In honour of the absolute best sentence ever spoken on a podcast, I’m dedicating this letter to the topic of authenticity and embracing your truest self.
What was this magical sentence, you ask?
A literary masterpiece that not even Shakespeare could compete with:
“What if I started celebrating myself for being exactly the way that I am, and anyone who doesn’t celebrate me can fuck off?”
Good golly, if that isn’t my spirit animal talking!
But it’s hard, isn’t it, to celebrate ourselves when we don’t even know who we are in the first place?
Having immigrated to Canada at a young age means that my desire to fit in was twice as strong. Third grade, copiously studying what the “appropriate” lunch to bring to school was. I learned it wasn’t perogies. Or what dinner you served when friends came over. Let me tell you, it wasn’t sauerkraut or beets. Even my fashion choices swayed depending if I was in Lithuania for the summer or in Canada for the school year.
I’m slowly coming out of this phase where the primitive desire of wanting to fit in is starting to fade, yet the confidence of knowing who I am is still forming.
Where I’m surrounded by like-minded peers, but still lightly holding onto that “mainstream” version of myself.
I hope that 2021 is the year we all start showing up so audaciously ourselves that hearing “you’re too much” becomes a badge of honour.
My years of trying to fit into a new culture, trying to learn a new language, trying to embody new mannerisms… I look back on those years as a valuable part of my journey. A sixth sense that developed for tuning into someone’s essence within a matter of minutes.
Not surprisingly, now finding myself in a career based on expressing one’s inner dharma.
Unlike many “experts”, I don’t view personal branding as another way to stroke your ego and chase vanity metrics. I view personal branding as a way to build the confidence in being you. A superpower for us multi-passionates who need to trust ourselves and feel confident during the inevitable pivots we make in our careers.
When I work with my high-end clients, one of the very first exercises I run them through is finding their brand archetype—a cheat sheet for uncovering their essence.
It keeps us in check when we’re strategizing a new offer. Does it align with who you are?
Or when we’re launching that new offer. Is it resonating with the right group of people?
Or when we’re writing new website and email copy. Does it sound like the real you or the safety blanket you?
Not surprisingly, when I started putting together my personal branding framework for professionals, the brand archetype was a key component. It not only provides a container for organizing your multi-passionate goals, it also offers a foundation from which to start showing up online without feeling all over the place.
I’m willing to bet you’re an online quiz junkie like myself, so here’s the Brand Archetype Quiz that I recommend. Please share your results with me! I can’t wait to share mine with you and start geeking out over them.
(And if you’re stuck in a lockdown like those of us here in Canada, I hope this quiz also doubles as a fun activity for your weekend ahead.)
This past year has been a blessing in giving us empty space to be with our thoughts. It has also been a curse with all the judgement and expectations bouncing around online. The temptation of putting on our safety blanket—the kosher personality that blends into the crowd—is real.
What if we got silent instead? Listened to what’s trying to come out from within?
Having the confidence to show up as our authentic selves means we actually have to know who our authentic self is. To share our truth instead of regurgitating what’s trending.
Knowing your brand archetype can give you that starting place. And then? It’s time to start putting your voice to your ideas. Making them real, giving them life.
There’s a reason why I write first thing in the morning. Not because I’m some morning routine junkie, but because my brain hasn’t been inundated with everyone else’s thoughts yet. It’s why I don’t open Instagram until mid-day. Not because Instagram is inherently bad, but because I know the noise online will overpower the quiet thoughts in my head… the seeds of an idea that may have bloomed, but instead got blown away.
We are inherently worthy, exactly as we are today.
If we can celebrate a newborn baby for simply existing, then we can celebrate our adult selves for simply existing, too.
And anyone who doesn’t celebrate you exactly the way you are right now?
They can fuck off.