Sometimes it feels like it’s all marketing these days—whether we’re trying to make our homes, our relationships or our business “look good.
I’ve definitely gotten burned by believing in the smoke and mirrors displays that surround us everywhere we turn. Have you had that happen? Have you seen something from the outside and believed it was exactly as it seemed, only to find out that, well, it wasn’t? Were you disappointed? Relieved?
I’ve felt both disappointed and relieved when I’ve discovered that behind the mask, people are still human. In fact, nowadays, I go looking for cracks in the veneer, because those are the most interesting parts of a person’s story. And I have the sense that everybody is starting to do the same thing.
I have lots of conversations with other women and other entrepreneurs and life coaches about this. How much do you share? How do you share it so it’s productive, but not all smoke and mirrors? Do you have to put a “spin” on things in order for them to work? Is it possible to “put a spin” on things and not be fake?
There’s something really changing in the way we represent ourselves, and do our marketing. I see my clients all the time comparing themselves to other people (are we trained to do that, or what??), and sometimes those are people I know … and I know things are not as they seem.
Because I haven’t wanted to contribute to the smoke and mirrors aspect of this business, but I’ve also wanted to be successful, plus I have my pride, and there are things I feel shame around, it’s been an interesting game to play. I keep getting to explore what rules I want to play by, and which game, exactly, I want to play.
It’s the same in romance, isn’t it? How mysterious do you really want to be when what you really want is to be fully seen and known? It’s all part of the process, as far as I’m concerned, not outside it.
When I hear my clients talk about what they want to share and what they don’t, but their business isn’t doing well, or they aren’t working consistently in their creative flow, I sense a hidden belief or block of some kind – usually along the lines that they aren’t “supposed to” or “allowed to” express themselves openly and freely.
The world…the way it’s going right now, is demanding that we be willing to be open and free, authentic and true to ourselves.
Have you felt that shift?
That we’re not in junior high anymore, looking at the popular girls on how to be, and what’s not acceptable. That our parents can’t tell us what to wear anymore, or who to have as friends. There’s a whole disconnecting from the old way of believing and doing things that’s happening. It’s messy, but it feels amazing.
It feels amazing not only because it’s so satisfying to live according to your true self, but also because you suddenly have permission to do what you need to do to make the things happen you want to make happen.
I had a conversation with a client a while ago where she was feeling like she “shouldn’t” get a job because it would mean she was a failure as a coach. I was like, Um, no. You can still be an incredible coach, but if your business isn’t thriving right now and you have bills to pay, it’s not failure if you go get a job while you figure out the business stuff.
You don’t have to “look good” on the surface, but be falling apart on the inside. (I think my exact words were, “Sometimes you just need to get a ***ing job and make some ****ing money!” This client loves it when I curse, so I kindly oblige her.)
I’ve gone back to waitressing twice since starting my business, and I would do it again, if I needed to.
People get all weird about it, like there’s something wrong with getting a job. (In entrepreneurial circles they won’t even say the word “job” out loud, they’ll say “J.O.B.”, like you’ll hex yourself if you actually say the word.) I’ve had people be weird with me about the waitressing, and all like, why don’t you get a desk job, because from a socially acceptable standpoint, we say it’s better to be working in an office than a restaurant. More grown-up.
But the thing is, I can’t stand desk jobs, and I actually like waitressing, the running around, talking to people, sharing a drink at the end of the night, cash in your pocket. It’s not my dream career, but if, as I’m making my way in the entrepreneurial world, and I need to supplement my income, why not?
Where’s the shame in taking good care of yourself?
That’s why I don’t like smoke and mirrors. That approach, where you’re trying to look good, misleads your audience and it leads us all into making bad decisions that don’t serve us (think debt, the wrong career, marrying someone perfect for your mom but not actually great for you)
And it stops us from being free. I like writing in bed, making my own schedule, not combing my hair, living the life of an artist – and I also love to glam it up.
Can’t we have it all? Or do we need to bury the messier parts of ourselves and pretend they’re not there? And is it actually true that someone who’s wearing air-brushed makeup is more of an expert in her field than someone who is wearing no makeup? What does it say about what we hold as important if we believe that?
The smoke and mirrors approach doesn’t seem to make sense anymore.
It’s a new era of marketing that we’re calling in. A time of authentic, tell-it-like-it-is marketing. The amazing success plus blow-out failure, share-it-all, no shame approach to life, love and business.
Who wants to go first?
Oh! I think it might be me.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve gotten very comfortable with my looks. I like the unvarnished me. That is NEW. I’m still working on accepting the physical limitations that having fibroids/ovarian cysts/endometriosis has brought into my life.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I really appreciate my willingness to show up as the natural me. I’m still working on appreciating that I have ADHD and I have to wrangle myself on a moment-to-moment basis. It’s like I’m my own free-spirited two year old!
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
I’m super proud of how, back when I was an actress in NYC, I stopped feeling “rejected” in auditions, and was able to just dive in and perform and have a good time, whether I got the part or not. I want to go global nomad and truly create the dream vision I have for my life – and I want to do it in a way that feels genuine to me.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Again, I am ADHD all over the place!
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my willingness to have a sense of humor about life’s challenges. I love when something goes wrong and I laugh in response.