Month: October 2016

Why you need to be a stripper*

Right now, I am removing about 50% of the beautiful clothes in my wardrobe. Because, paradoxically, it creates more beauty.

The world needs more beauty. it needs more acts of beauty. From an ethical and aesthetic point of view (not to mention a personal and professional one), pursuing the truth of your identity and then expressing the image you arrive at is an act of beauty. {Identity + image = personal brand.}

I don’t believe beautiful personal brands can be externally created. It starts with what’s inside. The internal is always written on the external, anyway – so you might as well accept this fact.

Not only do I hold this strong opinion. I also know for a fact that personal branding is not about adding things. It was, is and shall forevermore be about REMOVING.

We are all, like it or not, generally walking around as unconscious constructs of our external environment. What we have dressed ourselves in are other’s opinions, expectations, conventions, traditions, habits, demands, desires etc. Forgetting our own in the process.

To create a beautiful personal brand, you must let go. You must become a stripper. You must remove.

So, going back to my first point – I realised that I have been somewhat hypocritical in advising my clients of this, when right in front of me was a wardrobe heaving with the fabric version of me from days gone by… Sydney, circa 2004, when I had a very high-profile glamorous job and was paid to be very badly behaved (which was great, since I would have been badly behave for free). Despite hardly ever wearing the clothes now, I am sentimental for that time, and the person I believe I was… the clothes represent the me from then, and I know the enduring fear of letting go of them comes from the fear of having to say, “So, who the hell am I if not that person?” The fear of being boring. The fear of having no identity,

Of course, the more you fear to let go of something, the more important is is for you to let go of it.

So, it’s time to strip away yet more of me.

* I was, in actual fact, an ACTUAL stripper – for 5 years or so – in Sydney. Stripping put me through uni, allowing me to make good money in the dark hours while I devoted every daylight hour to a double-degree alongside working as an intern (for free) at Marie Claire… waiting to land my first poorly paid yet precious magazine job. I didn’t have the wealthy parents to support me while I pursued this career, and, as someone who loved dancing, seduction, men and money, I had secretly always wanted to be a stripper (as a 7-year-old, I’d wanted to be Mata Hari… ). I’d still love to be a stripper now. In fact, I did my final university thesis on the male gaze, and the intersection between the nude and the naked – with my strip club as the test case.

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Personal branding 101: Dissent

“To be like others is a bore… Even as a child I wanted to be distinct, to be different, to be adored…” – Frida Kahlo

Your dissent is your power.

What makes you different (where your identity dissents from the herd) makes you distinct in the eyes of others. It’s also the hardest thing to identify, pursue and stay true to. We’re coached from a young age to conform. But the world will only be shaped and changed by those who challenge the status quo through their own dissenting beliefs, and who know how to express, communicate and implement this difference.

You can’t, of course, be the next Frida Kahlo. There will only ever be one Frida Kahlo. And that’s the point. If you want to attain the same status, you must learn from her unapologetic pursuit of her own dissent/difference/distinctiveness – an unyielding, all-consuming, selflessly selfish pursuit that created a true Heroine – in a way that no conventional personal branding work could ever do (this is very important: it’s no small point that Frida hasn’t rocked the world because of her logo, or tagline, or etc etc etc…).

The world needs more women like Frida, women who are willing to dissent and be role models for those other women who are dying to also be different but are feeling the pressure to conform. To be it, first you must see it.

Frida wanted to make the world fall head over heels in love with her. You can do the same. But in order to make yourself proud and to inspire others with your dissent – you must first come to know what makes you different.

In order to make yourself proud and to inspire others with your dissent – you must first come to know what makes you different.

This is where your highest value is found – to yourself and to others – and it’s also how you will be able to sidestep convention and effortlessly operate in this space of highest value. This looks and feels VERY different from the traditional status and success you are currently experiencing, but is infinitely more powerful and persuasive.

It is simple, yet not easy. And an exciting, altered reality awaits those who take on the uncomfortable (and often lonely) challenge of pursuing their Heroine identity.

A Heroine Vision Session is the first step to your own unconventional truth (and dissenting personal brand) – where you can talk with someone who gets you, and gets what you want. By application only.

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Only fearless women have real personal brands

There is much written on how to ‘create’ a personal brand.

Thing is, you can’t. Not an authentic one, anyway. Personal branding isn’t a shiny new logo, website or tagline. That’s decoration. And a true personal brand can’t be copied from others, or constructed from thin air.

Think of the most memorable women you know, real or imagined, living or dead. Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Frida Kahlo… The fact you know of them means they have a personal brand. And chances are, the women who spring into your mind, not one of them has a personal brand that was created by a marketing company, ad agency or branding specialist. They have a personal brand because they unapologetically, single-mindedly pursued their own path.

Personal branding is the journey of defining yourself, professionally and personally, in order to leave an impression in the hearts and minds of others.

What most people don’t realise, is that this definition – a true personal brand – only arises through letting go. (Conversely, learning to let go can be attained through the process of personal branding.) What I mean by this, is that you can only be ‘defined’ in the eyes of yourself or others when you remove and release the noise and clutter around you. You must let go of anything that is copied, constructed or contrived from the world around you in order to attain true clarity, courage, conviction, confidence…

A principle of Taoism, letting go is one of the hardest and most rewarding things for humans to do. Want true serenity, power, focus and freedom? Let go.

Like all hard, rewarding things in this world, letting go takes ongoing practice… Whether it’s the clothes in your wardrobe that represent another time and now make you feel trapped, or your need to control a situation because you fear uncertainty and chaos, change and growth can only happen when you make space for them by letting go. Your personal brand is no different.

The concept of letting go has been looming large in my life – and the lives of my clients – lately. Ruthless ‘removal, refusal and restriction’ are the tenets I teach to my female clients in order for them to reach and retain the burning clear brand that is inside them (this is important to note: your personal brand is only to be found inside you; it is never an external creation).

One thing that happens as a result of this letting go is that your world becomes much smaller. When you no longer tolerate the unnecessary, and you are unapologetic and open about this (when you own it, and own up to it, and then model it for others), things drop away – people, places, projects, distractions, social conventions and expectations… This is scary for most people (particularly as it seems counter-intuitive to brand-building, and as you will get push-back from those around you who are challenged by your focus). But if you are brave and persist through this scariness, the reward is that your world goes on to become much, much larger. Your inner clarity, courage and conviction (your personal brand) becomes so laser sharp that a multitude of new external possibilities and opportunities arises for you. This is why only the most fearless women will have a personal brand that means anything in our over-stuffed world.

Letting go is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done – personally and professionally – and I have to work on it, each and every day. But I know with utter conviction that is is the only way to approach this journey of defining myself.

Letting go is the ONLY concept you need to master if you want a personal brand that is enduring and authentic. Your personal brand will emerge when you let go of everything that is no longer you, and no longer serves you (identity), your work (calling) and your end game (desires).

 

 

 

 

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