a cautionary tale: what selling out will
Do To Your Brand Mojo
There’s a reason they say the truth hurts! And we all know, it can. My hard truth is… I’ve spent virtually my whole life (well, the first 30 years anyway) pinging and ponging between the “real me” and some phony sellout version that I graciously watered down for the masses.
I’d become a walking paradox and eventually I hit a big, tall, GIANT cement wall, figuratively speaking of course.
The phoniness wasn’t conducive to my mental stability nor the achievability of my loftiest dreams, but even worse was how it made me feel like I was a walking contradiction of gargantuan proportions.
I’d been doing it so long that I grew insecure and afraid! I’d become a jaded dreamer, paralyzed in a state of worry about what others thought about me.
I’d fret, borderline obsess, over whether I went too far or said something offensive. It became common practice to worry myself into a full blown frenzy after social situations. Replaying what I said, how I acted. Wondering how others perceived me. Trying to magically “will” a redo.
Ever struggled with any of this?
Sadly, after a few decades stuck in this state of flux that ping ponging eventually became an effortless switch. A switch I quickly flipped on to deflect my embarrassing insecurities and redirect my crippling fears. Today, I’m happy to report I’m a recovering sell out.
How did I get here?
To put it bluntly, I stopped giving a fuck and started basking in my true categorical self. Celebrating all those idiosyncrasies that for decades I tried desperately to hide and dilute. See, I learned the hard way how a lack of individuality can kill your brand mojo.
Do you ever find yourself holding back or watering yourself down for the sake of others? Worrying whether your friends, family, colleagues, etc will approve? Have you become a pussy? Have you lost track of who you are or what you actually believe in? If so, it’s time YOU started not giving a fuck!
Here are 3 invaluable lessons I’ve learned on my journey to recovering sellout.
lesson no. 1
Someone Out There Hates You This Very Second
It’s true, as you read this article someone out there in the world doesn’t like you. In fact, they probably hate you and more than likely there’s actually a whole slew of them. Yep, some rag tag posse of haters is out there in the universe lobbing disdain with your name written all over it…and guess what?…
….There’s not a damn thing you can or NEED to do about it!
No amount of ass kissing, personal dilution or pussy footing is going to change that. Truth be told, most times that will only exacerbate things.
How so? People usually respect, begrudgingly or not, someone for being themselves when the tomatoes begin being thrown. But a wishy washy people pleaser that stands for whatever is easy… that’s a straight shot to Judgement Row.
Come on, admit it. You’ve judged a wisher washer for buckling in the face of resistance too, huh?
To make things worse we not only have those we know talking shit behind our backs but now we’ve got a new breed of haters – internet haters – to contend with. Making it even easier to feel like you should hold back or apologize for being you.
THE BRUTAL TRUTH IS…
Worrying about people hating you is holding you back. It’s a fear and insecurity loop some of us fall into in response to hurt and disappointment. It’s validation we aren’t good enough, that our insecurities are as we suspected – true.
Think about it this way:
How many people have you come into contact with in your life? 1,000? 10,000? 100,000? Of that how many of those people have truly broken your heart or crushed your soul? 5? 10? 20?
So if you’ve been exposed to 10,000 people, of which let’s say 10 (a likely exaggerated figure) have caused you real pain, then a measly .001% of people in your ENTIRE life have actually hurt you.
Does that sound like a figure you should spend even a minute of your day worrying about? Let me answer that for you…. HELL NO! Embrace that.
Don’t try pleasing people who don’t matter. Let them hate. What do you care? You’re out basking and rejoicing in your categorically badass self.
lesson no. 2
Not Giving a Shit Gets Results
Yep, you heard me right! Let me explain…
When I first entered the corporate world I was ambitious, hungry and ready to take over the world. Fast forward 15 years and I felt trapped, unfulfilled and bitter. I couldn’t even fake giving a shit.
But you know what? That freedom from caring made getting things done a breeze because I wasn’t bogged down with illusions of perfectionism or insecurities of not being good enough. Remember, I didn’t give a shit.
I could get a presentation (a good one at that) done in the hour before a meeting. I could compile reports and procedures in mere hours that used to take days and sometimes weeks. And when someone got upset at me for something instead of spiraling into a pit of self doubt I chuckled and reveled in not giving a damn. It afforded me a solace I needed just to show up every day.
When I retired from corporate America and began running my own business all that hunger and ambition came flooding back, but so did all those fears and insecurities. I cared, I cared with every fiber of my being and that self imposed pressure came with bouts of crippling paralysis.
