Let’s face it—taking risks can be scary, especially when the stakes are high.
I remember when I was presenting a business initiative at the UN a few years ago and the performer that was going to kick off the big announcement was unable to make it last minute. I decided to show the production organizer some of my songs and offered to sing as an alternative. I got the gig and was live in 12 hours.
I ended up doing a twenty-minute improv set the next day, making songs up on the fly. I was met by roaring applause and ovation. Today some of my best contacts come from that event, not because they remembered my business initiative but because they remembered my soul and my voice.
That’s because business thrives on relationships. One-third of employers rank personality as a worker’s most important quality, above skills and experience. When deciding which brands to buy from, consumers choose brands that have a personality they can identify with.
Today’s most successful Millennials all have one thing in common: they lead with their personalities. Whether you’re looking to get promoted, build an audience, or find the right business partner, leading with what makes you unique is a worthy risk that will help you advance your career.
YouTube sensation JP Sears says his online presence exploded after he decided to share his sense of humor with his audience.
If you don’t know who Sears is, he’s a YouTuber with a rapidly growing following of 1.5M across social platforms, and over 100M video views. He’s most known for his hilarious spoofs on New Age culture, and his book, “How To Be Ultra Spiritual, which launched March 7. Sears is also an emotional healing coach, a retreat leader, and an international teacher.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Sears shares how taking this key risk of leading with personality was the accelerator for his brand’s success.
According to Sears, it wasn’t until two years and 150 videos into his YouTube career that he decided to let his humor appear on camera. Before launching his ‘Ultra Spiritual’ comedy series, Sears’ channel was reserved for sincere life advice.
Though his channel was successful, Sears says he felt like something was missing. Humor had always been an integral part of his personality, but he worried it would damage his professional image. “I had told myself a story that it would be bad for business to let my sense of humor out on video,” he says.
In spite of his fear, Sears decided to film his first comedy video. “At the time I thought, this isn’t a good idea, but I’m going to do it anyways,” he recalls.
The video went viral and spawned demand for a comedy series, which is now the namesake of Sears’ brand. The ‘Ultra Spiritual’ series has over fifty videos and counting, and has done wonders for his business, enabling him to effortlessly sell out coaching sessions and international speaking commitments, as well as propelling him to social media stardom.
Sears’ message is that risking being 100% authentic is your greatest asset. “You always win when you’re yourself. You can’t lose,” he says.
Below, Sears shares tips to lead with your personality and showcase what makes you unique.
Get Connected To Your Why
Being authentic can be scary, and if you’re not connected to why it’s important, it’s much easier to just play it safe and hide.
Sears says what drove him to release his first comedy video was the pain of withholding a key part of himself from the world. If he never stepped up to the plate and shared his humor, he said he’d resent himself and feel empty inside.
Ask yourself, what would it cost me if I lived my whole life never letting this part of myself shine? Be honest, connect to the pain, and use this propel you towards courage.
Embrace Your Insecurities
One of the biggest roadblocks we encounter in the way of being authentic is insecurity. When we judge ourselves, we anticipate others will judge us too, which can keep us from sharing certain aspects of ourselves.
“It’s ok to feel insecure,” says Sears. “All people are insecure. We have to be willing to embrace the insecurity as part of our nature, and to become aware of it. The more we know what our insecurities are the more we can grow beyond them and live with them.”
Ask yourself, what are my insecurity-driven behaviors? What do I avoid doing? Once you gain awareness of your insecurities, you have the power to recognize them for what they are and show up powerfully by acting in opposition to them.
Flex The Courage Muscle
“There’s a lot of wisdom in intentionally making ourselves uncomfortable,” Sears says. “Courage is a muscle. If we’re fearless we’re not in a courageous state, we’re doing something that’s easy for us. Courage is we’re doing something that scares us.”
In order to flex your courage muscle, Sears recommends doing something everyday that scares you both physically and psychologically. When you challenge yourself to acclimate to greater and greater thresholds of discomfort, difficult feats, like being authentic, will become more effortless for you.
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