Until quite recently, it was the same old story. I’d go somewhere, meet new people, and that classic question would inevitably come up outta somewhere:
So, Alex, what do you do?
Here it is! My golden opportunity to introduce myself as the boss Squarespace website designer that I’m working day in and day out to be! My hopes and dreams and all the things that set my little heart on fire! Here we go, here it comes…
“Oh, I teach English as an assistant teacher in a French high school.”
Wait a second, wait. No… No, that wasn’t right, was it? We missed something there.
And by then, the conversation has already moved full speed ahead and to jump back to that topic would be just a little weird now.
End inner dialogue. Also, not sure we even have to mention the fact that I literally can’t remember anyone’s name from that little conversation because I was so busy in my head trying to figure out why I didn’t show up as the person I am, and more importantly, as the person I’m working to be.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Deep down, we know who we are and we know what sets our beautiful hearts and souls on fire. But why do we settle for giving those around us the “societally-acceptable” versions of ourselves. The versions that say “yes, I’m a responsible person and have a ‘normal’ job despite the fact that I’m working my arse off every other waking hour of my life trying to build something I’m 10,000% more passionate about!”
Why do we feel nervous to show up confidently, beautifully, UNDENIABLY as our true selves?
I’ve only recently started mentioning my Squarespace website design business, Alex Morton Creative, as my main entrance point when asked what I do or what I’m all about. Sure, I still work as an English teacher, but I treat that job as something that’s in the background of what sets my heart aflame – which is building a profitable, sustainable, and location-independent business all on my own.
That’s the kind of stuff I wake up for in the morning.
So, why wouldn’t that be what I open the Alex Morton show with during any given conversation?!
We need to start showing up as ourselves – our TRUE selves and the selves we already look up to. The selves we know we’ll become as long as we keep at those little, consistent professional actions for our businesses and passions.
Here are a couple of actionable items that have personally helped me to break out of my own limiting, insecure frame of mind and into a more confident, this-is-ME mentality:
1 | Set your intentions – weekly, daily, or simply whenever you feel yourself straying back into no-woman’s-land.
A few months ago, I made it a non-negotiable for me to wake up in the morning and, no matter what, journal for around a half hour. I do this to clear my head, especially in preparation for the day ahead. If I don’t have my daily journal-session, I’m running around like wild and feeling like I’m trying to chase my to-do list instead of easily strolling along and pleasantly checking off each action item.
I’d much prefer jotting down a couple of thoughts and then setting up a list of clear actionable items that I need to complete during the day. As a general rule, I only list about 3 of these actionable items. Otherwise, I’m caught up in the unforgiving to-do list grind – you know how that goes!
2 | Get comfortable talking about yourself and what you do each and every time you meet someone new.
We all know the story. You know you want to start talking about your great professional self as it pertains to what you’re passionate about, but where do we begin? It always just seems easiest to fall back into our old stories – the ones that don’t include what we’re most excited about.
The quickest way to get over this is to, as Nike says, just do it. Next time you find yourself in an introductory or “what’s new with you” situation, just do it – just come out and tell them what’s actually new with you and your business. See how you feel doing it – hesitant, nervous, excited? Hey-that-was-easier-than-I-thought? And then keep doing it until you’re never not doing it.
3 | Don’t underestimate the power of meditation and visualization.
This point goes back a bit to the whole journaling bonanza of my first actionable item. Not only have I gotten into the non-negotiable of my daily morning journaling, but it’s usually followed up with at least ten minutes of meditation.
I say “at least” because sometimes I’m feeling like a crazy little daredevil and end up pushing through to twelve minutes. Wild, right?
Meditation is simple, but it can be incredibly difficult when you’re not accustomed to sitting and doing nothing but breathing for a little stretch of time. I promise you, if you stick with it, it gets easier and becomes an invaluable part of your own routine. I don’t know what it is, but it just makes your day better, and it connects you to some sort of deeper self that leaves you feelin’ overall more grounded. The perfect solution for wanting to feel more confident showing up as your true self!
4 | Know (and practice!) your elevator speech!
Yes, it’s time to break out the mirror (but be careful to not actually break it – something about bad luck, which we’re specifically not going for at this moment in time). If someone were to come up to you right now out of absolute thin air and ask what you do – how would you respond?
Try it, why don’t you? How do you sound to yourself?
Uncertain, hesitant? wait-what-do-I-do-again?!
Practice. Go to your nearest mirror (or reflecting pool, if that better suits you) and tell yourself what you do and who you are. Your ears need to get accustomed to hearing it just as much as your mouth needs to get used to saying it before your brain really starts to believe it. So get to steppin’ and start chatting to yourself in the mirror!
5 | Drink water.
To be honest, I’m not sure why I added this one, but as I was going down my list of actionable items to start showing up as yourself – the thought of water and drinking enough kept coming to me so I figured WHY NOT ADD IT.
Because we all know we ain’t drinkin’ enough water up in here. Stay hydrated, have glowing skin, and show up as your beautiful, impressive, wonderful self.
To conclude all of this showing-up craziness, when someone asks you what you do or what you’re all about, simply tell them. Don’t sugar-coat it to make it more acceptable or easier for people to swallow. If you’ve been lucky enough to find something you can’t wait to wake up for in the morning (regardless of whether or not it makes you money), by all means shout it from the rooftops.
You’ve just discovered a burning passion for juggling? Amazing.
You’re really, really into learning how to create email marketing sequences (bless you!) and you’re thinking of turning it into something that might help emerging entrepreneurs and business owners? Perfect.
Be proud of what you’re interested in and passionate about, and don’t be nervous to let people know.
I really think we could use more people like that in this world. People who prove that it’s OK to not be everything for everyone and to not be ashamed of what they love to do even if it’s outside of the (dreaded, and oftentimes boring) expectation. Let’s make life a little more interesting, shall we?
Be different, show up as your best self.
What a concept, huh?!