Join me for the kick-off episode in my three-part series on Stepping into Your Authentic Self with this episode on creating clarity. Find out some of the steps I've taken to become more authentic in my business self and why it's been a surprisingly healing journey for me.
Katherine Burrows, Big Impact Ghostwriter
Katherine Burrows helps purpose-driven experts make a bigger difference by getting their big ideas into books and out into the world to multiply their impact and their profit. She is known internationally for her intuitive understanding, perceptive observations, and ability to write accurate descriptions.
Katherine hosts The Write Connection podcast, which is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business book to create authentic connections with your prospects, clients, network, and communities.
Katherine’s personal alchemy of literary storytelling, human psychology, business marketing, and unwavering passion provides her with the unique and powerful insight to bring out the authentic character of the expert and their business in a voice - YOUR voice - that will improve lives, influence others, and even change the world.
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Intro: This is The Write Connection. This podcast is designed to help you choose the right words and stories in your business content to create authentic connections with prospects, clients, partners and colleagues. Now the host of The Write Connection, Katherine Burrows.
Katherine Burrows: Thanks Carl, welcome to The Write Connection. So today we're beginning a three part series on stepping into your authentic self. Today is episode one, create clarity. I recently heard some wisdom from one of my coaches about becoming my own ideal client. For example, if I want my clients to be well informed about business strategies I need to inform myself, if I want my clients to invest in improving themselves and their business, then I need to invest in myself. And if I want my clients to be their authentic selves, then I need to show up really strong in my own authenticity. So that got me started thinking about what it means to be authentic. Miriam Webster defines authentic as true to one's own personality, spirit, or character. Well, I've got lots of experience performing my business character analysis on my clients, but that got me thinking about my own personality and how I've expressed that in my business tracing the journey of my evolution.
It made me realize that becoming my authentic self in business has been a very healing experience. And I really wanted to share with you my healing journey to authenticity. So I went through three pretty basic steps to really step into my authentic self in my business. And I'm recording three episodes, one on each of these steps to give us a lot of space, to really examine them in detail. Cause I wanna be able to just lay all the steps out so that you guys can really walk through them for yourself and really see the value in going through them and the interest of walking the talk. I'm gonna get really authentic with you here. So thanks in advance for listening with an open heart and maybe some of these experiences will help you step more fully into your authentic self as well, like many entrepreneurs.
When I first started my business, I lacked clarity in many areas I knew I wanted to write and copywriting was a way to get paid, to do something that I already enjoy. So I started taking on clients who wanted to write blog articles, magazine articles, press releases, email marketing campaigns, social media posts, grant proposals, website content, podcast transcripts, graphic design for lead magnets and really any other project that came my way. But the problem with that was that I was not clear on who my ideal client was, what specific problem I was solving for that ideal client or what my signature offer really was. So I needed to get clear on who I am and what I wanted to project out into the world. Especially as the face of my business, Brené Brown author and researcher says authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.
I know who I am as a person. I've always had a very strong sense of self, but who I am as a business owner, that was a whole other story, like a story on a completely different bookshelf. I'm just gonna say it, my business is tied to making money and money brings up a whole lot of issues as a provider for my family. I worried about turning away clients and then not having enough money at the end of the month. So I let that dictate how I ran my business for a really long time. And almost every business does that in the startup phase. It's totally normal, it's expected and it's not something you should feel guilty about at all. But then I had one of the most freeing experiences of my entrepreneurial journey. The very first time I fired a client, she wanted something that I really just couldn't give her a very formulaic type of writing.
She wasn't wrong to want that type of writing. And I wasn't wrong, that wasn't what I specialize in her desired service was just not the same area as my expertise. So neither of us were ever gonna be happy with that relationship. I made a decision wished her well in finding someone who would be a much better fit for her needs. And then not long after that, a client appeared to me who was a much better fit and I was able to take them on right away, filling in that space that had been created by saying no to something that didn't align with my values. So I wanna share the five steps that helped me create clarity that I needed to step into my authentic self. Step number one is clarifying your values so as part of clarifying my values, I reviewed a long list of values.
