personal brand

Is Your Personal Brand Holding You Back?

My fear of ruining my personal brand held me back – here’s what I’ve learned from letting that fear go.

I ran my blog for YEARS before I got up the courage to post about it on my personal Facebook and Instagram.

Why? Well, it’s not because I thought the quality was subpar or because I was shy about my writing. The fear of judgement was present but I didn’t fear social rejection – I feared workplace rejection. I was worried that if people saw all of me, the messy part, the human part, the authentic parts, it would hurt my professional image & personal brand. 

I was afraid to claim my art because it might jeopardize my career at the time or future career opportunities. My content didn’t align with the image I thought I had to uphold to be an HR professional. My fear of being unprofessional & my dependency on a “perfect” career held me back. 

Why Are We Worried About Our Personal Brand? 

I am proud to say that in 2019 I got over that. And by this point in 2020 I proudly post about my content on anything and everything. But I think it’s important to ruminate on how my fear of judgement from the workplace kept me from sharing my content earlier. 

In summary, I let my career dictate the success and excitement around a passion project – how awful is that? And I’ve noticed that many of the people I work with do the same thing. Those of us who dabble in the corporate world are constantly conscious of our reputations, how we are being perceived and how those perceptions dictate our potential.

Our personal brands determine our value in the workplace. Personal brand by definition is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perfection or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry or marketplace at large (definition from https://personalbrand.com/definition/

In other words, it’s the confirmation that you are always being judged for how you show up in the professional world – which for perfectionists can be a HORRIBLE weight to carry. 

Personal Brand & Our Relationship with Work 

I think a lot of us treat our jobs like codependent relationships – and that’s by design. It’s no surprise that most of us are afraid to rock the boat – we quite literally rely on our jobs to keep us alive. Our jobs are the keepers of health insurance, basic income, and often our schedules. Depending on the company and culture our jobs may even dictate the relationships we have and what we do in our free time. 

Being “representatives” of a company can make us fearful to post authentically on our personal social media. We end up dragging our LinkedIn persona over to our Instagram or Facebook. We edit out all the human parts and create a boring image of perfection. This isn’t out of a personal desire to be secretive but from the fear that if we are seen holistically we may change someone’s perception of us in a negative way. 

One of the reasons we give our work SO much power is at will employment in the private sector. At will employment means that employers can end your employment at any time. Is it really that simple? No – it’s usually a lot of work on the HR side of things to decide to terminate someone. But does that ease the fear in any employees minds? Also no. And when we consider how many managers lack training on coaching conversations and turn to disciplinary terms when a mistake is made instead of fostering an environment of growth it’s not surprising employees are fearful. 

Kick Perfectionism and Personal Branding to the Curb

In summary, our jobs are all wrapped up in what we do and how we show up in the world. Our jobs dictate what we do in our free time. Our work “personal brand” can seep into our time off the clock. Is it possible to change this? Are we able to put solid boundaries between work and our lives at home? Are we allowed to be ourselves fully and authentically at work as long as we aren’t hurting anyone else in the process? I hope so and I’m here to help anyone who wants to do that. 

Ready to find a career that is authentically you? Head over here to schedule a discovery call

I want you to be able to show up as you for work. And I want to enable you to leave work at work. Let’s take the power back from our employers!

motivation

Finding (A Little) Motivation

Need a little Monday Motivation? I know I do. Lately I have been feeling the residual burnout of endless weeks in quarantine – and I know I’m not alone in that. 

I personally have not been keeping track of the days I’ve spent in my apartment but I know many who have. Instead of counting days, I’m counting blog posts and projects. And after looking through everything I’ve accomplished I think it’s time to tap into some of the juicy topics we glossed over. Want to deep dive with me? Follow along on Instagram @btrlytho. Not the Instagram type? Here’s my plan for the week: 

Monday: A NEW email should be hitting your inbox my sweet sweet friends! The announcement inside is juicy and includes my second favorite four letter word…SALE! We are giving something new a try and I can’t wait to hear what you all think! *Not on the email list? You can view the email AND sign up for future emails here.

Tuesday: Let’s get rowdy and revisit why I, as your career coach and confidant, will never tell you to “be more professional” and will provide you with helpful advice instead.

