Be inconsistently "normal," but consistently you.

2 Birds 3 Legs

I’ve been talking about authenticity all week. Here’s something I wrote on January 30, 2011 that kicked off this series.

This post is personal; a manifesto, of sorts. It isn’t specifically about business and isn’t aimed to make you money, but I hope you read it and take something from it that will help you in your life and maybe in your business.

I’ve been fighting a battle for a few months now. Really, for years.

An internal battle. Trust me, those are the worse kinds of battles.

Several months ago, when I was starting my business, I struggled between showing my personality or being corporate and overly professional.

It’s something I’ve always struggled with.

I never felt quite corporate enough when working for a corporate technology firm with my Target jewelry and unstraightened hair and sometimes I felt too stuffy in more familial environments with my weird, zany ideas of making things like “calendars,” “goals” and “action plans.”

When I started Creativity Loft, I didn’t know if I should say “we” or “I” when I talked about my company.

“We” felt professional, but false.

“I” felt…exposed.

But it was more than just jargon.

My true battle was over whether or not to show myself to the world.

Especially when certain people in my life only get a certain piece of the “Tivi equation.” How would they respond when they saw a different side of me? Or the whole package? One that’s certainly flawed and riddled with inconsistencies.

I’m so many things to lots a people and I often don’t know how to present my different sides without feeling like I am betraying another part of me.

I’m a wife, a daughter, a client, a friend, a mentor, whatever. And sometimes these things conflict, which would send my simple little mind into (robot voice) “cannot compute” mode.

I was afraid if I showed my true, conflicted, but whole self to the world, no one would like it.

Insecurities, “unsurities” (I know that’s not a word, but screw it, I like it better than “doubts”) and fear are a part of life (and business) and sometimes they can really mess with your head.

Yes, I can be very corporate and professional, but I also curse like an f’n sailor and am known to make crude gestures.

Yes, I like to inspire people, I LOVE Oprah, but I also like to tell you when you’re being a loser.

Yes, I love productivity, results and making money doing what I love. I also like sitting on my butt watching 30 Rock, or spending massive amounts of time daydreaming when I KNOW I should be working.

Yes, I’m black *gasp,* but I usually avoid Tyler Perry movies and love John Mayer songs, despite the fact that he used the N-word in an interview. BTW, Johnny: not cool, but if I still like Kanye West after all the stupid shit he says… *shrug*

Yes, I complain about how violent cartoons are, how over-sexed toys for young girls are, but I also laugh my head off when my male friends make inappropriate penis jokes. Yes, I did just say penis on my blog.

Yes, I’m 26. And I’m probably young enough to be your kid. Yeah, me and Mark Zuckerberg.

I realize now that I can’t be everything to everyone.

I can’t. And I don’t want to be.

I just want to be me.

Tivi – the chick who loves digital analytics, web coding, social media, marketing jargon and business magazines, but also loves reading and writing romance novels and making bad jokes. Well, I don’t love bad jokes, but I’ve learned to like them, at least, since I make so many.

Tivi – The chick who loves parenting magazines and can’t wait to be a mother, but who also hides her stashes of candy from her nephews so they won’t see her delicious Dove almond dark chocolate promises and ask to have some. Those things are like $3 a bag and I don’t want to share, damnit!

I have to choose to be me over everything else.

It’s kind of the point of my business. Inspiring people to turn their passions into profit. Inspiring people to be themselves, in order to have happier, more fulfilling lives.

Ha! I’m just getting that!

Those who can, do. Those who can’t…well…nevermind.

My point is, from this day forward, I choose to let my personality shine through. Tell my story, the way I want to tell it.

It’ll take time to let go of all my nasty little insecure habits, but I choose to actively work at letting my personality shine through wherever I am.

I choose to be me.

And I’m not just writing all this to purge what I’m feeling, although, its damn therapeutic.

I’m writing this for you too.

If you’ve ever been at the point in your life when the different sides of your personality conflict, or you find that you’re living a life that isn’t really your own and you’re too afraid of what others may think to change it.

