I have moments of reflection when my mind draws connections and today I got thinking about my personal experience with body image. I am not alone in saying that this has been a defining issue for me in my 40+ years. And I am not about to get all ranty, but I found some parallels with body image and making choices about company branding I wanted to share
If you want your body to look a certain way, there are specific life choices one must make. And on the flip side, if you want your business to look a certain way, you also make specific decisions.
In 2011, I hit a breaking point and wanted to shed unwanted weight in order to look a certain way which I assumed would translate into me finding permission to finally feel good about myself. For me, it was a dream to wear clothes that wouldn't pinch, squeeze, or constantly make me aware of my body. It seemed to me at the time that if I looked a certain way then I would finally feel good in it.
So I signed up for a diet program and successfully lost fifty pounds and five dress sizes. Life was good. But here's the thing, all the daily choices I had to make in order to lose that weight, were not sustainable or aligned with the life I have chosen. So it was no surprise to me that I added three dress sizes back.
I bet you are asking why haven't you added the full five dress sizes back? Well here is the thing. Along the way, I started to listen to what my body actually needed. Along the way, the one thing I learned was to stop feeling bad about choices that make me happy. While I was working on the NOURISH cookbook I learned about listening to my body when it came to food choices. The more I listened to what my body needed instead of what my mind wanted, the less I found myself binging on treats. Eventually, I started to realize that the less I worried about my food choices ow others would view my choices, the better my choices became.
The thing I have done was adjust what my perception of how I 'should' look into what I can do to look good. Owning up to the fact that I enjoy cooking, eating, I sit a desk 5-10 hours a day doing creative work I love. As far as fitness and moving, it just isn't working right now. So in came the cute A-line dresses and out went the pinching pants and awkward shirts.
I no longer constantly criticize myself and feel like a potato squished in my clothes. Instead, I feel free and love feeling my body move and groove with my skirts. I am telling you, those Scottish dudes and their kilts knew what they were doing.
In a similar fashion when it comes to my business, I'll admit it, I am envious of other creatives branding and how they connect with their customers and did think if I looked like they do then I can have the same success!
But I have learned that I need to find my own look and my own way of doing things that align with my own goals and what I am capable of pulling off. Each time I have tried to do things the way others do, any kind of growth is limited and not sustainable.
So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation please ask yourself these questions:
"Do you listen to your gut when you work on your company?"
"Does looking like other businesses align with your core values?"
"Are you in a position to invest or have the desire and energy required to do the amount of work it takes to mimic other's successes?"
You are not the other company. And when you try to imitate them, you lose what makes your business yours.