Much of personal branding is about being genuine and authentic.  Much of life is about change.  Often, changes affect ones personality.  The changes I’m referring to, at least for me, come from changing and evolving outlooks on life, humanity and the existence of everything.  Not to say that “I’m evolving,” but let’s say for a moment that our minds and personalities are always evolving, and usually in good ways.

Contemplation | Person standing atop a mountainIn my own mind, changes in outlooks on life, humanity and the existence of everything, can present challenges when it comes to being authentic and genuine.  It can call into question the whole idea of authenticity and what is truly genuine.  What exactly am I talking about?  I’m writing this post to help me answer this question.  Here’s what I’ve been reflecting on, which may help explain.

Years back, I worked at a company that had hundreds of employees, many of whom I provided technical support to.  At that time, my sense of humor and sarcasm were at an all-time high.  My then mentor coached me to be thoughtful about how freely I used humor in the work place.  I believe he said something to this affect.

“Sometimes people might not realize that you’re joking, and sometimes what you say can have an unwanted affect on co-workers and those we serve.”

Looking back, I think my mentor was very wise in trying to impress this upon me.  My inside-circle joke for years afterward would be, “Not everyone appreciates my awesome sense of humor.”  There is and was some truth to this, except that perhaps there was and still is very little that is truly awesome about my sense of humor.  It is true though that not everyone appreciates my sense of humor, understandably so.

Not too long thereafter, a close friend told me that it would be a shame for me not to be myself; which implied that my biting sense of sarcasm and humor were a good part of who I am as a person.  Maybe he was right.  Maybe it’s still true today, but the fact remains that some of us who think we have such a great sense of humor can benefit from dialing it back a bit sometimes, particularly when venturing outside of the inner circle of close friends.

I had a good reminder of this recently, when I made a wisecrack directed at one of my mommy Facebook friends.  Two days later I found an apology from one of her mommy friends for being a little hormonal in responding to my seemingly thoughtless comment.  At that moment, I was glad that going a couple of days between Facebook visits is my normal M.O.  The retaliatory comments were arguably warranted.  Although I didn’t worry too much about the whole affair, it was a poignant reminder that not everyone appreciates my sense of humor.

So back to my point.  I was talking about personal branding, being genuine, and being authentic.

Something else I’ve been thinking about more and more is the idea of compassion and how speaking (or commenting on Facebook) as though I’m so funny, sometimes drives me to a place where I’m not necessarily exercising compassion.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to be funny, but I also want to be sensitive to and aware of how others may perceive my comments.  Another idea I’ve given much thought to in recent years are the philosophies of Buddha, one of which pertains to attachment and how it creates suffering.  In doing my best to follow this practice of letting go of attachment, I have perhaps become a bit more even-keeled emotionally.  By this I mean that I may be less prone to getting overly excited or overly emotional about things.  I’m by no means living this way all of the time, but I do believe that regular contemplation on the very idea, has me slowly moving in a direction of personal change, a gradual change in my personality.  So… am I still being authentic, genuine and true to myself.  Time will tell.

There is no past. There is no future.

In today’s world of marketing, where personal branding is becoming more and more important when it comes to attracting an audience, there are a million ways to question ones own authenticity.  Perhaps all of the questioning is nothing more than the all-too-common imposter syndrome dialogue of the personal brand entrepreneur.  In the face of it all, however, I do believe that we can only be as true as we know how to be, right now, today.  As the saying goes, “There is no past.  There is no future.  There is only now.”