By: Victoria Santoro, Guest Blogger
“How are you disrupting your field through the use of social media?” I was discussing the answer to this question with an event organizer recently. I feared my answer to it might be disappointing. One of the only things I’ve ever done that was disruptive in my field was to own my fear and state it publicly. I wrote a blog post about being a female litigator, and it really struck a nerve. What this boils down to is that I wrote something personal, I was completely myself, and I posted it on a public forum. And the resulting feedback was incredible. There was a big lesson in this experience.
I’m an expert in being myself. It is this piece of truth that my readers responded to. We all feel the pressure of being the best at something, or being an expert at something. So I took the less obvious position that I wasn’t necessarily (especially a few years ago) a litigation expert. Without a doubt, though, I was still an expert in myself and my feelings.
What I’m trying to say is that, amidst the intense competition and impossible standards that surround young women, there is only one inalienable truth that we can all rely on: being ourselves. It is both radically wonderful and extraordinarily difficult. It took me almost 30 years to really figure it out. But it’s helpful to think of it in terms of expertise. No one knows you better than you do. Rely on that. Present yourself as an expert on your thoughts and feelings, and everyone will accept it.
We can only be the best at being ourselves. Otherwise, someone better will always come along and beat you at your own game. No one can beat you at being authentic. Think about our culture, and this generation, and how much stuff is out there on the Internet. How much of it is authentic? Very little, unfortunately. Authenticity is rare, it is sorely needed, and it is beloved. And what I also discovered is that authenticity, given its rarity, can be disruptive, too.
What’s the best thing about being yourself? The freedom it brings to you. No more hiding behind a mask, worrying about how others perceive you, or pretending to be something you’re not. You are free to pursue your passions, no matter how offbeat they are. You are free to laugh at the things you truly find funny. You don’t waste any effort trying to be something you’re not.
If you can become an expert in being yourself, authenticity and freedom will follow. I promise you that.
Some mighty words from Victoria. What do you think? Are you bringing your authenticity to your every day? What's holding you back?
Victoria Santoro is a trial attorney who practices law in Boston. She is also a teacher, speaker, and writer, maintaining her personal blog The Limber Lawyer, and contributing to various legal publications. Victoria is passionate about helping young girls and women not only succeed but also find contentment and purpose. In her free time, she can often be found training or competing for half-marathons and triathlons.