Growing up, we only want to go with the flow of the crowd and fit in with our peers around us. As I get older, I wish that wasn’t the case because diversity and different is what truly makes out society thrive, and I love the feeling of being unique outside what everyone else around me is doing. Sure, I could easily do the jeans and white t-shirt thing, but I opt to express myself through my looks and wear bolder patterns, unique combinations and even a little bit of retro and classic styles. To be honest, starting this blog was a huge reason I began to lean into different. I didn’t want to show my audience the same clothes as others online, the same products and the same advice, and it really took time for me to find the “me” I wanted to share. As a result, it really has inspired me to live my truth more openly and share my life with less of a cover over it. Now that I’ve been able to become my unique, different, authentic self, I want to share with you how to better embrace different and lean into the authentic you.
This is a big one. How many times a day do you say to yourself “I just don’t have the time for something”. Do you really not have time or are you not prioritizing it and willing to make the time? Marie Forleo is an amazing author and speaker of “Everything is Figuroutable” and she talks a lot about how we use excuses over taking responsibility. If you want to learn Italian but “don’t have time,” it’s probably because you’d rather binge watch a show than learn on your language app, and that’s OK, but don’t blame the universe for your conscious decision. This was a huge step for me because as a new mom, entrepreneur and full-time business woman, it’s so easy for me to say I don’t have time or energy for something, but most of the time, it’s my conscious decision to not prioritize that decision over other things I WANT to do in the moment. You don’t need to feel guilt or embarrassment for feeling this way and taking responsibility, but from personal experience, it has helped me to really live my truth, be more productive and be more honest with what I want going forward, which is something my friends and family aren’t used to. I now show the good, the bad and the just plain embarrassing because we all go through it, so why hide it, and why try to be this more perfect alternate reality of myself.
It’s OK to take inspiration for your look from others, but take time to really figure out your on visual style. Add your touch of pizzazz to your look, even if it’s not what the “standard” is. I work in the hospitality industry, and boring two piece suits are the norm. When I first started here, that’s all I knew, but as time went on, I started to wear bolder pieces, like high waisted pants and baggier linen tops, ditching the traditional silk shirt and blazer. Then, people started to notice and focus more on the work I was putting out because it was equally as unique and bold as I am, which made it easy to gain respect from management for what previously would have been viewed as risky decisions. Look at those you admire – what about their style draws you to them and what pieces could you take away that you want to embrace. For me, I love edgier looks – typically bolder colors, patterns or combinations, and I took that inspiration when I went shopping to find pieces that fit my look. I didn’t copycat the exact pieces each one wore, but did my best to emulate and mold my own personal look.
I talked a little bit about this already, but living your truth is the best way to set yourself apart. I think too many of us have things to hide, and that has caused such a mental health issue in our communities because people feel pressure ot live up to this perfectionist lifestyle. When I started to be honest self, through everything good and bad endured, I started to notice people being more relatable to me and bonding. I was always a very closed off individual because it’s less exhausting to be closed off than it is to wear this cover and be extroverted, but as I’ve started to live my truth more and stand out in a crowd for my honesty and transparency, I’ve seen greater conversation and bonds with family and friends who now equally can’t hide behind their covers. The more we live our truths, the more we inspire change in our community and see the diversity between each of us.
Never sacrifice who you are for anything. Whether it’s you style, personality, emotions, mental stability – nothing. Authenticity is the foundation for different and to stand out in the crowd, you can’t blend in to what others tell you is what you should or shouldn’t be. As you be you authentic self, you may see actions or thoughts that you feel like aren’t the greatest that your old self would have suppressed, but this is your opportunity to be a better you. The only way to improve yourself is by being yourself and seeing the truth you put into the world. Be yourself and always alter yourself for who you want to be, not what others tell you to be.
Learn to speak up when you should or want to. We all have thoughts that we know are not the right time and place to speak, but learn what your voice is and how to assert your voice in all kinds of settings. Early in my career, I was a hard worker, but often timid in meetings. My constant feedback on my annual reviews was introversion (which is absolutely NOT a negative in my book), but for the goals I had in my career and life, my management team saw that it wasn’t going to be a benefit from me. As I became more confident in my role and career, I became more vocal about my input and opinions in projects and meetings, and offering more support and ideas to the team resulting in better results. When you find your voice and confident in speaking, both personally and professionally, people form more authentic opinions of you and you find you niche in that sphere. Give people the opportunity to know you for what you can do and use your authentic voice.