My success was now a definitive and direct correlation to my value and ability. If something wasn’t good, it must mean I wasn’t good. If something went wrong in my business it must be because I was a failure or not cut out for self employment. Sound familiar?
Now I’m NOT saying you should produce crap proudly or diminish the pride you take in your work! That’s far from my point.
What I AM saying is stop giving a shit about attaining perfection. Lose your attachment to needing to be “ready”. Stop investing in things that don’t ultimately matter.
THE BRUTAL TRUTH IS…
The 80/20 rule is as applicable when it comes to not giving a shit as it is in its many other forms. How so? If you stay focused on the 20% that actually produces tangible results the other 80% will fade away and ultimately work itself out.
So, end the madness of giving a shit about the “little” stuff. Bask in the freedom not giving a shit will afford you. The bottom line is, when you stop giving a shit you can start getting shit done. The proof is in the results.
lesson no. 3
A Rose By Any Other Name is Still a Rose
“Strangers think I’m quiet. My friends think I’m outgoing. And my BEST friends know that I’m completely insane!” -unknown
One of my greatest struggles in life has been trying to control how much of me a person got and which part of me they got. I’ve always felt torn between the different facets of my personality. Like I had to choose one persona and that HAD to be me all the time. I’ll admit, I went so far to channel my inner chameleon that I repressed what wanted to come out sooooo badly- ME.
At work I’d channel the buttoned up professional business woman.
On a date I would channel the playful kitten that would shred her prey.
At home or around family I would revel in my role as black sheep.
When in the presence of those I didn’t know I would either clam up or get inappropriately rowdy.
Around my best friends and those I knew loved me I let my bat shit crazy flag fly.
Maybe you can relate? If so, then you know how maddening it is to feel like a master of disguise. I felt like a fraud, I felt like a phony and ultimately…
I lost myself in all those “disguises”. I got so disassociated with my true self that I could have walked up and bitch slapped myself and I wouldn’t have known who it was.
My mindset back then was flawed on several levels, but the greatest was my misguided belief that each of us can have ONE persona (and one only!) and that this said persona was written in stone and HAD to accompany us and bind us in everything we do.
Now I can freely admit at this stage in my life that I’m seldom right and wrong again and this was arguably one of the biggest flubs I’ve ever made.
THE BRUTAL TRUTH IS…
No one label or simple definition is adequate to describe any of us, at any stage in our life. We are all born with a basic temperament and add and adapt to that as we traverse through our life experiences. So just as we never stop experiencing life, nor do we ever stop evolving in the facets of our personality.
Contrary to popular belief, people can change but more than that, we CAN (and will) evolve.
It took a lot of self reflection and soul searching but eventually I came to accept, and even celebrate, all the above mentioned facets of my personality. I’ve learned and grown to love that each of those facets IS part of me. The good, the bad and the ugly.
I AM a hard working, intelligent, savvy business woman (though stuffy and buttoned up I’m NOT).
I AM a feisty, sassy, playful flirt.
I AM a sensitive, fragile, insecure, introverted girl.
I AM a confident, cocky, brutally honest hellion on wheels.
I AM an opinionated, aggressive, Italian with a wicked temper.
I AM a bat shit crazy, unpredictable nut case.
I AM so much more than this list!
We’re all an intricate weave of personality facets, that when strung together make us who we are. Your specific persona formula IS what makes you the unique, one of a kind, never to be duplicated unicorn you are. Without this depth and diversity we’d truly be a society of cloned robots.
I don’t know about you but technology innovations or not, I’m not ready for all that!
Don’t pigeon hole yourself into any bubble or box, no matter how simplified or safe it feels. Let the vast array of your persona flags fly high. Remember, there is only one of you on this planet so don’t hide yourself from the world.
Be proud to be complex and don’t let ANYONE ever make you feel like that complexity is wrong.
If you’ve ever felt like a sellout, if you’ve ever felt like a phony, if you’ve ever struggled to feel whole in your own skin, you are NOT alone!
I won’t insult your intelligence and act like this is all in the past for me. I still have those days and times where it feels easier to fall back into my old patterns. Days where being someone else feels easier. Days where I try and please others to the detriment of myself. What can I say, I’m a work in progress.
These lessons have taken a lifetime to learn and a lot of blood, sweat and tears to come to accept but now that I know my power as a master of my domain (instead of disguise) I’ll never go conform to any bubble or box, no matter how tempting it is. My new motto…
…I’d rather be someone’s shot of vodka, than everyone’s cup of tea!
Take back your categorically badass self. Chuckle and disregard haters. Bask in your “fuck it” place. Rejoice your complex array of personality facets. Take back your right to be exactly who you are!
Do it today – try it right now!…
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