Wednesday: Have you read the email yet? GO DO IT NOW! If you have, you’ll know what I’m putting my self paced program “What Do YOU Want” on a flash sale through the end of the month. WDYW is designed to give you clarity on what you want, a path to get there and the confidence to make it happen (without ALL the toxic positivity b*llsh*t). Want to know why I created this 7 week life makeover? Visit its origin story here.

Thursday: Ready for some motivation to do the mindset work? Last week I posted a video about my journey to imperfection – let’s revisit an older post while we are at it. Perfectionism is a beast! Ready to kick it to the curb? And once you’ve read that feel free to jump into my full journey with perfectionism.

Friday: Lack of clarity keeping you immobile? Let’s get you moving! It’s ok to not know what you are doing but try anyway! And when you need help getting that plan in place reach out! 

Saturday: And let’s round out of week of motivation with a little self care Saturday reminder that YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB. Need to dig in deeper on this subject? My Patreon is here for you! Jump into this low cost option to dig in deeper on your relationship with work. 

As always, your accounabilibuddy is here – ready to help you kick butt and create a life that fulfills you. Let’s make your job work for you! Sign up for a free discovery call here!

Love you all & can’t wait to kick butt with you this week. See you over on Instagram! @btrlytho

imperfection

The Art of Imperfection

I’ve been working on mastering the art of imperfection. And this website is a testimony to the work I’ve put into shedding my perfectionist skin. I spent years keeping my talents and opinions to myself, doubting myself, living with imposter syndrome and thinking I was the dumbest person in the room – all because I wasn’t perfect. For me, especially in college and during the early part of my career, I thought I had to be perfect to be worthy of being in the room, to be worthy of making noise or taking up space. 

I even kept this blog quiet for the first couple years of its existence because I was afraid that if I called attention to it someone would see me for what I was – an imperfect imposter. 

But I am imperfect… and I’m not an imposter. I own the domain for f**ks sake. 

And I know I’m not alone in this.

I know this because of the Ted Talk above. I love this TedTalk. Every time it comes up I think about how fortunate I was to be raised by someone who valued imperfection (the woman would retrieve my coloring out of the trash when I told her it wasn’t good enough to keep). But even with a conscientious mother no one was able to protect me from the misogynistic reality that we live in. Even her belief & affirmations that I could do ANYTHING weren’t enough to keep the taunts that society fed me out of my brain. 

Society Fed Me the Lie that I Needed to be Perfect

In 3rd grade I was taught by timed multiplication math sheets that if I wanted to succeed in education I had to keep up with the boys – but I was blissfully unaware that I could run circles around them. 

In 4th grade I was taught that even though my male teacher begged me to join a math-a-thon team as an extracurricular- as the only girl on the team I was asked to sit out during the relay (a math problem relay) because I “couldn’t run as fast as the boys” even though I could solve the equations quicker. 

In 5th I was taught that if a boy started drama or a runout they could blame it on a girl and one of us would get accused of causing drama or gossiping. I was taught that men were allowed to brag about their accomplishments but if I talked about my success or accomplishments I was bragging. 

No one ever told me I wasn’t enough – they didn’t need to. Their actions did. 

And every one of these moments were brushed off as no big deal. Making a big deal out of any of these would have been a reflection on me, on my maturity, on my inability to control my emotions – as a girl I was never allowed to complain because even if I did it was my fault for not speaking up in the moment. 

Imperfection in High School

I went to high school and was ridiculed for my clothes because my shorts distracted the boys. 

I disagreed with an English teacher on the Great Gatsby (I hated it) and was accused of not reading the book but none of the boys were accused of skipping the work when they shared my opinion. 

I was one of only 3 girls who took autoshop and was told that I must be taking it  “for the boys” when in reality I took it to learn how to work on cars (imagine that!) 

People felt comfortable making these comments because women and girls are taught to be predictable. We are taught to comply. Women and girls are not encouraged to be problem solvers or innovators.

Perfection in Sisterhood

And by the time I went to college I joined a sorority to make friends. Through this process I ended up both bullied and a bully. Constantly ridiculed by society for joining a sorority and consistently ridiculed by the women in the organization because society had pitted us all against each other. 

