Calling forth magic: a fox talisman, a Christian cross, some orange flowers and a couple of flat, polished crystals rest on a turquoise surface

Your Business Doesn't Need Your Authenticity

Why Your Business Doesn't Need Your Authenticity: Eight Ways to Inject Magic Instead

Marketing experts love to speak about 'authenticity’, as do folks in the networks and structures set up to support women starting out in business. But your business doesn't need your authenticity.

Unfortunately, the advice is handed down from mentors who have already done a great deal of personal transformation work. An essential ingredient is held back.

With the result that people attempt to implement the advice to 'be authentic' from a baseline of fear and shame.

Not that there is anything wrong with those emotions - I am well acquainted with them. But it leads to a misunderstanding. The communication is not as clear as it needs to be. An Olympic swimmer can tell you about the nuance of a stroke, but unless you have the foundations you won't be able to implement their advice.

Your business does not need you to be authentic about your shame or fear.

Instead, your business needs you to shed your shame, fear and not-enough-ness, and be audaciously authentic about the you beneath.

Eight magical ways to excavate the unique power and beauty of you:

1. Adopt the mantle of witch, magician, sorcerer, enchantress, minister, initiate or other such magical moniker, even if it feels awkward at first: this gives tacit approval from the universe to behave exactly as you wish.

Your answer to anyone, real or imagined, who questions you about ‘who gave permission,’ or ‘what are you doing?,’ or ‘who do you think you are?’ is a shrug and the phrase: I am a witch.

2. Perform a ritual (the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is remarkably effective) to dismiss the energies holding you back.

3. Create a semi-fictional alter ego, one who embodies the wildest dreams of what you might dare to think, do and say. If you’re stuck, become someone who isn't. Step into an alternate personality, just like when you performed in the High School production of Guys & Dolls.

Everything you dread being negatively judged for, your alter ego embraces and wears unashamedly. In fact, it is the very secret to their success. Give them a name, a backstory, a personality, an appearance. Invite them to take the reins when it is time to be visible in service to your business (also see below).

4. Write and perform a ritual and invite your alter ego to possess you (highly recommended).

5. Initiate a relationship with a celestial deity, engage their support with your enterprise, dedicate your business to them and see (4) above.

6. Many mentors refer to 'birthing' a business or a service. My personal experience of childbirth was not ecstatic, and I found the early years of parenthood a peculiarly potent mixture of stressful and boring.

Stop imagining your business as a needy, helpless being that you have ‘birthed’, perhaps misguidedly. You are not eternally saddled with monitoring its health and fretting over its very survival.

Instead, practice sovereignty of thought and view your business as a wise and ancient spirit. Remind yourself that you are the Chosen One with whom they have contracted to manifest in the earthly realm.

7. Decide that everyone loves and approves of you and furthermore, the more ‘you' you can be, the more love and approval come your way. The things that make you odd are the exact things that make you adorable.

The more shameless you can be in loving what you love, thinking what you think, and looking how you look, the more magnetic you become. Because everyone understands what an exceptional feat of acceptance it is.

8. Grow exceptionally comfortable with feeling sad, frightened, afraid and vulnerable. Also frustrated and helpless.

The extent of what we are able to receive is governed by our capacity to tolerate sensation - both the exquisitely painful and the unbearably blissful. Like a pendulum, it's impossible to swing further to one side and not the other.

If you can’t tolerate failing, you won’t tolerate success. If you can’t risk ridicule, you won’t receive adulation.

When you become the director of a masterful, creative performer (also you), you make the stuck, painful loop of hiding, optional.

And the dramatic friction you create by avoiding the thing you say you want, is re-directed into electricity in your business.

I hope these practices will help you as much they've helped me.

With love,

Anna
x


The torso of a model wearing a handknit sweater designed by Anna. The sweater is gold and black stripes like a bumble bee, and the model is leaning on a table covered with a floral tablecloth

The Big Fail

Fifteen years ago, or so, I started a blog with the simple intention to write about whatever interested me.

Soon that came to include knitting. I took nice photos of my knitwear and wrote about my projects. I came across independent designers, and the idea sparked that perhaps I could design, too.

As it turned out, my rudimentary maths knowledge, good taste in knitwear, and sense of style for photography, were more than adequate to start designing, publishing pattern instructions for the knitting crowd, and growing my readership.

The blog went from strength to strength and I was able to reduce the hours I worked at a marketing agency.

I was offered a book deal! With an advance! A well-regarded publisher and a hero-of-the-industry editor! There was even a little bidding war!

Within a few weeks of signing contracts, I discovered I was pregnant with our son! I was on top of the world!

My intention was to complete the book before the baby arrived. But it didn’t happen, and the baby was early.

I thought I could finish the book while the baby napped. The baby never napped. He had reflux and colic and an aversion to sleep. While pregnant, wiser women had tried to explain how caring for a newborn will fuck a person up completely. But, until I experienced it myself, it was impossible to imagine the deep truth of that statement.

The book was never completed. I returned the advance.

What a come down. I’ve only recently been able to recognise the beauty in the tender intensity of those feelings of disappointment. Of failure. Of shame.

It’s exquisite. It wraps around my heart and chest and holds me so tight. My stomach rumbles gently. There’s electricity sparking through my crown, head, neck, shoulders and down my arms.

It’s magical to witness the depth of my feeling. And now that I do, it starts to heal.

Because now it is passing through. I still have brilliance. It’s time to heal.