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 :)