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The 4 Myths of Authenticity and How They're Holding Your Business Back

Why Being Authentic is Easier Said Than Done

During my childhood, I firmly believed that purple was my favorite color, to the extent that my entire room was adorned in varying shades of purple, from the walls to the carpet.

However, in college, I had a revelation—I didn't actually love the color purple.

This realization led me to wonder: how had I become so convinced that purple was my favorite color in the first place?

It dawned on me that my third-grade teacher had a strong fondness for purple, and in my eagerness to emulate her, I had convinced myself of my love for the color for years.

Why do I share? Because the journey of discovering one's authenticity often parallels this narrative.

Many mistakenly assume that authenticity is innate or effortlessly acquired, but it's far more than that. True self-awareness requires us to unravel and shed layers of conditioning, beliefs, and habits that we've adopted, much like shedding a costume, in order to reveal our genuine selves.

Then combine that with business and building an online presence and boy do things get complicated quick.

In this blog I'm dispelling four common misconceptions on authenticity and building an online presence. It comes with an awesome downloadable fillable PDF worksheet and workshop to help you immediately start showing up more authentically online!

Dispelling Four Common Misconceptions On Authenticity and Building an Authentic Business Online

Myth # 1. “it should just feel natural, be easy or effortless”


Authenticity is the act of being true to oneself.

But who are we if our personality is shaped by societal norms and family dynamics?


Embracing authenticity is more of a journey in self-discovery. As adults, we have to try new experiences, shed old behaviors, and peel back the layers to find what’s underneath.

picture of a quote


How does this relate to our business and showing up on social?

For the first time in maybe ever, you’re putting something out into the world that comes from you. You care about it, you love it, and you want to make someone else’s life better.


The catch? It’s not free—because you’re a business.

In order to get people to care, you’re gonna have to work really hard to get their attention.


The hard truth is no one cares as much as you do about the thing you sell. You have to earn peoples time and attention.


This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just reality—you yourself have brands you love and stay loyal to.

Ask yourself what it is about that brand that made you decide to dedicate precious time and attention to them.


A lot of small businesses fall into a resentment trap with social media (myself included), where we center our experience. We post to post, and that’s about it.


This is the opposite of authenticity and that energy drives people away.


Ask yourself “what can I give today” you’ll likely be more inspired and excited to create and share.


By prioritizing value, relationships, and connection. We will naturally find our groove in what we create slowly attracting our people.

Of course there might be moments when we try something and it doesn't quite hit the mark. Like that time I jumped on this trending audio and attempted to create a hilarious reel that while funny (to me) missed the mark.

Looking back, it might seem a bit cringeworthy, but it was all part of the process—a stumble along the path to figuring out in what ways I can give that make sense for me and my business.

Myth # 2 "I have to share everything and be fully transparent"

Authenticity isn't about oversharing personal details or experiences.

While it's crucial to maintain openness and honesty with your audience, it's equally vital to establish healthy boundaries.


These boundaries are unique to each individual. Consider your brand values, your target demographic, and your own comfort level when determining what to share.


Take Mary, for instance. As a mother of three running a tax firm for small businesses, her brand values include making legal matters approachable, simplifying complex jargon, and infusing her brand with a fun, colorful personality. Her ideal clients are fellow women-owned businesses who resonate with this approach.


Does Mary need to delve into the intricacies of her children's hectic schedules? Not necessarily.


Is she obligated to disclose when one of her children has a rough night due to illness? Absolutely not.


However, if Mary chooses to share such details, she should understand how they contribute to her brand's narrative and resonate with her audience.

Myth # 3 “if it’s not true now, it can never be true”


Back in high school, I was all about the geeky, uncool stuff. Choir rehearsals, extra academics after school, even steel drums in my senior year—I dove into them all. Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly a shining star in any of those pursuits, but that didn’t stop me from aiming to be a stellar soloist, a top-notch academic achiever, or a steel drum player.


Starting your own business? It's a journey that'll test you like nothing else. It's humbling and scary because everything you do and say feels like a third arm—awkward and out of place.

There's this nagging fear that if you dare to be different from what you are now, it's somehow not authentic.


But let me tell you something—it is.


It's like the whole idea of confidence. Some folks seem to ooze it effortlessly, while others struggle to find a drop. But here's the thing: confidence isn't some innate trait you're either born with or without. It's something you build, brick by brick, even when you're trembling with fear.


Want to be bold? Declare it. Want to be sexy? Embody it. You can choose to be anything you want, simply because you want it. It's as simple—and as profound—as that.

picture of an inspirational statement

Myth # 4 “it will always look the same”


We are meant to evolve, change, and mature as we age.

It’s easy to get stuck in comparison and imitation, but the only way to discover what feels right is through experimentation and evolution.


Before I had a single client, I worked with a business coach. At the time (late 2017), she barely posted photos of herself, and she rarely showed up in her stories. She believed wholeheartedly that her audience only wanted to see pictures of the beautiful, young couples she photographed.


Turns out — she was wrong.


The truth of why she rarely shared photos of herself online or showed up in stories was because she believed people didn’t want to see women like her: a tall, very curvy woman over 35.


Now as she’s learned to celebrate and love her body, her attitude around showing up online has shifted. She shares pictures of herself and shows up on stories regularly. She creates reels like the thinnest, sexiest influencers out there, and she’s totally owning it!


Witnessing her evolution over the years reminds me that as we continue to grow, we discover that held truths are sometimes rooted in limiting beliefs. This is true even for our business.

You may find that now in this season of life you prefer forms of content that do not require so much of your face. Or maybe you find that right now you’re learning to share your direct way of communicating in a soft but firm way.


You’re the one who gets to decide how that looks online for you.

If you're ready to take authenticity to the next level but you need some help getting there. I've create a free workbook Embracing Authenticity that will help you:


  • - Define authenticity on your own terms, aligning with your unique essence.

  • Establish boundaries, distinguishing what you're comfortable sharing from what's off-limits.

  • Curate a presence that energizes you and your people

  • Explore new ways for self-expression.

  • Enhance forms of content you're already creating.

  • Create a content plan you promise to stick to.

Then this workbook is for you!



Hey friend!


I'm LeeAnn a Pittsburgh-based personal brand photographer helping women create memorable brands that align with who they are  while attracting the right people. 

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