I think there were like 50, a hundred words on a page. And I went through and highlighted the ones that I felt really strongly about strongly in a positive way of course. And then I was able to refine the list down to 10. And from there I really condensed it into five or six and you can find these lists, just Google list of values. You'll get tons of words and if you wanna do this exercise, I highly recommend it. It really can focus you on what you represent in your business and what you really authentically believe in and support and want to live out. So my values came down to integrity, wisdom, creativeness, connectedness, communication and resiliency. And if you've been listening to this podcast since the first episode, I don't think any of those should surprise you. Another exercise that I went through in determining my values was a little bit different and it was called core desired feelings, which is based on the work of Danielle LaPorte.
And I did a short program with one of her certified coaches. And it's a similar process in that you get a long list of feeling words and you go through and you highlight what you wanna feel. So when I wake up in the morning and I get ready and I sit down at my keyboard and I'm ready to start my day, how do I really wanna feel? And after going through that whole process, I came up with my three words, thriving, creative and connected. So thriving to me is about being healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It's about really feeling that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be in this moment, that I'm really at peace with whatever's happening around me, even if it's absolute chaos and things, aren't going the way that I would like them to be. At least I know I'm responding in a way that reflects my values and I'm on top of my attitude and my behavior and how I'm dealing with others in all of those situations.
Being creative of course, is feeling inspired, making space to create. Of course writing is a big part of that for me, but I also love to knit and do other crafts. I love to cook and bake. I love to entertain. So I like to plan meals and events and have people over and create connections, which kind of runs into my next one. And just having those insights, those really creative ideas about how to do things and how to connect things and how to reformat things in a different way and insights into people and their personalities and how to best write so that I communicate that really well to the world. And then being connected is connected on all my different levels. So connected to my inner circle of my family and loved ones, connected to my clients, connected to my network and my social groups connected to my higher power and my spirituality connected in my community and connected around the world with my global network.
So then I took these values and these core desired feelings, and I used them to set the goals and really create the foundation of my business. So it's amazing because when I started to use those core desired feelings to evaluate every decision, things got a whole lot clearer and more streamlined. I could finally see where my path was leading. So when it came to a client, I would ask, does taking on this client make me feel thriving, creative and connected. And if the answer was no, then I politely declined. If I was asked to participate in a workshop as an attendee or as a speaker, I would ask myself, does this opportunity make me feel thriving, creative and connected? And if the answer was no, I politely declined. And I've used that as the measuring stick for those of us who are old enough to remember yard sticks and meter sticks.
I've used that as the measuring stick for all the decisions that I make to make sure that they're really in line with how I want to feel where I'm going and how I wanna get there. So the second step is educate yourself. I read, listen to and watch a wide variety of content from a wide variety of reputable sources. And of course that's pretty key, make sure that when you're doing research and you're getting industry news or current events that your sources are reputable and that the information that you're getting is accurate. And let's say it authentic, engage in open dialogue, learn from experts who share your values, practice, lifelong learning. I would totally be a student forever if I could. And I always have some kind of course or workshop or something that I'm doing because I love learning. And I feel so much more alive when I am exercising that part of my brain that is processing new information and writing it down and recording it and assimilating it into the things that I already know and believe and have learned in the past.
And then readjusting my thought process and my worldview and the way I frame things, according to how that new information fits in with the situation or whatever it is that I'm considering. So as you learn more and progress more and get further ahead in your field, and in your knowledge, you wanna keep setting the bar higher, keep setting more goals as you achieve those goals, set new ones. You should always have short term, medium term and long term goals on the go make sure they're smart goals. If you don't know what that means, please Google it. It's super helpful, just make sure that you always keep improving. I investigated how other people implement their values in their business. And that also helped me decide how to move forward, because I wholeheartedly believe that the best decision is always an informed decision. The third step that I took in gaining clarity to become my authentic self was think critically to be able to make good decisions.
We need to practice critical thinking skills. This involves evaluating the information that we have in front of us and it often involves evaluating information that's not in front of us. So something that's implied or reading between the lines, looking at the subtext, we need to look at the values and the motivations of all people and parties involved in a situation and then make decisions based on all of that information and all of those perceptions. We need to keep an open mind, look at all the sides, all the opinions we need to celebrate. The fact that we have diversity in this world. We have so many amazing different points of view and people with different stories and different backgrounds that come with fresh, amazing ideas and new perspectives. And even when we have conflict, if it's constructive conflict, meaning that people can disagree with each other in a respectful manner, that constructive conflict and that diversity are seeds for creativity and innovation, that's where the best ideas come from when we challenge each other and not to defend our positions.
