I couldn’t believe it. It must have been a set up. A really bad joke and I was the victim. I was facing down a freight train and I was losing. I was being humiliated. Worse still… it was a public humiliation and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it.

It started innocently enough, even positively.

I was asked to be on a panel and share a little about my experience rebranding my business and getting clear on my message. There were two of us. I went first. I shared a little about my experience. I thought I spoke well then passed the mic.

She took the mic and began to speak. She had the audience laughing. They were in the palm of her hands. She was real, she was raw, she was brash. She was everything I am not.

To say that the two of us are like night and day puts it mildly. We look different. I’m white, she’s black, I’m short, and she’s tall. We all know it’s not about how you look. We were brought up differently. I grew up in a nice upper middle class suburban home, in a good neighborhood, and with loving and supportive parents. She grew up on the streets, kicked out of her home when she was quite young. It is more than upbringing that makes us different. We are different to the core. She is a preacher, a guru. She naturally gets a crowd excited and nodding in agreement. She naturally takes control and attention. Me… well, that’s not my style…not even close. I tend to share openly and honestly. I prefer quiet, intimate conversations. My public speaking style tends towards teaching. I keep answers thoughtful, short and succinct. People like what I say, yet I don’t naturally illicit cheers and shouts from an audience. I also don’t swear. I don’t care if others do, but it’s just not my style.

I sat there listening to her with a smile glued to my face. I watched as she immediately took ownership of the audience; I knew I had somehow failed. I knew that nobody liked me. I knew that everyone felt bad for me as I sat there smiling being totally upstaged.

My mind was freaking out. How can I get that mic back? And, if I do manage to get the mic back, what could I possibly say that had any chance of leveling the playing field? How can I possibly compete with "that"?

Let me be perfectly clear. She did nothing wrong. She did not say anything bad. She was not trying to upstage me. Yet, my mind took every negative thought I could possibly have and roll them all up into a terrible voice that said, "See I told you, Carrie, you can’t do this. You’re simply not good enough."

I sat and listened to her wow the room. Every fiber of my being told me to stand up and fight. To be someone I simply am not. To pretend. To follow someone else’s lead.

Suddenly I got it. After years of running my own business. After years of working with clients and helping them simply be themselves. After the work I’ve done with my own coaches and all of the messaging work I have just completed I finally got it.

I was good enough.

I wasn’t her, she wasn’t me and, frankly, isn’t that the whole point? Had I pretended to be like her nobody would have believed it. I wouldn’t have believed it and neither would the audience. And, everyone would have been right to feel sorry for me.

There are people who will like her for exactly who she is. There are people who will like me for exactly who I am.

There is no way I could have done what she did. It is not my style, it is not my personality, it is simply not me. It doesn’t make me good or bad, it just makes me Carrie. If I had tried to speak the way she does I would have made a fool out of myself. If she had tried to speak the way I do she would have made a fool out of herself.

There are certainly things she does better than me and you know what, there are things that I do better than her. There are people who will relate better with her and people who will relate better with me.

As we wrapped up the panel discussion I asked for the mic. I spoke for about 30-seconds. I addressed the pink elephant in the room. I acknowledged the huge difference between the two of us. I also acknowledged the fact that the beauty of owning your message is the ability to show up for who you are and know that you are exactly good enough.

As I said this I felt as if the audience looked at me a little differently (actually, it’s probably just that I looked at myself a little differently). There was an acknowledgement of the truth of my statement. You know what else, what I said hit home for many of the people in the room who needed to hear the message in my voice.

So often in our businesses we try to be someone we’re not. We try to do things some guru or another swears is the best way to bring in new clients or a consistent cash flow or is the easiest and most effective way to market. We try to make it work and it doesn’t.

What is most important in your business, beyond absolutely anything else, is to be your true self every day. Sure the gurus have ideas that work. The question you need to ask yourself is will they work for YOU. What will work for who you are and who you want to be?

There is no way we can wear someone else’s face. There is no way we can be anyone other than ourselves.

Make sure your goals are clear and that they make sense for you. Simplify the way you are going to get there so that you can take focused action. And you know what will come out of it? A business that makes you money AND makes you happy.

Author's Bio: 

Carrie Greene is a speaker, author and business coach. Carrie helps entrepreneurs create the business and income they desire, through clear and actionable planning, that eliminates procrastination. Please visit http://www.CarrieGreeneCoaching.com for free resources and to learn more.