The Aura of Authenticity

Photo :: Jay Baer, Convince & Convert (left) moderates the morning keynote panel “Are We Getting Better or Just Busier,” with Mario Sundar (LinkedIn), Chris Brogan (Human Business Works) and Mark Schaefer (Schaefer Marketing Solutions).

I spent the early part of last week at the Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, one of my favorite cities. The marketing hype was no lie, it was truly a who’s who of top social media pros – Guy Kawaskai, Chris Brogan, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer, Mari Smith, Michael Brito, Amy Porterfield and so on.

While the breakouts on practice were solid, I found that the keynotes carried a common theme that went above and beyond social media – the power of attraction that comes from our authentic self. In particular, Jay Baer moderated a panel titled “Are We Getting Better or Just Busier,” that included Chris Brogan, Mario Sundar and Mark Schaefer.


Jay posed the “If only I’d known then…” question during which the cognitive collective shared how they would have done things differently now with hindsight. My biggest surprise was that building their own email database topped the list. The reason? It’s the only media that you own and no one else can control or shut down.

The confab took an thoughtful turn when Jay brought up how we don’t have to live in 360 degrees – we can release the need to always be, know and follow the next hot thing. Here’s three lessons I took away:

  • FOMO – Our fear of missing out (FOMO) is exhausting and not sustainable. You can’t be everywhere all the time, so get over it. It takes courage to say no and tell the execs an idea is off strategy. You can’t be an expert in everything, so create a voice, your point of view and stick with your niche.



  • Be Yourself – Even when it’s hard. Online. Offline. Private. Public. Don’t try to be anyone else. Appreciate small interactions that lead people to know and trust you. Stay centered and focused on what’s important to you, personally.



  • Small is Good – Many of us, including the four on the panel, tried to conquer the world and realized how exhausting it was. Chris Brogan said it very well, “ When we’re hungry and desperate for business we say, ‘let’s throw seed everywhere.’ Instead, we need to cultivate one little patch and work up from there.”
And probably the best advice I’ve heard all year (I know, it’s only April…), don’t use social media to connect with the people you love most. We talk a lot about target markets and personas, and we’re busy. But at the end of the day, we’re just people wanting to share and connect with other people.  And that’s something that you can only do in real life.





About Carla Johnson


Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.