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!

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. 

school faceless student tired

My Monkey Mind Has Taken Over

My monkey mind has taken over my life! Here’s how to identify it and how to stop it. 

Heard or experienced any of these lately? COVID brain, self-diagnosed ADHD, auto-pilot, zoning out, scattered thoughts. These responses, spacey moments or knee jerk reactions are stress responses. They are what happens when our survival instinct kicks in and our monkey mind takes control. 

Monkey Mind Defined 

Human brains are composed of three sections. They are our lizard brain, our monkey brain and our human brain.

Our lizard brains control the basic instincts, our monkey brain controls our tissue and complex things like emotions and our human brain which allows us to remove emotions from our thoughts and to think things through or practice mindfulness. This article here goes a bit more in depth if you want to dig in (it’s absolutely fascinating)! 

Our monkey mind is the part of our brain that runs the inner monologue, the part that runs wild during meditation, and it’s tied to your ego and inner critic. Monkey mind tells you that you will never be good enough, you have too much on your plate, that you need to rush rush rush and go go go. It’s important to learn how to control and quiet our monkey mind if we want to be fully present in our lives. 

Before we dig into controlling our monkey mind I want to share that our monkey and lizard brains serve a major purpose! Since our human brain is designed to analyze situations and reactions when we encounter danger or trigger our fight or flight response we rely heavily on our lizard and monkey brains to get us to safety. 

How to Spot Your Monkey Mind 

A major problem with our well working monkey mind is that when we are overwhelmed, stressed or in an extended state of being busy we default to it. Monkey mind becomes prominent when we multitask causing us to go into auto-pilot and make decisions without thinking them through. 

For example, let’s say you are stressed to the max working on a deadline, you aren’t super thrilled with your job to begin with, you’re working from home in a small apartment and your significant other comes in to ask you a question while you’re in the middle of a sentence. You are stressed, overwhelmed, grumpy and a little frustrated with the overwhelming emotions so you may respond with a default answer because you weren’t listening or snap at them for interrupting you. This is your monkey mind and it is a warning sign that you need to stop, take a break and close some of the tabs in your brain to reduce your stress levels. 

I’m anti-multitasking on important things because it is impossible for your brain to truly focus on two things at once but I double down on this stance when it comes to the truly important things like human relationships. Make time to clear your mind. 

How to Control Your Monkey Mind 

So great, you know your monkey mind is running the ship – you are on auto-pilot, not paying attention to where the car is going – now what? Here are a few ideas for you! 

Stop, take a break, take a few deep breaths and get present in your body. If you have a meditation practice try doing a mini meditation – even just a minute of meditation can help calm my monkey mind when it’s in overdrive. 

Move your body! Get up and move, go on a walk, walk around your apartment or yard, dance for a minute or just shake your arms and legs out. Moving your body helps calm down your monkey mind and helps you get present in your body. 

Write! Get the thoughts out of your brain and on paper. I find journaling SO helpful when my brain is in chaos mode. If my brain is so full of thoughts that I can’t decide what to write I’ll throw a gratitude list together and see where that takes me. Sometimes I need to exercise my thoughts, regardless of how true they are, on paper similar to moving my body. 

Do less and reduce how busy you are! I know, this is the hard one! If you have the privilege and capacity to work smarter not harder – do it. Reduce the extra work in your life, limit the emotional labor you do for free, protect your energy and take the extra time to fill your own cup with self-care (the real kind not the marketing face mask kind). 

Remember: Being Busy Is Not Cool! 

Hope this helps! I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about your monkey mind and I hope this encourages you to rest your brain and your body. 

Need help making a plan to work smarter and not harder? Sign up for a FREE coaching consultation so we can look at your schedule together! 

Want to find a job that lets you work less and enjoy your life more? Sign up for a FREE coaching consultation so we can find your dream job. 

No idea where to start? Overwhelmed? Need help calming that monkey mind? Sign up for a FREE coaching consultation or check out my Etsy for my self-paced programs. 

Sending you all lot’s of love and rest! 

**This blog is not meant to replace mental or physical health advice from your physician. Please work with a licensed professional when it comes to your health.

professionalism

Professionalism is BS

Professionalism.. doesn’t that word feel like bs? If you follow me on TikTok, Facebook or Instagram you may have already seen a little sneak peak on this subject. I’m not a huge fan of “professionalism” and how it is used against us.

By definition professionalism is the competence or skill expected of a professional, but what does that look like? 

