I don’t believe that being true to yourself is as easy as it sounds. The phrase makes it seem like you can just exist and fulfill it. But without conscious effort I believe it is easy to slip into someone else’s expectations. I have to actively pay attention to that and make corrections when necessary.
Similarly I have to manage how others see me – manage my appearance to the outside world. We do this in a number of ways, each of which reflects at least a little about ourselves because when we put in effort we do so towards the things we value. Likewise if you put in no effort that still reveals information.
Managing appearances comes up every day we run our small business. We think about the time we want to use in an email, the clothes we want to wear to a meeting, what the copy on our website and invoices says about us. There is a balance to strike though – too much management can make it seem like you’re scheming and inauthentic. Too little can seem like you don’t care.