Society taught us that we couldn’t all win. Ambitious women aren’t all allowed to be successful. Someone has to be the leader. Social status has to matter. Only one of us could get the cute boy. Pull the pre med guy. Have the highest GPA or make the best crafts for our littles. 

We had to get the grades, go to the parties, make the crafts and literally walk upstairs backwards in heels (a skill I have yet to utilize in my adult life). We had to be perfect and we were compared to one another regardless of how well we did.

I learned at 19 that titles and power changed people. That jealousy is ugly on everyone – including myself.  I learned that decisions in a women’s organization were made by the contextualized male gaze. 

Toxic masculinity is a drug and we were all strung out. 

I hated myself by the time I detoxed my senior year. I was a “bad” feminist, I had committed ultimate girl code treason by choosing to spend more time with my boyfriend than my friends. In their eyes it was a betrayal but for me it was easiest to remove myself from the competition (at least I knew society wouldn’t require me to compete with him).

Embracing Imperfection

No one ever had to tell me I wasn’t enough verbatim – society told me. It reared its ugly head through the way I was conditioned to treat women and how they were conditioned to treat me. 

Perfectionism forces girls and women to take the blame for something that was never their fault – the opinion of society on who they are and how they conduct themselves. 

Perfectionism tells us: If I play by the rules they can’t judge me.  

Reality tells us: they will judge me anyway 

Imposter Syndrome Sneaks In 

Of course women suffer from imposter syndrome. How could we not? Everyone from society, to our sisters, to ourselves tell us that we aren’t enough. We will never be enough. We can’t be like the boys and we will always be pitted against the girls. And if for some reason we are confident or think we think we are enough we are being cocky – which is a perfectly acceptable reason to bully us under the guise of “keeping us humble”. 

The corporate world is no kinder – it asked perfection of me as well.. 

I was asked to not get emotional about a bad review. 

I was told I had to swear my loyalty to a company as a temp even though they weren’t going to hire me on. 

By the end of my first corporate job I knew I had to work on perfectionism – I couldn’t be everything to everyone. I didn’t want to be everything to everyone. So I started this blog as a way to figure out who I was and what I wanted and to learn how to be imperfect – publicly. 

Quitting Perfectionism & Embracing the Imperfection of being Me

I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who needed to be reminded again and again that she is enough. I know other women who have felt like that had to be the very best at what they do to even get a seat at the table. Women who have worked their asses off to get to seats unofficially reserved for men. 

Every mistake is held over us. And for those of us brave enough to take risks – we get ridiculed the whole way. While most of us aren’t explicitly told we aren’t enough we see it in our salaries, the subtle remarks in conversation, the impossibly high standards that are held over us. We can’t be perfect. So why try? 

The friends and family that build us up. Moms who pull our coloring out of the trash and tell us we can be whoever we want to be when we grow up are great – but if society keeps giving us a different version of the narrative we have to be brave enough to believe that we are perfectly imperfect. We can’t be imposters in our own lives. Society as a whole may not believe in us – but that doesn’t mean we have to listen. 

Over the last few years I’ve gotten really good at picking up on when perfectionism wants to come knocking at my door and I’ve learned how to honor it and simultaneously shut it down. As an adult I’ve been privileged to decrease the influence society has on how I show up in the world and now as my own boss I’m able to honor my imperfections – and even enjoy some of them. 

Bravery is exhausting when you have to fight everyday. Imperfection is easier than being perfect when we feel safe but when we are being judged it’s easy to slip into a perfectionist mindset. So here is your reminder: 

You cannot be perfect. 

You can be: 

Brave

Bold

Kind 

Smart 

Loving 

Generous

Patient 

And so many other qualities. But you don’t have to be all of them. 

Imperfection in Action

My final ask of you is to be brave enough to do things imperfectly. I’ve spent years of my life not doing things because I didn’t think they would be “perfect” or good enough. For YEARS I oscillated between bold, brash, momentary bravery and self doubt. 

I’ve finally started to get this imperfection thing down but I wasn’t always like this. And I think that’s a helpful piece of information because it means that with enough practice bravery can become a muscle (or at least a mask you’re able to slip on temporarily – think about it; even Beyoncé has an alter ego she channels to be bold on stage).