My Professional Experience 

In my “professional” career I’ve found professionalism to be bs. Technically I’m a professional in Human Resources. I have a PHR certification that I paid a stupid amount of money to prep for & take a test on. Sure, I was REALLY good at what I did but it’s not because I had that certification – it’s because I loved the idea behind what I did. I loved my mission. I wanted to help people and my career was a way that I could do that. I left HR when it no longer resonated with me. I refused to return to HR because I didn’t want to work directly for corporations anymore – I wanted to work for people. And now, that’s what I do. And I LOVE what I do.

Now I get to use my “professional” skills to help people scratch that itch that there might be something more to life. I help people realize their full potential. I help people grow into who THEY want to be – not who they’re expected to be. So sure my professional experience helps me but if we are being honest I’m good at what I do because it aligns with me AND it aligns with me from my home, in my unprofessional oversized sweaters and shorts. 

But I’ve had it easy when it comes to professionalism. Even if I wore “unconventional” clothing to the office I was still a small, white, cis woman which gave me immense privilege in the workplace. Professionalism is a much deeper subject when we look at it from an intersectional feminist perspective. 

Professional Dress: Sexist and Racist

Our current definition of professionalism is layered with sexism and racism. While the definition on paper does not depict a specific attire or aesthetic most of us have experienced the biased societal definition of a professional needing to wear formal western clothing with specific hairstyles. 

For women this dress code is exceptionally oppressive and can often require skirts and tights or heels. It requires women to change how they appear normally for the comfort of their employer. Professional or business wear can require women to wear neutral nail polish, slick back hair, neutral clothing, less makeup for a “natural” look or some makeup to look “fresh faced”. Think Hillary Clinton style pant suits but only in neutral colors (so an absolute bore). Women cannot wear baggy or tight clothing if they want to look “professional” and they must maintain a cheery and positive demeanor for fear of coming off as too much. *cough bs cough* 

For the Black community the definition of “professional” wear becomes even more oppressive. Many organizations do not support Black employees wearing their hair in protective or natural styles – such styles such as locs have even been referred to as unprofessional by employers. This is racist. It’s a problem in the professional world and employers are given immense amounts of freedom to design their dress codes in a way that discriminates. 

Employer dress codes and professional appearances were created because employers want employees to “represent the company” but by doing this they are forcing employees to stop representing themselves and their cultures.

Professionalism in Action 

To drive the point further, even when employers create appropriate and respectful dress codes this does not prevent the discrimination employees face internally. Minorities in the workplace often face discrimination based on how they dress, how they present themselves and how they wear their hair and makeup. For POC this continues into comments on diet choices (cultural food being accused of stinking up the break room), asking BIPOC to code switch or stop using AAVE (African American Vernacular English) or participating in the tokenism of POC to show that they are a culture of inclusivity. 

Conclusion 

I believe that you should get to decide what your professional life looks like. I believe that it is bs that companies get to decide dress codes and determine professionalism based on what makes their white male leadership comfortable. I want people to get to decide how what they do everyday aligns with who they want to be. I help my clients find and work for companies (or themselves) in a way that aligns with their values and honors their authenticity without tokenism or discrimination. Ready to take the first step on reclaiming professionalism? dm me about coaching. Let’s make you happy with what you do!

Toxic positivity

Toxic Positivity in the Professional World (Honest AF)

First off, I think the term “professional” is bullshit but it was the most applicable for this post (want to see more about this? Follow my ig or facebook page). Regardless of my views on professionalism, we live under capitalism so we function and support our living with our professions. Toxic positivity is a great marketing tool, a powerful way to get internal employee buy in and having a good attitude is valued in the professional world. I believe it’s only fair, as your life and career coach, to dig into how corporations, MLMs, coaches (yes, even my own industry) and SO MANY OTHERS use toxic positivity to gaslight people. 

Let’s jump in! 

Corporations (the “professional” world)

Efficiency is the name of the game in capitalism. At some point a study was put out that happiness was essential to employee productivity so in an effort to increase productivity companies began manufacturing happiness. The problem with manufactured happiness or toxic positivity in the workplace is that it represses negative experiences instead of embracing and fixing them. 

Creating an authentically positive culture sounds great but I’ve yet to experience one that could last. The problem usually is that leadership and employees cling SO HARD to the positive outlook that they completely ignore or reject any negativity – creating an inauthentic culture.

