key. Stay real. Until next time….



Stay “Weird”, Stay Different

Did anyone see the Academy Awards ? I titled this post after a statement made by a screenwriter named Graham Moore during his acceptance speech for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay,” The Imitation Game”. I said and I quote, ” So in this brief time here, what I wanted to do was say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird , I felt different and I felt like I didn’t belong. And now I’m standing here and so I would like this moment to be for this kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird,stay different and then, when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much.”

I found his words both inspiring and empowering. He positioned himself as a role model for what is possible for the countless number of us who struggle daily to embrace their true selves. Individuals who live out each day in silent agony crippled by the fear of rejection and judgement. Each one of them unique and talented in their own special way as we all are. Although strides have been made in  supporting diversity and inclusion, there is still room for growth. It is my opinion, that there is no more nobler task than to discover and embrace your true self. How many times have we heard or read about the importance of loving one another? Remember Sunday school? (That is, if you grew up “in the church”). I have also heard the question asked “How can you truly love someone if you don’t love yourself?” I agree. Self love and self acceptance are necessary for full expression of ourselves. Full self expression is directly connected to enlightenment. In Buddhism, enlightenment is defined as awakening. You might ask yourself, “Awakening to what?” I define true enlightenment as awakening to your true self and embracing it. Enlightenment is not only limited to embracing our unique selves, but also the unique qualities of others around us. Each one of us is a different aspect of the whole originating from the Source of all things.

Picture what a true enlightened  society would look like. Imagine a society where all people were embraced for who they truly are.  The first step is  tolerance The second step is acceptance. Embrace is the ultimate goal. In a civilized society, no one should ever feel that they don’t belong. There are no “mistakes” walking the earth . If there has ever been a time in your life that you felt that you didn’t fit in, count yourself blessed. You are among the many individuals throughout history who embraced themselves in order to find the courage to share their unique genius with the world. Consider yourself part of an “elite class”: Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, Temple Grandin, and so on…. Let’s not forget those of us who stayed courageous and true to themselves without receiving public notoriety. There are too many to count. If we are all truly connected, one persons thoughts and actions effect all others. You deciding to express yourself fully potentially inspires each person on this planet to do the same. Imagine what that would look like. Being authentic is practically synonymous with being enlightened. Let’s make a pact to be our true beautiful, unique selves.Stay weird , stay different. Most importantly , stay true. Until next time.

P.S. Check out my videos on You Tube : Todd Lee/Life Coach/Motivational Speaker.