“It’s too feminine. It just won’t work.”
That’s what I was told about my logo when I first started my side hustle as a business consultant while going to grad school. “Hmmmm, he’s probably right,” I thought to myself. This man was after all a *lifts up pinky finger* Standford Grad *GASP* and had successfully worked on one of the most successful marketing campaigns of the 1980s. And although at that time I may have audibly let out a “pfffft, I do what I want,” internally it did the trick. It shooshed me. Almost immediately quit using that logo and those business cards that I had excitedly opened a few hours earlier.
I’m a first-generation American of Mexican descent, a Chicana, if you will. I’m not naturally a quiet person. Interestingly enough, the first place where there was a major shoosh attempt in my life was in my home. Little girls do as they’re told. I was in the first grade when I started to fight back. Boy, was I a pain in the ass. Don’t get me wrong, I was right… but my approach was ALL WRONG.
In Mel Robbins’ brand spanking new Audible book, Work it Out: The New Rules for Women to Get Ahead at Work, she teaches, “How to say no without being labeled a bitch.” My first instinct was… so what?! But your approach matters so much. Embrace your power with tact and respect. Be firm and confident when you speak. Be the badass that you are but be grounded in facts and knowledge.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever held back from speaking up during an important meeting and then sat disgusted and full of regret at your desk for the rest of the day? Especially if after you hesitated someone else was praised for speaking up with something not quite as brilliant as your idea.
During an interview, Uri Levine (the founder of Waze and other well-known tech startups) was asked how he continues to be so successful at launching applications. His response was, “The biggest enemy of good enough is perfect. You don’t need to be perfect. You’re going to lose to someone who is good enough.” Now is your time. Raise your hand. Been seen. Even if the worst situation in your mind happens (I promise, it won’t), you will be feeling no worse than if you had said nothing at all.
One of my ultimate heroes of authenticity is Brene Brown. If you struggle AT ALL with being you I recommend reading all of her books… but most especially Daring Greatly. In it, she digs deep into the shame and guilt we all carry and how it holds us back from having the vulnerability of being our true selves. Or as she calls it “being wholehearted.”
There is only one you. That’s it, one. And to make matters even more dire, you only have one chance to live this life. Why waste any more time trying to fit into something you’re not or not doing the work that you love and fulfills you? It’s not an easy task. This is something that I still work on daily, although it does get easier the more that you do it. Your life might even get temporarily more difficult while you figure it out. It’s always messy in the middle. But I promise it is so worth it.
Here I am three years later, once again re-branding. This time I’m even going with my gut and designing something I love. I’m even… are you ready? Adding PINK! *jaw drops* So what if it’s “too feminine” and I’ll “only attract female” clients. Guess who my ideal clients are… WOMEN! Screw all the naysayers. Be heard. Be seen. Be wholehearted. Be YOU.