From my time in HR and the countless webinars, conferences and conversations I had I think it is obvious that employees do not want manufactured or forced happiness they just want to be heard, have their ideas considered and to be treated like people. Employees want authenticity not positivity. They would rather have a voice in change than be told to be “happy” about what they do. This means that corporations that are “good vibes only” need to start listening to their employees and honoring their ideas.

Other places toxic positivity can come up in the workplace include: 

  • Promotion conversations. Have you ever been told that a promotion is within your reach if you follow a specific blueprint or plan only to follow along and not get the promotion? Were you given the encouragement to “just work harder” and the promotion would be yours?
  • Watercooler chats. Have you been reprimanded for complaining about how things were going or asked to have a “positive outlook” on a situation that does not look or feel positive to you? That’s toxic positivity in action. The purpose of this conversation may have been to intimidate you back into your rose colored glasses. 
  • Have you brought up an issue only to be told to be more optimistic or have it brushed under the rug? This is toxic positivity! It invalidates your experience, thoughts and feelings and tells you that you need to only focus on the good. 

There are so many more examples of where this comes up in the workplace and it sucks! My rule of thumb with this is to try to help my clients find and apply for companies that are honest about their wins and losses, companies that allow their employees to show up as a full human with a full range of emotions and if they end up at a company that gaslights them I empower them to gtfo. 

**Yes, before it comes up positive thinking is a powerful tool but allowing the negatives in is important too. Positivity is like sugar – too much may lead to a stomach ache but don’t overdo it on negativity either. It’s all about being realistic, balanced and finding a middle ground that vibes with you! 

MLMs

Now onto the low hanging fruit! If you’re questioning how I feel about MLMs, network marketing or whatever other inverted funnel system you would like to call it take a look at this blog. In summary, I am not a fan. 

Toxic positivity is used to gaslight people into continuing to invest in their pyramid scheme. How? A few examples below: 

  • Toxic positivity can be used to oversimplify things “Hey girly! You just need to recruit 7 of your bossbabe friends to join us and you’ll make ALL your money back AND more!” 
  • Toxic positivity is used to keep people from quitting when they begin to see losses. Saying things like “If you work hard you’ll make your money back!” or “you’ve already invested this much time, why would you quit now?” to convince them that success is always JUST around the corner. 

Am I saying every person in an MLM is an evil monster and intentionally doing this? Absolutely not. But what I am saying is that toxic positivity is ingrained in the culture of this industry! 

Coaching 

The coaching industry can be similar to MLMs. There are a LOT of coaches out there that don’t really care about your success – there are ALSO a lot of wonderful coaches who truly want to help people. So how can you tell the difference? Try to figure out how they feel about real human emotions. I do this by looking for blatant toxic positivity in their content. 

  • For me, it’s ok if they occasionally post content that plays into toxic positivity (I’ve done and said things that fit in this category under the ignorant guise of motivation) but if they react negatively to you calling that content out they probably aren’t the perfect coach for you. 
  • Another way to look into this is to identify if they repress or accept negative emotions. Do they only post about the positives or do they talk about the hard work it takes to make change? The realistic timeline of how long the process will take? Are they selling something that feels “too good to be true”? If so, really evaluate their content and make sure you aren’t getting conned. 
  • Red Flag warning: If they say things like “only focus on the positives” or “invest in you even if it doesn’t make sense” 
    • These are on the nose toxic positivity and sales tactics. The first one is classic toxic positivity. It’s like the meme of the dog in the burning building. You cannot IGNORE the negatives to make them go away. Think of your triggers and feelings like a mosquito in your bedroom. You cannot ignore it away. You either kill it, lose your mind or open a window and pray it leaves. You have to take action, usually, if you want it to go. 
    • The second one is garbage. Asking someone to invest in themselves – even when it doesn’t make sense makes absolutely 0 sense! (I know this because I have fallen for this line). The whole sentence is nonsense and I see it EVERYWHERE. The honest and less sexy version should be “investing in yourself makes sense if you want to grow quickly and you have the financial stability to invest” but in the end the choice is up to you. YOU CAN STILL GROW WITHOUT SPENDING MONEY – it just depends on who you are, what resources you can access and how you learn. 

My “Professional” Opinion

As a coach OF COURSE I want people to buy what I’m selling but I never want people to feel dependent on me to make change or that my 1×1’s or programs are their only options. Your change comes from within you – it’s all about how you work on yourself and what works for you. You do not NEED me to make change in your life, in fact even if you hire me you still have to do the work, I just help make things easier and more manageable! I’m here to help and I promise not to lie to you – even if the lie would be good for my sales!