Discover who you're meant to be

Friday, October 26, 2012

YES I realize I need to post this shoot, but you know what?  I like swimming in single images for a moment... you get to indulge in them like you wouldn't if they were all posted at once. 

SO.  Let's talk about discovering who you're meant to be.  I LOVE talking about branding and identity. And even when we start to get a grip on our business, don't we always want to dig even deeper to better understand what makes you - you?  The beautiful part of getting to know yourself is that it is constantly evolving.  Constantly.  That means that we hit points where we once again start to question ourselves.  Seriously?! How confusing! 

Let's dig deep.  In order to build your brand successfully, you must build it on the truth and on your true experiences.  So how do you break down your true stories, experiences, and life changing events? By answering these questions from Chris Hilicki's book.  Seriously, answer these!

- What were the life changing events in my life? 

- What are some things in my life that occur over and over?

- What are the most important values in my life and where'd they come from?

- Where were you born and raised? Did your mother work inside or outside the home?

- Did you ever play make believe? Wore costumes? Did you pick it or did someone else?

- Did you ever win a prize? What for? How did it make you feel to get attention?

I'll stop there for a moment, because that last question immediately sent me back to 6th grade.  I was in a typing competition -- that's right, y'all think y'all know me, oh there is some nerdinesss up in here -- and I was competing against a lot of schools in the district.  Well, they started to announce the first place winner and... they said my name! My mom jumped out of her chair and started rooting and clapping.  I was so embarrassed that I even yelled "shhh!!" as I made my way to the stage, blushing profusely.  She got upset that I was embarrassed and said she was allowed to be loud over this because she was proud.

As I'm reading this section in the book and get to this question, I begin replaying my typing-championship-loud-mom moment and I realized something.  Growing up, I h-a-t-e-d attention.  There's a lot of reasons why I hated it, but I distinctly remember how much I did not want to be noticed.  And here's the irony of it all:  God made me to be noticed.  And I'm not strictly referring to being born with blonde hair and Spanish being my first language.  What I mean by this is that I have ALWAYS loved being different.  I love to tell stories and grab people's attention by making them feel something.  I usually over-dress, so I remember before walking out of my door I would take off some earrings in fear of standing out for being over dressed.  This way I could blend in.

Well, I got sick of blending in.  And let's admit it, I'm not even this crazy, over the top person -- but in my head, whenever I would completely let go and be me -- sometimes I WOULD feel like an "over the top" person.  Why?  Because I was self-conscious of it so it was magnified in my head.  Then I started realizing how good it felt to allow myself to be me.  Sounds silly, but don't we all struggle with this sometimes?  

How does this translate to my business?  By realizing that I, as a person and business owner, highly value helping people identify and EMBRACE who they are.  This affirmed that the future of my business wouldn't just be about photography, but about branding and identity.  It is my strong desire to help artists identify their strengths, to inspire women to have self love through this journey of branding and styling.  Do you know how this has transformed the purpose of my business?!  Just the fact that I have a purpose is fulfilling.  I am working with intention now.

Chris Hilicki, a branding expert, after answering those questions, she realized this: "For most of my life, I created success because I had developed a special ability to make others feel important."  Your past "must not control you but simply give you value, uniqueness, and clues to define your authentic self."

Your homework from Chris: Determine what's important to you based on your stories -- this will reveal your values and beliefs.  Translate these values into a corresponding look, sound, and feel that no one else can copy because it's your story.

p.s. I would honestly love to hear how YOU reacted to attention growing up.  Did you hate it? Crave it? Why? Just curious :)


  1. I hated "spotlight" type attention growing up and was super shy and easily embarrassed. Until I was about 13 and got involved in theatre and became what I'll call an "introverted extrovert". Meaning, I was still mostly a "keep-to-myself" personality (expect with my closest friends) until I got on center stage.

    While with my non-theatre friends I was considered the outgoing, dramatic one, among my theatre friends I was still considered the quite one. Funny how perceptive can change your label huh?

    Anyways, now I don't do theatre anymore (or haven't for about five years) so that part of my identity doesn't really exists anymore. Weird that such a big part of what developed who I am no longer is part of my life.

    1. I can't even tell you HOW much I relate to your "introverted extrovert" -- I totally get freaked out when I walk into a room full of people I don't know. But in my "intimate" circles, I can easily become "dramatic," loud, and goofy. Though no matter *where* I am, my hands will always move when I talk and people automatically assume that with being dramatic. Ha.

      On top of that, I also went to a theater high school and totally know what it's like to feel underwhelming when you're around certain theater friends (we know which ones ;). I definitely become intimidated by people who are incredibly boisterous. But I love being around them and their energy :)

  2. I love when your posts are deep:) I loved attention as a kid and now I hate it, which is so odd because I have more confidence now that I did as a child. I've been told lately though that I NEED to be my own salesperson because there's nothing wrong with it - and I'm learning to get over the hump of insecurity! God made me to be noticed - I love that line. I have to write it down everywhere I can see it now.

    1. Really?! That is so interesting. And I agree, the hardest part about our industries is that our business revolves strongly on us -- or at least on us to *define* it. Chris Hilicki said "Branding is at some level all about getting and sustaining -appropriate- attention." It's a tricky balance with attention. We have to recognize that we have something to offer and not feel guilty about bringing attention to it. Kinda weird, but you have to see it in your head not as selling yourself -- but providing a very personalized service that is uniquely provided by *you*.

  3. Ahhh...totally with you on the whole extrovert-introvert thing! I'm still all about avoiding attention and like to work "behind the curtains" so no one can notice or acknowledge me. I rather them see the final result than the person behind it. But like you, I'm completely outgoing with people I feel most comfortable with. I gotta feel the environment out before I start chattin' it up with people.

  4. When I was younger, I feel as though I was in between loving attention and hating it. I was much more creative with my makeup and clothing, but these days I find myself loving the creativity in others and thinking mine is just me being an uncreative nerd who’s trying to be creative. I should wear those earring, darn it! ;-) Thanks for the boost of inspiration, I feel as though God is beginning to take me on this crazy journey of self discovery and finding a career in the midst of it. I still am not aware of what it is, but with Charis coming, I feel the answer to be close.

  5. I am the opposite! I shine and thrive in large crowds I loved nothing more than being on stage or speaking in front of people. It's the intimate one on one or with ppl I know and I get uncomfortable and shy!



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