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People can see you’re fat. Or bald. Or hairy. Or gray. Or old. Or short. Or tall. Or skinny.  Go ahead and wear that wig or those lifts. Go ahead and use that decade-old photograph on your profile. You might fool someone for a little while, but not for long. The people you fool for any length of time are indulging you because they’re pretty sure that your entire world depends on nobody knowing you’re actually bald over forty. You’re not fooling them, they’re fooling you — and love and like you enough to allow you your delusion. The integrity of your disguise. Protecting you from feeling foolish, absurd, and ashamed. Now that’s love.

SPOILER: So, go ahead and proudly be yourself. You don’t have to fool anyone to date you, hire you, pay you what you’re worth. Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and, doggonit, people like you.

When it comes to online brandpromotion — be it SEO, ORM, social media marketing, content marketing, digital PR, social media support, online engagement marketing, blogger outreach, or even email campaigns — you need to know yourself pretty well. Because people see you a lot better than you see yourself.

Sure, they’ll flatter you to your face but they see you how you are, crystalline.

And yet they still love you, as you are. And I am certain you’ll be able to find loads of clients today as long as you can do what you say you can do, can deliver above and beyond what you promise, and do it under budget, especially if you leverage the power of the Internet as a tool to amplify your beacon, to turn your modest “hello world” into a Whitman yawp, into a bold “olly olly oxen free!”

But you need to work on integrating who you wish you were, who you want to be with who you are today; and, even more, you need to maybe jettison what you were if what you were is inconsistent or antithetical to who you are today and who you aspire to be tomorrow.

Make sense?

But unless you are able to proudly and shamelessly convey yourself as you are then your beacon will never ring true. You may very well attract prospects and clients to who you would like to be (a foot taller, a person lighter, a pompadour more hair); however, the moment you can’t deliver on the way you (mis)represented yourself online in exactly the way you (mis)promised, then you’re done.

So, why not look honestly into the mirror? So, why not embrace who you are not and then let your brand, your company, your career develop and unfold organically, all the while being well within your skill set, well within your ability to over-deliver on skills that you already have today, all in your current working wheelhouse, and all things you can do today (as opposed to hopefully figure out right before they’re due without getting caught holding the bag).

What do you look like in the mirror?  I mean really look like? No, not in those special Nordstrom mirrors that’re designed to make you look skinny, smooth, tanned, toned, and athletic. And not those #selfies you take with heavy #filter that you shoot from just about all the way overhead and delete, delete, delete.  I am talking about the photos that other people take of you, the ones you rush to untag, untag, untag the moment you see that you’ve been tagged.

The person you are every day of the year. The person that everyone already loves and does business with. The life of the party even though you’re not the person you were in school, in college, or when you did some marathoning in your twenties.

Of course, I am spinning analogies. But it’s all the same, right? Your brand, company, business, products, services, and even your website will speak for themselves in ways that you might not well have anticipated. Ways that you might not have foreseen. The Chevy Nova means “no go” in Spanish. There are a million examples. Another example? “Got Milk” translated to “Are You Lactating?” in Spanish as well.  There are a million of them.

Even that isn’t exactly the point. The point is that while it’s important to continue to move forward, pursuing the brand and company that you want to be, you also need to be realistic. To quote Donald Rumsfeld, “you go to war with the army you have — not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

While you may well be able to use marketing, PR, and brand promotion to grow your brand — your army — into what you aspire it to become, you don’t best serve your own best interest if you put your social media life on hold until you realize your true potential.

If you’re not tall, dark, and handsome you either indulge in self-loathing, cursing your parents, your genes, and the short-straw that life gave you; or, you can reject the entire concept of tall, dark, and handsome being de rigueur and, instead embrace short, smart, and funny as the new sexy instead.

There’s so much you can do, so much you can be, and so much business you can do right now with the brand that you have.

And, you’re in luck: on the Internet, short, smart, and funny almost always trumps tall, dark, and handsome.

Go git ‘em, Tiger!

Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me at +1 202-351-1235

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

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Chris Abraham

About Chris Abraham

A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.

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