authenticity rocks: how to radiate your way to success (as demo’d by Danielle LaPorte)
In an interview with Jonathan Fields, while “sing-songing her way through a longer answer to a question [he’d] posed about her success”, Danielle LaPorte said something intriguing:
“I decided to stop selling and start radiating.”
Jonathan, sharp tack that he is, jumped on this statement and got her to elaborate:
Which led to a whole conversation about the immense power of working from a place not of force, but of ease. Of building a sense of integrity, authenticity, alignment, confidence and raised energy that literally draws people to you like moths to a light. One that attracts them by standing in your truth so fiercely and publicly, you begin to radiate…and others want to know how…and do it themselves.
Several things stand out to me about that paragraph:
“…you begin to radiate…”
Instead of pushing out her message – “Buy my book!” “Like my page!” “Read my blog!” – Danielle put in the time, study and life experience to develop a strong and captivating point of view — and a voice that’s unlike any blogger I’ve ever read (although imitated by many). She “radiated” it out through her blog White Hot Truth, and people liked it, and shared it with others, who also liked it, and shared it with others. (I found her through talented blogger Kelly Diels and passed her link on to several friends. Because Danielle’s stuff inspires you to do that.)
When you create light and heat online, people notice. This is what John Hagel calls the power of pull. Instead of interrupting people’s attention and shoving your message down their throats, you attract and seduce with the power of a unique, helpful and relevant point of view. It cuts through the clutter like light from a lighthouse: people orient to it, and use it to navigate their way in to shore.
Because that’s what we’re looking for, at least on some level. Yes, we want solutions to problems. Yes, we want to be educated and entertained. But we also seek a bright light to align ourselves with, so that we feel like we’re traveling to some better, higher place (aka ‘self-actualization’).
Danielle understands that. She provides tips for business and life that are actionable and concrete — while also gesturing at an overriding philosophy, a way of being in the world. It’s appealing. It doesn’t just help you figure out how to solve, or at least approach, a specific problem. It suggests to you the kind of you that you can and want to be. She offers an elevation of self.
And she’s very, very good at it.
“….standing in your truth….”
You stand in your truth when you speak from your soul. In Greek, the word for ‘soul’ is psyche. As Carol Gillian explains in her book THE BIRTH OF PLEASURE:
This ancient word carries the wisdom that we are more than our genetic makeup, more than our life histories, more than our cultural heritage. Whether conceived as a divine spark or as part of the natural wonder of the human being, the soul is the wellspring of our minds and our hearts, our voice and our capacity for resistance.
When Gillian says resistance she is referring to societal forces that would carve up your psyche and march you into line with conventional norms. You learn to silence your inner knowing in order to ‘know’ (and ‘not know’) what external forces dictate you should in order to be loved (and not risk social exile). As one woman says to Gilligan in a study: “Do you want to know what I think….Or do you want to know what I really think?”
Speaking up, and out, comes at a cost. It feels risky. It feels like you’re putting yourself out there – and you are. You’ll get criticized. Some people will disagree with your ideas and despise what you stand for (and it’s hard not to take that personally). But Danielle LaPorte recognizes that when you start to live, work and speak authentically:
The various parts of your life start to groove…Mighty or discreet, authenticity is the muscle that helps you shake up beliefs, policies and restraints, and gives you the strength to do the things some say can’t be done. Being genuine is the foundation of integrity – often inconvenient and not always painless – but the only way to go if you’re here to really, truly, fully live. (from her book THE FIRESTARTER SESSIONS)
“….so fiercely and publicly….”
Just because you know and speak your truth – a great act in itself, don’t get me wrong –doesn’t mean that the rest of us will pay attention. To speak fiercely requires a compelling voice and the ability to amplify it.
Your voice is your perspective, your worldview, your signature style. Your voice is a projection of who you are. Other people absorb it, construct their mental sense of you around it. It’s what you say and how you say it. It’s your form and your function, your message and your medium.
Your voice makes you original (or not). Other people can teach what Danielle teaches – and they do. They can read the same books, source the same pools of wisdom. But it’s the way those ideas get filtered through Danielle’s voice, how they combine with her sensibility and life experience, that makes Danielle irreplaceable. Accept no substitutes, because there are none.
Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying.
Copying, he is quick to point out, is about practice, not plagiarism (which is when you try to pass off someone’s work as your own) . You don’t want to steal the style so much as “the thinking behind the style”, in order to “internalize their way of looking at the world”.
At some point you’ll move from imitation (copying) to emulation (breaking through to your own thing). Kleon points out that, because we’re human, we’re incapable of a perfect copy. Kleon quotes Conan O’Brien:
“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.”
For example. I like personal style (which is not the same as fashion), and I have always liked Kate Moss’s style, and when I was in my twenties I tried to copy it. But I have a different body type than Kate, so what looks good on her doesn’t necessarily look good on me (and vice versa). So I took elements of Kate’s style and adapted them to my growing sense of how to dress in a way that flatters my proportions. In that gap between trying to be Kate, and failing to be Kate, I developed my own style.
You find those areas where you fall short of your ideal, those reasons why you can’t be your ideal, and in that space you find yourself. You exploit those differences. You explore them. You build on them. And, eventually, people will be imitating you.
“…and others want to know how…”
A compelling voice is a relevant voice. You center yourself in that place where your reader’s concerns overlap with your own. It’s not enough just to speak; you have to speak in a way that creates value for others, that provides insight, solutions to problems, education, escape, entertainment. Everybody’s so busy. It’s not enough for them to know that you exist; they have to know why they should care that you exist.
“…and do it themselves….”
Because, as many motivational gurus have pointed out (which doesn’t make it any less true): the way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. One way to do that is to walk your talk; to resonate; to be an example.
Also known as being authentic.
Because when you tell your story, you give other people permission to tell theirs.
There’s that saying – “you have to see it to be it.” Even if it’s just in your own mind. No one thought that a human being could run a mile in less than four minutes – until people saw someone actually do it. Then lots of people could do it. (I cannot. I’d rather eat cupcakes.)
Stepping out on your own can feel, sometimes, like stepping into the void – but when you’re relevant and compelling, when you’re speaking from your soul, you’ll find that other people start to join you there. And the great thing is, because you’re being authentic, they are responding to the real you and not to some mask that you’re wearing.