Be brave, embrace imperfection, chase what you want and now that I’m rooting for you! 

Need help getting started? Not sure what move to make next? Schedule a free discovery call to see if career coaching (or a lower cost self-paced program) is right for you!

rest

Rest, Revisit and Integrate

This week we are going to rest and revisit previous blog posts. Why? Well, I’m tired. Are you tired? I’m tired. And since one of my favorite messages is that everyone is worthy of rest I think it’s essential to lead by example. So, this week we are resting. 

Rest is crucial to absorbing and retaining information. It is essential to take time to slow down if we want to perform at our best and without rest I become the grumpiest person on the planet (I make Oscar the Grouch look like an optimist).

Rest can be active (walking, moving meditations, yoga, reading) or it can be passive (napping, meditating, etc). Rest can be day dreaming, rest can be coloring. It can be spending time with family or ignoring all your calls. It’s up to you – it’s individual and you cannot do it wrong unless you don’t do it. 

This week on my Youtube channel I will be uploading a video about my struggle with setting a sleep schedule. It’s an ode to rest and I briefly touch on the importance of sleep (but if you want more I highly recommend reading Why We Sleep – it’s amazing). 

Other than the video we are going to keep new content to a minimum. Instead we are going to take some time to revisit the messages that I think need a little extra time to sink in. Ready for the schedule? 

Our Weekly Schedule

Sound fun? Follow along on instagram @btrlytho to keep up or go at your own pace. Integrate what resonates with you and let go of what doesn’t!

It’s your week to integrate and play – use it well! 

You Don’t Have to LOVE Your Job

I’m going to say something that may surprise you considering I’m a career coach. Are you ready for the best advice I can give you? You don’t have to love your job and no career choices are permanent.

You are allowed and encouraged to be fully and wholly fulfilled – even if you aren’t currently in LOVE with what you do.

Auditory learner? Here’s a video to help you out!

What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? 

Confused? Don’t worry. I used to be SO LOST on this and it’s confusing because our earliest experiences are influenced by society’s romanticization of work. As children we are asked what we want to “be” when we grow up. The normal answers to this are “ballerina”, “doctor” or another profession we’ve seen someone do and thought it looked cool. From our youngest years we are asked to start identifying ourselves based on primitive ideas of what we will do. We are asked to start picking potential professions and ways to make money before we even understand the system we will be working in.

Is Our Job Our Purpose?

Since we are being fed the idea that we have to contribute to society in an impactful way from a very young age it’s not surprising that we tie what we are meant to do with our lives as people to the job we choose to do. Capitalism is able to take advantage of the correlation between happiness, fulfillment and purpose to gaslight us into thinking our work is our main purpose. This culture convinces us that we live to work – when really a healthier mindset would be to work to live. 

Purpose has a place but it doesn’t need to be present in the office. Positive psychological research shows that people who lead lives filled with purpose are less prone to depression. I believe that people need purpose – but our purposes do not have to be directly tied to our careers. We can have many purposes or motivations for things including our families, painting, crafting, enjoying nature, visiting elderly family members and helping others. Feeling dispassionate about your job is normal and in my opinion can be a healthier stance to take than overly involved. Why? 

Romanticizing Capitalism and Work Gives Employers Power 

By tying our purpose to our jobs employers maintain influence over how we feel about ourselves because of the influence they have on how we feel about work. I know I struggled with processing “bad” days at work and often brought the negative mindset I picked up in the workplace home with me. How many times have you made a mistake at work and went home worrying about it? Our work stress affects our sleep, mental health and it can affect our personal and professional relationships.  We have to have hard boundaries if we want to prevent our employers from influencing our personal lives. Since our society romanticizes capitalism and hard work these boundaries can be hard to enforce. The first step is separating who we are from what we do. (I have a Patreon series about this for $5 – subscribe here to learn more) 

Who Am I If I’m Not My Job or List of Accomplishments? 

It doesn’t surprise me at all that myself and my clients STRUGGLE to come up with our identities outside of what we do. We are so much more than what we do for a living. Yet, the first narratives we are taught about ourselves are around what we will do to “contribute” to society (capitalism). 