If you’re stuck in a mold that you didn’t even make for yourself.

Think about it. Do people close to you really know you? Do you really know yourself?

I don’t have it all figured out, but I acknowledge that I’m a complicated human being and that’s what makes me unique.

I’m an often polite, Christian, southern belle, who will probably threaten to slap you if you razz me, or flip you the bird if you piss me off.

I’m a digital media, Harry Potter-loving geek who loves fashion, home decorating and knows way too much about hairweave.

I’m a woman who cries during sappy movies, or while watching the news, but loves to play football in the mud and misses the days when I was just “one of the boys” with my brothers.

I’m a journalism school graduate who can’t spell or spell-check to save her life. “I before E, except after–Screw it! Where’s my dikshunery?”

I’m a small business owner who wants to give you timeless kick-in-the-pants advice to inspire not just your business, but your life, while using soon-to-be dated references to Vampire Diaries and Snoop Dogg.

I’m inconsistently normal, but consistently me.

Like it or leave it.

I can’t fit neatly into any mold. And I’m not trying to any more.

Unless it’s a “Tivi mold” because then, well, I’d probably fit.

{image credit: 2 Birds 3 Legs by NeitherFanboy, on Flickr}

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for exposing yourself, Tivi! I love how real your blog is, and have taken a lot of your suggestions and inspirations to heart (and passed them on to others). Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself today and every day!

    From a hockey loving, chocolate eating, swearing-under-her-breath, band mom and romance writer,

    Robin
    Author of Whirlwind
    http://robindejarnett.com

  2. You’re BLACK! What the hell, Tivi. How could you keep this from me? And you like John Mayer with his white supremacist penis. *shaking head*

    You are an awesome and awe-inspiring woman for taking the bull by the horns and starting your own business!

    So glad that we get to hang out together once a month!

    Marquita

  3. Oh my lord. Get out of my head!! You snuck in there, took all my recent thoughts & worries, and wrote them down for the world to see! ACK!

    Seriously, though, thank you SO much for voicing all of this. I am starting my own business and have been going round & round in my own head about how much of “me” to show, the we vs. I language on my site (“if I say ‘I’ then will I look like some loser chick who’s only pretending to be a business because she’s only one person?”), fears that no one will like/buy my stuff and I’ll end up eating out of garbage cans, and yadda yadda yadda.

    And I also have such a range of likes/interests that I’m constantly afraid that if those friends over there knew about this over here, they’d no longer be friends, and the same with those friends over there, and so on. (And I also curse like a sailor and have been known to make rude gestures, esp when driving, although I’m working on that. I hide this side of me from most people.)

    Can I just say how glad I feel to know I’m not the only one struggling with this?? And how glad I am that you wrote it down?

    Thank you, thank you. I can’t wait to read the rest of your site. 🙂

  4. this was so funny and insightful, and did i say funny. I just discovered this blog, and I thought wow…how did she know what I’ve been thinking for years?! Who is this wise-cracking lady? Love it…. and I do swear a lot too…..it relieves tension…I shall be diligently reading this instead of concentrating on law school and my business….LOL…good work, keep it up

  5. This post definitely hit home. I too have a small business, less than a year old and often struggle with feeling as though I should present myself as bigger and more established than I am. (I however do have a business partner so I can use “we” and mean it.) But recently I decided when introducing myself and the business to new people, I don’t try to dance around how new we are, I just say it and see what they do with it. A bit to my surprise I’ve found people respond even more positively. Some offer to help in anyway they can by making connections or spreading the word. Prospective clients, I coach artists venturing into business for themselves, seem to see someone they can relate to, who “get’s it” and isn’t well beyond the struggles they’re having.

    Anyway, here’s to letting you shine through and making you a better business owner.

  6. Loved, loved, loved this post. You completely summarized the feelings, the unsurities ( I like that word too–and it is more accurate than “doubts”) that assail and confuse me anytime I try to think about self-promotion, branding, and all that stuff an author is supposed to do–in addition to writing.

    It’s a relief to know that someone who actually knows this promotion stuff can share my feelings.

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