In Primary School, I had a friend who always ate an apple at morning tea. That in itself isn’t remarkable, but it was how she ate it that stood out the most for me. I remember watching her as she took that apple, taking her time eating through the sweet flesh on the outside, but then (shockingly to me), rather than stop before the core, she continued to eat every single part of that fruit, even the seeds. Why had this memory left an imprint on my mind? Because I had never seen anyone eat the entire apple. It never occurred to me to try something like that, especially when my parents had always told me not to eat the core and the seeds.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago, sitting at my desk writing my new book (soon to be released), I was eating an apple (still stopping before the core as always), when I was reminded of this childhood memory. It got me thinking about the assumptions and limitations that we humans make every…single…day…! We fail to acknowledge or celebrate or amplify core parts of ourselves, holding them back from the light, and being influenced by familial learnings, social norms and old self-fulfilling narratives.
Let’s say that an apple core makes up a third of the whole fruit. For many of us, we stop eating at the core and throw that third away without a second thought. But, consider this. How would we feel about throwing the apple away if we looked at the core apple in a different way, taking it in that it’s actually the most vital part of the fruit? The core is the strong part of the apple, without it, the fruit would possibly crush easily under pressure. It’s also where we find the seeds, without which no new apples can grow.
We can equally disregard, underplay and even ignore that inner third within us, that makes up the essence of who we are as individuals. I see it in my studio every…single…day…!
Highly intelligent, self-aware women and men who are seeking to unleash the value of their core… The essence of who they are… Their truest self-uncensored…
Yet for a huge range of different reasons, they cannot connect to that part within them on their own. Realistically, though, fully embracing that final third of our core can be a lifetime’s work for many. We are so busy as a society these days, that we are barely getting through the fleshy bit of the apple, let alone devoting time, motivation or energy to the apple core. Society expectations and the media feed our obsession with the external parts of ourselves. Social media is the worst with most people only showing the happy highlight reels of their lives. We are so connected to everything nowadays, yet we are lonelier than ever. It’s this disconnection from the inner third of our core that weakens us. Deprives us, and those around us. When we aren’t being fully seen and aren’t able to share all of ourselves, the world misses out on all the gifts we have to give.
Seeing the Whole You
The truth is, when others get to see the WHOLE you, they do connect with you differently. They need to see both the shiny bits about your personality as well as the realness of your shadow side. They need to see the fascinating parts of you as well as your flaws and your challenges. These core parts of your inner third are what make you human, and provides transparency about who you are as a person. The inner third usually holds hidden gems of value that will set you apart, and enable your brand positioning to be more authentic, responsible, and truthful.
When you discard the apple core, and choose to ignore the value of your inner third, you will tend to come across to others as ‘same same’ as everyone else out there who is also throwing out their own apple core. Your brand positioning will be based more so on your product or service, and your pricing. You’ll come across a little staged and posed in your branding. You might even look like you are trying too hard or worse still, holding parts of you back. You limit yourself in old narratives. As a result, you struggle to innovate.
It’s kind of like taking only two-thirds of a breath. You deprive yourself of a big deep breath. You cannot function at full capacity when you’re only breathing with two-thirds of your lungs. Taking a full breath is like showing complete transparency in your brand. It’s like consuming the whole apple as well as the core.
The Rewards of Greater Transparency
What I’ve noticed over the years with clients is that when they commit to greater transparency, they are actually rewarded with stronger brand positioning and client engagement. They end up with a bounce in their step because they finally are being seen and appreciated for who they are and the value they provide. They have the confidence to own all parts of who they are.
A study back in 2016 by Label Insight showed that 94% of customers are more likely to be loyal to brands that are completely transparent. 56% of people would stay loyal to a brand for life, and 73% would pay more for a product/service if it was seen to be completely transparent. So it would seem that consuming the whole apple core or taking that full deep breath or being completely transparent in your business is actually good for lead generation, for customer loyalty, and ultimately for your bottom line.
It goes without saying…“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
So how do you start to be fully transparent and present in your brand positioning?
- Just like having an apple a day, you need to be consistently developing your openness to transforming your mindset, clarity, and presence in your business. Make daily steps to adopt a growth mindset, reflect and learn more about who you are and what you stand for, and push through any resistance so you can have a powerful presence in your brand.
- Listen to your self-talk, and watch when you are making yourself small to suit other people’s’ opinions and perceptions.
- Give yourself time to be still and practice mindfulness. From stillness comes reflection and perspective, which are both helpful when you want to gain clarity. It’s Mindful in May month, so why not try right away!?
- Prioritise sharing both professional as well as personal sides of who you are and your brand. Show your vulnerability as well as your personal power. Be upfront when you don’t have the answers, while also use your voice and stand for something. Share your thought leadership.
- Be on the lookout for feedback and perspective from others as to what you could be sharing more about yourself. Others closest to us usually see a different side to us to what we share with the bigger world. They can sometimes get it wrong, as they are seeing us through their own filters, but ultimately they can be a good reflection tool for us.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what your inner third might be that you are hiding from the world! Or how do you currently show transparency in your business and brand positioning?
I DARE you (and myself) not to eat an apple the same way again!