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Much like that quote attributed to John Lennon – I think a lot of us don’t understand the question. 

Identity Trap 

When we finally grow up, go to school, pick that career path and start working towards whatever way we’ve decided to contribute, we trap ourselves. 

By only having one end goal we limit the opportunities we take. And by believing capitalism’s lie that our identities are directly tied to our jobs we end up feeling disappointed by our careers when they are lackluster or lack the glamour we dreamed of. 

In short, we’ve let capitalism romanticize work. And it’s led us into a world where we are afraid that there’s something wrong with us because we don’t love every moment or what we do everyday. We worry that there is something missing because we don’t have “dream jobs”. I for one, do not dream about working. I LOVE what I do and I LOVE helping people but I do not dream of all the paperwork involved in running a business, I do not dream of the boring stuff or the off days and THAT IS TOTALLY NORMAL. 

You Don’t Have to LOVE What You Do Everyday

Our BFF capitalism and our corporate workplace cultures feed us the narrative that if we don’t love what we do we must be awful at our jobs or miserable people or there’s something wrong with us. There is nothing wrong – you just don’t enjoy trading your time for money. That’s totally fair.

And when we finally get into these dream roles and hate them or feel unsatisfying we let ourselves get STUCK. Buried under the narrative of how hard it was to get there we decide we would rather stay miserable then try something new. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you feel fulfilled in your life. But if you don’t, or your boss sucks or you’re on a career path and want to get out – you are allowed and encouraged to strategically gtfo (it’s part of what I do – sign up for a free discovery call here).

What keeps us stuck? The fear of starting over. The fear of hating the next thing too. And when we fall victim to this we prevent ourselves from trying something new. You don’t always have to take new opportunities but it’s ok to look for them.

Let’s Stop Dreaming of Work  

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with you if your life dreams don’t revolve around work. It is ok to stay at a job you tolerate because you like the money and don’t want to change (and if you struggle with this setup a career confidence session with me so we can put space in between you and what you do). It is ok to leave a job that you’ve spent years working towards (but please work with me and make a plan before jumping into the job market). It’s never too late to make a change and you’re allowed to feel dispassionate and annoyed about having to work. 

TLDR: Stop letting people shame you for not loving your job and stop feeling trapped in your career. 

burnout prevention

Burnout Prevention Plan

Anyone else in a perpetual state of burnout lately? If so, you are not alone. Our current situation with global climate change, racism, sexism, financial worries, poor leadership and a  PANDEMIC is enough to put even the most stoic of us into a bit of panic. While the majority of us are dealing with some level of these stressors in our day to day lives this garbage pile of everything is DRAINING and when you put it on top of years and years of discrimination and oppression…we have burnout.  

Productivity and Burnout Both Increasing

Before we dig deeper into burnout I do want to make a note about productivity (which is something I’m not super fond of – especially if we use it as a marker of personal success). During my time in HR I worked with managers that were pro remote work and many who were against it due to the fear that employees would be less productive if they had the freedom to work from home. I was lucky enough to work for more managers that were more pro remote work than against it but for anyone who is on the fence about productivity I want to note that 63% of managers and workers are saying that productivity has gone up or stayed the same during this time. 

Work Life Balance 

This means that during a PANDEMIC employees are still managing to get just as much if not more work done. This also means that these individuals are working harder than they were in the office, are facing more stress (unless they are a COVID non-believer) and are probably inching their way towards burnout if they haven’t gotten there already. The longer hours might be due to poor boundary setting since employees can no longer physically leave work at work and because they are not busy or they feel obligated to continue working or respond to emails during non-work hours. If you are one of these employees I HIGHLY recommend setting work from home workplace boundaries and talking to your manager about them. I have an outline for this over on my Patreon if you want to join the boundary setting party! 

Old Burnout Prevention Ideas Not Working 

Because of the layers to this madness I’ve been posting a lot about rest, self-care (the real kind not the marketing kind), meditation and mindset tricks but for me these things aren’t cutting it anymore. We are in a global (or at least in the US, nationwide) state of trauma and panic and we are exhausted – so I’ve thrown together a personal burnout prevention plan. 

