Amanda Jetté Knox is a writer, public speaker, radio host and human rights activist. Her writing has influenced people in so many ways, including the topic of being authentic. It is an important topic to her because for years she tried to be everybody but herself. She thought that was going to get her ahead in life, but in truth, she didn’t value herself as a person. She wore ill-fitting hats and wore a lot of masks, until her life forced her to be authentic.
Amanda joined me on the podcast to discuss the value being authentic can have on a person’s life and on their business.
Her journey into being her authentic self began just about three years ago when her middle child came out as transgender—after 11 years of thinking they were raising a boy, Amanda and her spouse discovered they were raising a girl. As someone who cared way too much about what other people thought she suddenly had to let that go because she had to support her child who really needed her and she knew not everyone would agree with letting her child be who she really is.
This took Amanda’s writing in a different direction. Although she had written on parenting and mental health issues, she hadn’t dug as deep as she did after her daughter, Alexis, came out. In an effort to raise awareness, Amanda shared her daughter’s journey on her blog, in newspapers and on TV—this meant she had to step out of her comfort zone.
It also meant Amanda had to be authentic. Her life wasn’t always bliss; she didn’t paint herself as being a perfect parent, but she did paint it as being a loving and supportive one.
Eighteen months after her daughter came out, Amanda’s spouse came out as transgender, so what little worry she had left in regards to what other people thought really had to go out the window because now Amanda was outwardly married to a woman.
Authenticity, although it felt forced, has been such a gift for Amanda. She now speaks publicly in front of small and large crowds to get the message out—her goal is to make the road easier for other trans people and families. Sharing her story has helped many people in many different situations.
Not everyone has to share their entire life story to be authentic, but it does help connect with your audience, and this can be valuable for business owners. Authenticity helps people understand other people better.
The value of being authentic
Sharing the real you with the world is freeing — but to get there you have to walk through this minefield of “what ifs?” and fear people rejecting you. This journey allows you to get to a place of being comfortable and be yourself.
When you think about all the time you spend trying to be someone you’re not just to please other people, you have to ask yourself why? Being yourself allows you to get in touch with yourself and care for yourself. When you’re true to yourself and learn to love yourself for who you are, taking care of yourself becomes even easier.
There is nothing more creative than being yourself… when you bury your true self you bury your creativity. Amanda’s creativity got so much better and easier with authenticity.
How to deal with people’s reactions
There was a big reaction to Amanda’s authenticity, and it certainly wasn't the one she feared.
Her readership has soared; her speaking engagements and her calendar is full! People are eager to find out what is happening with her family and her life. Her audience is engaged and growing.
This has taught Amanda that when she is more authentic she does business more authentically. People are able to look at her story and journey and say, “me too.” They can relate and that makes them want to connect with her. Of course there are trolls, that’s par for the course, but you need to see beyond that. See the acceptance.
What should people know about putting themselves out there?
Anytime you put yourself out there, there is a certain level of vulnerability. You will be scared to let people see what it is you are sharing. There is also a “vulnerability hangover.”
Amanda shares a lot, but her business is her—she is her “brand.” Because of that she looks for connection in every business she seeks out, she doesn’t need to know everything about them, but they need to be authentic. Putting forward a certain level of perfection is okay, but you should also put a human side to your stories. When you share a piece of yourself it will make people want to share with you.
Will people care?
It’s normal to wonder this, but people want to relate to something. So, if you struggle with something such as mental health, miscarriages, etc. then it makes sense to do a drive for this and put this out there—this will connect with people who have had similar experiences. The little things you share can have a big impact.
Not feeling alone is really big—human beings are social creatures and need to connect. So, the next time you create content, whether it is on a personal or professional level, ask yourself if you are being authentic and if what you are putting out there will connect with someone. Taking that extra step to share more of you could make a huge and positive difference on your business!
Resources & Links
As this new podcast gets off the ground, I’d really love your help to make sure that it gets in front of the right people. The first weeks of a podcast’s life are the most important in terms of the opportunities for iTunes to showcase you to other listeners. Because of that, I’m starting out this new podcast with a bang. There are 3 episodes available for you right now, and there will be at least two more episodes every week for the remainder of the eight weeks.
I thought I’d find some extra ways to thank you for all the sharing and supporting you do of the new podcast so every week until July 15th I’m going to be giving away one of my favourite business books to one person who either:
- subscribe to the podcast or leave a review on iTunes; or
- share the podcast on social media; or
- come in to the Biz Studio and post your favourite tip from a specific episode (along with a link to that episode)
In all cases, you need to make sure that I either know who you are (email me a screen capture of the review or showing you are subscribed) or that the posts on social media are public and tag me (@larawellman) or the Biz Studio (on Facebook you can tag my page).
Each week I’ll be announcing the book winner on Wednesdays on my Facebook page
Some of the books I’ll be giving away are (I’ll be adding more titles soon):
- The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
- It Starts with Why by Simon Synek
- How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields
- E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
So get out there and start sharing your reviews and sharing the podcast and good luck. AND THANK YOU!