But to explain it, how did you get there? Why did that occur to you? How is that important? Also listen to your intuition and your gut feelings use that as another piece of information and add it to that collection, combine all of it. And you can feel really confident that the decisions you make will be positive for your business. My fourth step was to find confidence. And again as I said, I was fairly confident in myself as a human being, but I didn't have as much confidence in myself as a writer and as a business person. And I love writing, and I've always been told that I'm good at it by teachers and professors and people who have read my writing, but I guess I didn't have the confidence that there was value to putting it out into the world and that there was enough value in doing that but I could build a business out of it.
So confidence is a word that we don't always wanna say out loud, but when we get to know ourselves who we are, our values, our desired feelings, then we can really begin to grow our confidence. I learned to love and accept myself fully. I even have a little ring that I wear that says I am enough to remind me of how true that is. I learned how to face my fears with courage. Sometimes when I've said no, I've started to wonder, will I ever get another client? Was that the wrong decision? What if that was my only chance to whatever, but when I look at those same situations with courage and confidence, I feel so excited to find out what the universe is gonna fill that space up with because saying, no, I just opened up this beautiful space for the universe to give me exactly what I want.
That's in alignment with those values and the core desired feelings. Part of feeling confident is honing my personal power. So I had to figure out what am I really good at? Even if it's weird, what is my zone of genius? As a teenager, I began defining the word weird as meaning to be unique and to be one's self. And I've never changed that definition, confidence in our self allows us to feel secure enough to have compassion for others. Confidence allows us to be honest and vulnerable, to risk rejection and ridicule confidence means there's something more important than fitting in and that's something is living our purpose. So of course, step five is living into my purpose. So when we've refined our values, educated ourselves and made the informed decisions that have given us the confidence to move forward, then we can truly begin to live our life's purpose, find your vocation, what are you called to do?
And then build your life with intention, your career, but also your relationships, your hobbies, they all have a place in your calling. I read a quote the other day that advised find three hobbies you love. One to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative, it was an anonymous quote, but I think that's pretty good advice. I've even managed to combine two of them by making money at writing creatively. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to write while swimming yet, but seriously, the breaks are good. Going for walks, playing with my dogs, hanging out with my husband and his farm animals, teaching my son to drive, cooking, knitting, doing yoga, having tea or dinner with friends, reading for pleasure and of course curling up with the cat. So take responsibility, you are accountable for responding to your calling.
And when I started to take responsibility for responding to my calling and stepping into that knowledge, that it's my responsibility to bring that gift out into the world. And if I don't do that, there's people who are missing out on the benefit that I could be giving them they're missing out on those gifts and those skills and those insights that will really help them move forward in their life. When we live our purpose, we feel more authentic. It's like everything is right with the world. Something just clicks I really think there's nothing more beautiful than watching someone who is truly living their purpose. It's like, they're an exactly the right place at exactly the right time, doing exactly what they're called to do. And they're just glowing with the power and the beauty of it, stepping into your authentic self requires time spent gaining clarity.
If you're like, I used to be things like defining your values are one of those items that always remains at the bottom of your to-do list. Those items you never ever have time for, unless you maybe give up sleep. But let me assure you, these processes are so worth doing. They'll save you so much time, energy and even money in the end. No more major rebrands when you know who you are, just tweaks and refreshes as you make further refinements. So some evening, some Sunday afternoon, when you're tempted to just jump on social media or watch some feel good show, set a timer for 30 minutes and Google list of values. Start building your own list, see what research and decisions that leads to I challenge you to see how much more confident you feel and to find new ways to live into your purpose. With the clarity that you create in the next episode, we'll talk about doing the work and then in episode three, we'll cover how to communicate effectively. But right now, if you are ready to step into your authentic self, let's book a zoom call, I'll put my calendar link in the show notes below. Thanks for listening today, I hope today's episode inspired you to tell your own story more creatively please join me next time for more about how words and stories from our authentic selves, create The Write Connection.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Write Connection. What did you think of the show today? Give us a rating and leave us a comment if you have a question for Katherine, reach out to her by sending her an email, The Write Connection@KatherineBurrowscreative.com or visit her website, Katherineburrowscreative.com. And don't forget to follow Katherine on social media thanks again for listening to The Write Connection.