**Before we jump in – as a reminder I am not a therapist or mental health professional. If you are experiencing mental or physical health struggles please do not use this blog as a replacement for medical care**

The Plan 

Be Nice 

This is going to sound obvious but BE NICE TO YOURSELF THIS IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC! Treat yourself like you would a friend. If a friend was tired would you make them keep working? No (I hope), you would let them rest! Treat yourself the same way. 

Which brings me to the next part of the plan…

Say No (Strategically)

I’m a big “yes” person. I love taking big leaps, making jumps, doing ALL the things, but if I want to have the energy for the important things I have to say no…sometimes. So now I ask myself what the benefits of saying yes are and if it is worth the physical or emotional labor to do the thing. 

And when you say no DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! For me, the hardest part of saying no is the guilt and the should’s so if you need to revisit the shoulding yourself post and STOP. Ok? Ok! 

Take Time Off 

If you are *lucky* enough to still be employed during this pandemic DO NOT FORGET TO USE YOUR PTO! Take vacation days, take days off at home, and if you are getting sick time take a mental health day and rest. You do not have to go anywhere to use PTO, you can vacation in your home! Some staycation ideas: 

  • At home spa day! (bath, candles, face masks, meditation, spa music, pull out the essential oil diffuser – go all in the “self-care” items if they make you feel refreshed)
  • A PJ day! Stay home, put on some day time PJs and watch movies in your jammies all day. It’s almost like a snow or foggy day when you were a kid. 
  • Holiday Movie Day! Take a day and marathon your favorite holiday films! Pull out the hot chocolate or whatever you are into. 
  • Try a new hobby! Have you been watching people bake quarantine bread and want to try? Or you’re dying to try a paint by numbers but never have the time or you’re too tired after work? Order your supplies and take a day off to play. 
  • DO NOTHING. One of my favorite ways to spend a day off is to give myself permission to do nothing. Do I actually do nothing? No, of course not, I always end up wanting to do something BUT by giving myself permission to do nothing I somehow Jedi mind trick myself into being able to rest and follow my wants instead of my “to do” list. 

Give one or all of these a try! Take a week and come up with themed days! Do whatever sounds fun and relaxing to you – but please use your PTO! If you need help working on your work life balance sign up for a FREE consultation call so we can find a sweet spot for you. 

**A note for my unemployed friends: If you are out of work right now please please please take a little time for self care in between your job applications, resume edits and LinkedIn search binges. You do not have to spend every moment looking for a job. And if you need help with your resume, job search or figuring out what to do next please reach out for a FREE coaching consultation – I’m happy to help you create a plan that factors in time to rest and play! 

Little Moments of Self Care 

Regardless of your employment status, your PTO accruals or how often you take days off, take little moments throughout your day to check in with yourself or make yourself feel special.

Some of the ways I like to do this are: 

  • Drinking my water out of a wine glass so I feel fancy 
  • Fitting a meditation session into my day (most days – and I can always feel it when I skip a day) 
  • Writing a letter, note or kind message to someone who has helped you in some way (this makes me feel better and it usually makes someone elses day) 
  • Scheduling in walk breaks (our corgi does that for us in this household but if you don’t have a pet make sure you are getting yourself outside to exercise)
  • Starting my day with something that makes me happy (this is a new one for me but for the last couple days I’ve been trying to start my day by watching a video or consuming content or playing music that brings me joy and makes me feel good – 10/10 recommend) 
  • Bed Time Wind Down Routine: this is my newest item because I am mediocre at routine. I’ll be posting a vlog about this in the coming week and keep you updated on what has been helping me with this and what has not worked or been hard to accomplish. 

Conclusion 

There you go – this is my burnout prevention plan. Will it work for you? You tell me! But whatever you do and however you do it be SUPER KIND TO YOURSELF because we are all in an extended state of panic and it is exhausting. If you are one of those beautifully stoic people please take some time to honor the feelings beneath that strong front. And if you are someone who has emotions flowing out of them constantly please be kind to them and let them flow. 

You are allowed to feel overwhelmed, burnout, exhausted and like you need a break. So take one…or two…or as many as you can sneak in! 

Sending you all lot’s of love!