Taking an authentic lead

When you’re little you’re always told honest is the best policy- lies are looked down on and you are rewarded when you admit your faults.

It can be a hard lesson to learn but we believe it’s what makes us a better person. A good person. A responsible adult.

But just as we come to the painful realisation that our parents do not know the answers and we may never completely feel like adults, we learn through entrepreneurship and steering a business to success that honesty is not always the best policy; that there are different versions of you the world wants to see. Baring it all to the world is no longer seen as refreshing but as a liability.

Thinking back, I’ve always beenĀ  that person to take things too far. The only one to get caught for skipping class and pushing boundaries uncomfortably too far. Now, as a business owner and entrepreneur, I am told that I must separate “Lizzy Hodcroft” and “The Sweet Beet”. I am just a representative of the business I made. The world is watching and they may not like “me”.

But where is the line?

You told me honesty was the best policy. You said, people buy from people.

Well, I am a person! Enveloped in all my flaws, my insecurities, my passion, my ideas- my business.

I want to open myself up to the world. I want to share with the universe. Things have changed. Traditions have morphed and bent into what’s trending and why can’t I help to lead this revolution?

Why can’t I be authentically me even through my craft?

Awhile back, I used to blog about my journey of being a start-up. I wanted to articulate the worries, the dread, the fear and the tears that as entrepreneurs we all push through to make our ideas a reality. As far as I could tell, there was no one out there willing to put pen to paper in the moment of their struggle. Sure, you can find articles online about the highs and lows others have faced… But it’s all through hindsight and after they’ve moved past the fear of loosing it all and have made millions – notes and words of advice written with the security of knowing that they’ve already closed that deal, disrupted their industry and cashed their pay check.

I wanted to speak and reach out to those that needed to be reassured by someone that was truly being both shaken and elated by what was happening now – in the present.

So came along my blog Cooking with Confusion. I wrote as upfront and as a sincere as I could. Carefully crafting an emotional picture of the beautiful highs and terrifying lows of learning through experience. I was overwhelmed from the response I got from others; how I had managed to capture and put into words the feelings shared by so many in similar places. If memory serves me right, I believe I moved one or two readers to tears.

But I also received feedback in the tone of warnings. Surprisingly, mostly from my family. I was being too honest, too raw, too direct. To quote, “you might make people worry about your stability” or “people wont want to work with you” and “you can’t be that open”.

I’m sorry but where was this lesson about how to hide aspects of yourself when I was growing up? What happened to all those cliches about how I should just be myself? That people will like me for just being me?

You know what’s easy?

Telling everyone how scared you were after you defeated your competition.

You know what’s hard?

Telling everyone before you go into battle how you are shitting your pants but that you are going to be brave and do it anyway.

Why is it socially accepted to say, “I was a mess” but not okay to admit in the actually moment that, “I AM a mess”?

I can’t help but feel it’s my duty to challenge this myself. Because- well, tell me that you’ve never felt down, defeated or overwhelmed. I won’t believe it.

It seems there is a mould to be broken. It feels there is glass ceilingĀ  that needs to be shattered. And even if I cut myself up from the fall out; at least I can be proud of me.

And perhaps… well… perhaps that means you can’t.