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How authentic should we let our voices be?

Twitter led me to author Jonathan Fields‘ blog post entitled Getting Real: Dropping F-Bombs For Pleasure and Profit, where he interviews author and blogger Julien Smith about his use of an uncensored f-bomb in the title of a recent blog post. The interview is a video interview but there’s also a transcript below the fold. It’s a fascinating discussion of how much of our authentic selves we should expose to the world when we’re in business.

I’ll admit that with certain friends, I sprinkle my conversation quite liberally with f-bombs and assorted other profanities. But with folks who aren’t in my close circle of friends, I pretty much avoid them and most folks probably wouldn’t suspect I can reel off a string of profanities with the best of ’em. My business persona? Completely mild-mannered.

However, I can’t begin to count the number of times I wanted to let fly with a string of coarse epithets on one of my email lists but I’ve held back only because I wanted to conceal that portion of my true self from colleagues and potential clients.

In some ways, I think it’s also a generational thing. My generation had our mouths thoroughly scrubbed with a bar of soap if we dared to let fly with a dirty word in Mom’s presence. I think I was 18 when I first heard my father let fly with an f-bomb. But those things are changing. It’s not so shocking any more and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I’ve never been one to be offended by coarse language from others but I hold myself back in any sort of communication that may be seen or heard by a colleague or client. I deliberately self-censor in those situations and I’ve often felt that it made my own personal voice somewhat less authentic.

So what about you? How much do you self-censor and how do you feel about it?

Written by Mike Starr, an independent writer based in Pleasant Prairie.

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