We've all heard the adage

"Be Authentic"

But the truth is – You have to WORK at being who you really are.

I’ve never been afraid to do the work when it mattered, and I know you can relate:

Stacet Shipman Collage

Sports/dance/band practices, sometimes in the suffocating heat, to ensure a championship performance. Sit still, be polite, follow the rules, and speak only when it’s your turn. Exercise daily to keep weight and health in check, especially after gaining the freshman 15. Log the miles to run a marathon or hike a mountain. Earn a Bachelor’s then a Masters degree, then climb, climb, climb the corporate ladder.

We spend our lives training to be accomplished, presentable, worthy and well-rounded.

So WHY was it that when I quit a successful market research career (one that inflated my bank account and deflated my spirit) to start a business, I felt defeated, awkward, foolish, and unprepared?

I had the fancy credentials…

but lacked the confidence and ability to put myself out there.

That’s like being a shark without any teeth.

Networking efforts

wasted time and money because I asked questions of everyone else yet rarely talked about my work.

During presentations

my body tensed up, mouth got dry and a “professional” monotone voice put people to sleep.

In meetings

I kept ideas to myself so I didn’t come across as pushy, aggressive or bothersome.

Despite having important visions & goals, I couldn’t make them happen.

So, I lost access to decision-makers, missed out on opportunities, left money on the table and became a best-kept secret. This led to a steady stream of stress instead of success.

So, now what?

Sometimes to get around an obstacle - real or imagined - you do what you’ve done a thousand times before. Put yourself in situations where you have to do the work.

I joined Toastmasters, hired coaches, attended workshops and conferences, joined networking groups, signed up for singing lessons, enrolled in standup comedy classes and said yes to leadership and business opportunities that forced me to put myself and my ideas out there. I relied on my yoga and meditation practice to stay grounded, focused and committed to the vision.

You know what I learned?

Formality weighs a TON.

You have to get really strong if you ever want to shake it off.

When you have the fortitude to

let go of the conventions and status quo it’s easier to:

  • Connect

    with clients, peers, prospects…anyone

  • Sell

    your vision or ideas more naturally

  • Embrace

    obstacles and turn them into opportunities

  • Disrupt

    the stagnant energy in a windowless conference room, after listening to 19 people introduce themselves for 5 minutes each, by standing up, throwing your hands in the air and shouting “WOOOOO!!!!” to ensure all eyes are on you when it’s your turn to speak. (Been there, done that. BTW, everyone put down their phones, sat up, and a few came up after the meeting to discuss what I did for a living.)

Whatever it is about your public persona that’s weighing you down,

understand that persona isn’t you…

it’s you in restraints.

And if you’d like to live without them,

let’s get to work.

Stacey Shipman

What's Weighing You Down?

Find out the 10 most common "formalities" that keep people from performing at their best. (No email required)