The Halloween/Samhain season is upon us and whether you’re gearing up for a costume contest, helping the wee ones pick out their last-minute costumes, or filling the bowl in preparation for trick-or-treating its a fun time a year to enjoy the magic of playing with masks.
This time of year can remind us of the power of playing with masks – and also the power of taking them off.
There’s an awful lot of talk about authenticity in the market today … and let’s be honest here… authenticity is HARD, particularly at first.
Like it or not we’ve been conditioned to understand that a large population of the world forms a lasting judgment on something, by its cover, on the first impression… and we respond to it.
As the market and world changes – and being human becomes the most important thing we CAN possibly be – it can be difficult to shake off those fears.
Yet, there is also a fine line between being human and being sloppy, lazy or lax.
Too often people take the “authentic” as an excuse to not clean up, smile, better themselves, develop into better leaders, gain more people skills, learn to use camera lighting and makeup, or any other number of such things…
“That’s just how I am” can be an excuse that seems to be a valid statement… but shouldn’t be letting people off the hook.
We should never buy into the story of “that’s just how I am” as an excuse not to better ourselves or grow ourselves or to look like we would actually fit in within the marketing industry that many of us work in.
Even Frank Kern, with his now fully authentic “just buy my shit”, had to go through an early phase of putting a spit shine on his professionalism in the days before anyone knew who he was, and the business suit on his chest “said” more about him to others than his name recognition did.
Fortunately, masks can ALSO be fun…
As we are growing portions of our selves, parts of our personality that are evolving are initially somewhat uncomfortable.
Learning to be a little more out spoken, getting over being camera-shy, adding some humor to our style, adding some seriousness to our house slippers… all of these, if they are new for us, can be uncomfortable as we grow into them.
But it can be fun to write just one post or video and “experiment” with this new tone… to write or record in the voice we want to grow comfortable in. To accent what IS an authentic part of ourself but to play it up more than we’re quite comfortable with at the moment.
Make it a game.
While I can be strictly professional, having grown up in a business, I also have what the more polite folks might call a “potty mouth” meaning that there are things I say that make a number of people tsk their fingers at me.
I had originally not let this be seen in social media – but when I shot my Business Success Roadtrip (volume 1) series, I was in quite a non business mood, and just having some sport with the video shooting, and I took off the gloves and let everyone see a much more real.. and some would say raw.. view of myself and my passions.
And… when I published the first few videos and several heard the … as they called it… me “dropping the f-bomb”… I generated quite a few raised eyebrows, some tsks, some expected annoyances… and a number of people who… while they said little drew much closer to me because they too knew that they were not always polished and polite and in my humanity they had seen themselves.
Authenticity will not attract us “everyone” but it will attract us the “right ones”.
The ones whose hearts and souls sing the same song or seek the same ending or salute to the same pride as our own.
Perhaps you are with your close friend a jokester the one known for a having a sharp sense of humor but you have kept it restrained do to the old ideas of “it’s just not professional”…
Show the world your humor and quick wit and you will be amazed as they enjoy the break from rigid formality!
Maybe you are one of these beautiful souls that has a love of things beautiful, orderly, matching and flowery… and these things make your heart sing… yet you try to not let your “voice” here be filled with these things least people not take you seriously….
Show the world your beautiful things, elegant poetry or even your neatly organized linen closet and let them share in the fun of these enjoyments and perhaps even learn a thing or two about themselves too!
Give yourself an opportunity to make a game of playing with a mask you seek to grow INTO (rather than one that hides something)… and it will help move you forward towards that result.
Use your beautiful talent to play in personas and roles as an opportunity to experiment … by testing the water with your toes… with aspects of your personality that you seek to strengthen.
Our fears are often way more to do with the skeletons in our personal closet than the zombies of the masses around us that haven’t woken up enough to want to love a real person just yet.
It’s a great time of year to hang that skeleton out on the porch and give ourselves permission to have a little fun and really explore who we can become as we grow into better friends, leaders, lovers and business people.
Have fun this weekend, be safe with your friends and family, and remember just like those scary ghosts and zombies that show up at your door for trick or treating… there is a beautiful person behind the mask just waiting to be shared with the world.