The importance of staying true to yourself is talked about a lot, but is not often followed through. Even when you think you are confident within yourself, when it comes to thinking about how other people will perceive you, you can often find you are changing things about yourself to fit a norm or expectation. Sometimes these are little things such as a hairstyle, choice of clothing or what you decide to eat at a restaurant. But on a higher level it could be your values or beliefs, or views on a particular topic.
Recently I was invited to speak on a Q&A panel at a Small Business Week Breakfast with other wonderful locally based business owners. Leading up to the event I was really worried about how I would come across. I was worried I might say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and come across differently to the other panelists. Another thing I was worried about was what I was going to wear and how I would be portrayed in front of an audience. Do I opt for the expected sophisticated power pant-suit, pencil skirt and blouse, or do I dress a little more feminine and truly be myself.
The morning of the event I decided to wear a blue floral dress. My other panelists wore dress shirts and pants, and the power pant-suit. I definitely stood out from the rest. And this was a good thing. I was so happy that I chose to wear that dress for the event - even though I soon found out that we were sitting on stools when on stage!
The main speaker of the event was Mark Bouris from Yellow Brick Road, and one thing he said really hit home with me. He was telling the audience an anecdote about staying true to your roots. Mark spoke about returning to Greece and his father's hometown on a regular basis and immersing himself in the culture. I live and breathe homebodii, which is ultimately a reflection upon myself. So I let my personality shine through in this vibrant floral dress.
That small decision of wearing a blue floral dress made me feel confident on stage. I even used it in one of my answers about staying true to your original ideas when it comes to business. I have always stuck to my core values and stayed true to myself when it came to homebodii, and I am very thankful that I did as I do not believe I would be in the same place I am today. When you stay true to your values, feelings, and beliefs, I truly believe you will go a long way in life and in business.
Another story of Mark's was about good and bad customer service. He talked about going to a local coffee shop early in the morning, he walked in and asked for a coffee. The staff there said that they weren't open and can't serve him for another 15 minutes. So Mark left, without his coffee and without a good impression. He came across another coffee shop, walked in and ordered a coffee. This shop was also not open, but the difference was they spoke to him with more understanding and did not tell him to just come back later. They offered him a seat, said they aren't open for another 15 minutes but will try and sort something out for him. This is the difference between good and bad customer service, a good or bad start to a morning, and the chance of gaining a repeat customer. This really resonated with me.
Your business needs to treat customers how you would treat someone you do not know. I consider my business an extension of myself, and for this reason the values and beliefs I have is often reflected through homebodii. We don't follow trends at homebodii, we make them, or we stay true to our classic feminine selves. We want all women to feel beautiful and comfortable in what they wear, so we create garments that enable women to feel this way. This is why I think it is so important that our customers see the faces of the people behind the business, and have that one on one personal conversation. This is how we believe our customers should be treated and this is how we stay true to the brand and be as genuine as we possibly can.
Here are my tips on staying true to yourself:
I hope these tips are of great help to you as they are for me. If you live every day by these simple things you can go to bed at night satisfied and knowing you have been true to yourself.
Let us know in the comments how staying true to yourself has helped you in life.
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