(( This piece, Trust Your Genius is by an Art Director friend of mine, Taylor Lucas. ))
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton
One of the favorite learnings I have gathered from my career is about branding. To me, branding is everything – it’s being authentic, good quality, with integrity, meaning what you say, offering something valuable and doing so with a unique and a badass look and feel. Typically it’s a term we hear for brands in business – related to examples like amazing customer service at Nordstrom, recognizable product and package design for Apple or the super-clever logo for Comedy Central.
Jill Tannenbaum, Chief Marketing Officer at Cohn & Wolfe defines branding: “to inspire love, motivate action and build loyalty (for a product, company or services).”
In the past few years I have decided to apply this way of thinking to my own life, to my own person. I think that everything I do matters, and I should be careful in my actions knowing that everything reflects back on me in some way. I want to be proud of myself, to be confidant and self-secure knowing that I trust the person that I am and what I put out into the world.
With that said, I’m certainly not perfect. I am learning and growing every single day. The important thing is that I own my mistakes, knowing that I made them as part of my journey and will use them to become better moving forward. The best I can do is apologize when it’s time for that and learn from each tumble or bad decision. I don’t like to dwell – I like to recognize things for what they are, be sincere in my regrets and then let them go.
I often find myself saying, “I can only be who I am,” and I believe that sincerely. Not everyone is going to like me, and that’s not what I’m concerned about – what I am concerned over is liking myself.
I want to enjoy being inside my skin, I want to feel comfortable in any situation and I want to know that not everything is for me. I don’t try to choose activities, friends, passions or otherwise based on who I want people to think I am, but rather I try to ask myself, “what do you really want, what are you truly in the mood for?” If I let the answers that come from my true intuition guide me…then I’m really onto something. (Quick side note: I use this tactic for my choices about eating and food, as well – but more on that another time).
So back to branding –
Basically I think that being a brand means that I am thoughtful in every detail of who I am. From obvious things like the way I dress and wear my hair, the neighborhood in which I choose to reside, the amount I let myself swear or burp in public (I’m working on this!) and the food I choose to eat; to less obvious things like the frequency at which I bathe and brush my dog, the fact that I love flossing my teeth, that I RSVP as soon as I receive an invitation and the way I’m careful to use good grammar when text messaging.
Some of little details for me personally, that I think make up who I am and contribute to my brand:
- I respect my dog, for example I cook her unique meals in addition to her daily dry dog food. (I will do a full post down the line but for more on this now, see here).
- I like to make sure that every gift I give is also one that I would love to receive. I’m also a big fan of super-sincere, handwritten cards and notes (often times with pretty stickers sealing the envelope).
- I choose my home and body products with the same meticulosity as for the foods I ingest (LOTS more coming on this soon).
- I respect people who provide valuable services to me, I appreciate the work they do and always tip well. This goes for all sorts of professions such as aestheticians, waiters, dog walkers, bartenders, cleaning people, delivery carriers and anything of the like.
- I try to be kind, polite and with good manners.
- I love good grammar and take pride in any work I do.
- And for one of my favorites: I try to only buy things that I truly love and cannot wait to wear, use, consume, etc. I don’t want to waste money on anything I don’t feel 100% about, and I don’t want to waste energy not feeling my best all of the time. If you’re in a store and something is not perfect, then lucky you – you get to move on and save your money until you find something to die for.
In talking about branding, Mary van de Wiel, a Dutch sea captain’s daughter put it really well: “It’s just a feeling others have about you, what you do, why it matters — and why anybody else should give a damn. It’s about the kind of energy you bring to the table. It’s about saying you are who you are.”
Basically I want to be the best I can each day, I want to be my unique craft and I want to be able to own my imperfections. Ultimately I want to have inner peace knowing that I care about what I do and the effect I have on other people and the world at large. It’s a sloppy journey but it’s alllll good.
Just make your mark, make it count, make it at all!
Happy weekend, babies. Lots of love, B.