Didn't take long for the petty in pop culture to flourish. Taylor Swift got her whole entire life snatched by Kim Kardashian who "leaked" a video of Taylor encouraging Kanye West to move forward with his "Famous" song. Now sweet, innocent, women-empowering, and offended little Taylor is looking crazy, and her perfect wholesome brand? Somewhat shattered.

Here's what this recent fiasco can teach us all: Your brand is built on you being consistent in word and deed. You can't be the trap queen on Snapchat and Boardroom Betty on Instagram. Don't be Rihanna in private and the 2016 Mother Theresa in these streets. I promise you, you will slip up one day like young T. Swift did, and your reputation will be the price that you pay.

It doesn't matter if you come correct or controversial, people yearn for authenticity more than appropriateness.

Read that one more time, because you know you've been stressed trying to be what you think your company, business, clients or followers want you to be. All this time that you have spent overthinking the email, the post, the business idea, the conversation with your boss, the "talk" with bae, has been time wasted. You and T. Swift need to get over yourselves. What does that mean? You are not that special, boo. You are human like the rest of us, with flaws and insecurities. You get petty, you're messy at times, and you talk ish. C'mon, you know you've hated on someone about something in the last 7 days, if not 24 hours. And that's ok. When you're proud of your flaws and your humanity, nobody can use it against you. Just look at carefree Kanye.

If someone is out there saying: Her emails are so blunt. She's so rachet. She's rude. That's not how you should talk to people. Guess what? My QuickBooks account says otherwise. I am not everyone's cup of tea, but I rather be someone's shot of Patron. Because being unapologetically myself is much easier than trying to craft a persona to please you all. That would be just another thing on my to-do list that I don't have time for.

The number one question that I receive is this: How have you managed to remain authentic? How have you been so "real" and succeeded in business?

The answer: I don't give a *bleep.* (You need to read the next sentence in Joanne the scammer's voice to get the full effect.) Girl, you don't compare, where you don't compete; Truly, honestly.

You need to stop trying to live up to somebody else's standard of excellence, and craft your own. What I'm saying is, I can succeed in business being authentic, because I've never tried to be anything else. I wrote this email to you, without ever stopping to edit the tone because it was too ___ [insert any adjective of your choice here]. I wrote this email exactly how I was thinking it, and what I would say to my best friend, if she came to me throwing a pity party.

What does authenticity look like for you? What does it feel like? Is it exciting, soothing, entertaining, humorous...? Who are you when the "cameras" are off? Who are you with your friends and family? Are you that same person at work and at home? I challenge you to bring some of who you are in your personal life into your professional life, and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to connect with people. You won't be second guessing the blog post, the periscope, public speaking, the presentation at the office, or the first date. The longer that you send your representative out into the world to be you, the further the lines between who you are and who you think you're supposed to be will be blurred.

How do you start to be authentic? Keep it real with yourself.

Journaling is the best strategy to keep it real with yourself. We spend so much time doing "the work" to be successful, but we overlook the "inner-work" we need to do to be sane and to bring our best selves into everything we do. Self-care can't be an after-thought. Set aside time each day to look in the proverbial mirror and think about who you're becoming and if you like what you see. 

So whether you pretend to be perfect like Taylor Swift or are messy like Joanne The Scammer, the world has a place for you.

This Email's Spark Notes

  • Being authentic is more important than being appropriate.
  • I'm tired of guessing what to write about. Vote here for my next blog post.
  • I published a new journal to help you get your mind right: Sanity and Success
  • If you struggle with authenticity, you can still sign-up for: The Glow Up.

Until next time something foolish happens in pop culture,

P.S. If you're in Atlanta this week, meet me for the Defining Decade panel on Wednesday. It's free 99. I will also be in New York August 3-6 and 19-21, so if there are any events/panels/conferences you would like to see me at, send them my way.