E066 - Slowing down and being more real

authenticity communication heart social media May 24, 2024

In this episode I share tools to help you act naturally on camera: how to drop the mask and show up as yourself. We’ll explore some steps and learn how to feel okay when pressing record, knowing that you're going to be on the internet.

I'll also share a bit of my personal journey and some feedback that I wasn't actually being that authentic on camera. So I’m still learning to be my full self in front of a camera, too, and in my latest video I experiment with slowing down and finding out how real I can be, how myself can I be.

For the most immersive experience of this experiment, watch the video—but you can also read on below…


I feel relaxed about shooting content and being in front of the camera these days, but it's a whole other thing for me to be present while I do it

Then again, what does it even look like to be real in front of a camera? On some levels, I don't even know what that means—but I sometimes have a sense of needing to do something extra, to be entertaining, because we’re used to people being extra and trying to be super-entertaining on camera and not really being themselves.

For many people, even the thought of switching on the camera and talking to it fills them with anxiety, and they avoid it at all costs. For example, my Instagram account used to have very few pictures of me and pretty much no video of me, and now it contains almost only video of me. 

So the first step is to deal with avoidance and anxiety about the camera. We have to work through some of that anxiety and avoidance to start showing up. I had to do that, too—I pushed myself, and it was uncomfortable at first. It was a real white-knuckle ride. I hated the way I looked and sounded on video, I didn't like my shots or lighting. I didn't like what I said… it was hard

Now obviously, part of that is just because we have to learn how to do things properly. We don't know how to do it at first, so there’s a learning curve. But we also have to make peace with our own perfectionism, which can stop us from just putting content out into the world and being ourselves. 

So this first phase is working through anxiety and self-judgment and perfectionism, because that can stop many people from putting anything out there at all. 

Then we may have to start to process the negative feelings that come after we’ve done it. So we don't just record, post, feel bad about it and walk away… we actually have to process the negative feelings that arise in us after we shoot and release content, because otherwise they’ll stop us from showing up on video at all—it just feels too hard. So it's really helpful to process the feelings and the emotions regularly straight after posting or shooting. 

Another important tool is to practice: you just have to do it. And one of the things I told myself when I started to shoot content was just think about where I wanted to be in a year, in two years. Where will I be in five years… So just to soldier on and put out the best content you can to start with. It’s not easy, but I did it—and you can too. 

I teach a lot of tools: public-speaking tools, equipment tools (cameras to use, microphones, technical stuff like that). It can be very easy. For the video in this post, I popped my camera up in the living room—no extra lighting, just real quick. I pressed record and talked—hopefully entertainingly enough that you watched it!

Another set of tools that I work with and share with my clients is around structuring content: how do we begin, what do we do in the middle, how do we keep people interested? I'm by no means a Hollywood-level content producer, but I've learned a few things along the way about structuring content in an interesting way and making it relatively concise

I also offer my clients feedback to help them see their blind spots. We review video and talk about what their public speaking looks like and what their social media looks like.

I think that seeking out and receiving feedback is probably one of my best skills. I love to be told what I can't see—at a psychological level, at a personality level, at a relationship level. 

And in doing this work, I've had my group teaching and all my online courses looked at by very serious professionals to look for blind spots or stuff in my work that's just not good. And recently, I received some feedback from my mentors, who know me very well, that my social media and online work just doesn’t feel fully authentic. 

I've spent a lot of time enjoying being big and extra on stage as a lead singer, so it's easy for me to perform. But I think over the last four or five years of shooting video, a performative video personality has crept in. 

And even now as I think about this, I find myself slipping into that video personality instead of being an actual human. So I’m trying to strip away that TV presenter guy and find myself in real time

So that's what I'm working with right now: how real can I be? How at home and myself, but also heart-centered, warm, and connected can I be? 

All the tools I outlined above can help you (and me) develop a deeper sense of comfort and ease in front of the camera and become more and more natural.

Let me know in an email if any of this hit home for you, or if you have any thoughts after watching me trying to be more authentic in my video about being more authentic.