What Rebranding Taught Me About Being Fearlessly Authentic
Two years ago when I launched Creative Brandista I knew that imagery was an important visual component of my brand and marketing myself online. So I got to work on my brand identity (logo, colors, photography, style, design).
I started working on imagery that I loved, that really spoke to my style but during this process I held myself back. I got caught up in worrying about what other people would think and I settled. While I love images with red umbrellas it was not my first choice in the imagery I felt a strong connection with and wanted to use for my brand.
As a Texas country girl I have always loved the bovine skull (cattle is a big part of our way of life in these parts) and I am obsessed with a free spirit style with an earthy bohemian vibe mixed with some hippie glam.
The bovine skull was regarded by many Native American tribes as a symbol of life-long protection from all natural elements. Today the image still represents the attributes of courage, fearlessness, agility, protection and leadership. Its an image I have always loved but I was worried. Fearful of what people would think. So I went with second best while secretly being obsessed with my bull skull adorned with roses and peonies (my favorite flower).
Until one day when I found myself on Etsy for like the 50th time obsessing over the logo I had saved at the start of my Creative Brandista journey. In that moment I finally decided enough was ENOUGH with the hypocrisy.
How can I preach from the roof tops to my tribe to be fearlessly authentic, to walk in their truth when I am holding back in my own journey?! So I had good hard long talk with myself, pulled up my big girl britches, poured a glass of Moscato and sent a message to the designer of the logo to finally bring my vision to life. It was time to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. It was time to rebrand.
Scary but very liberating.
Is there something that you are holding out on in your life and business? Something that you need to come out of the closet with in order to embrace and live your truth out loud?
While I know the Nike tagline "Just Do It" makes it sound sooooo simple I will not try to sell you on that overnight solution. If only it were THAT easy, right?. Very few people tackle a fear all in one day but here are some tips from my own journey to help you start your own process of unfolding to face your fears and be fearlessly authentic:
When I confessed to my journal and dining room table that it was time to stop holding back that was step number one. I dared to ask myself what I wanted and wrote it out with intention. There is something not only magical but also powerful about seeing your thoughts on paper.
Next I confided in a handful of close friends. People who I respect, value and trust their opinion. Women that I knew would give me their honest feedback in a loving way but at the end of the day would also support my decision without judgment. This allowed me to feel more solid in my direction and provided the courage I needed to share with more people.
A couple of more weeks went by as I worked with the graphic designer and with each revision my excitement grew. It felt good, it felt right and I was caring less and less about what anyone else thought.
The day the graphic designer sent me the final design and files, I was still feeling slightly anxious (you know, the inner critic stuff that shows up "how many people are going to unfollow me because I think a bovine skull is pretty" kind of counter productive thoughts) but I knew that I had to just face my fear and take that first step by updating my website and social media channels. I knew that I had to feel the fear and do it anyway.
I believe that people have a hard time tackling their fears because they put so much pressure on themselves to handle it like a "lady boss" all at once. They see a social media post like "are you just making excuses....." that is nothing more than a guilt trip and that buzz kill leads them to say "screw this", log off to go have a good beat-myself-up binge fest and then shut down for 2 weeks doing nothing and feeling worthless. Sound like a familiar vicious cycle? I have been there too.
Yes, its important to hold yourself accountable and to keep making steps in the right direction but at the same time you don't have to tackle it all at once or overnight.
If you have been holding back on something that keeps tugging at your gut and your soul, take that first step to journal about it. Put your inner most thoughts on paper. Be intentional. Declare it. Own it.
When that feels amazing, and I promise you it will, take that emotional high of progress and use it as motivation to take the next step. Keep peeling back your layers and share it with a close circle of friends and mentors who have your back no matter what you decide (this is not for the friends who never support you and shoot down your every move. No sense in putting yourself through that non-sense. Share with SUPPORTIVE peeps).
This should open up space for you to share it on a larger scale. Its important to keep this process flowing and not allow too much time to go by. You will no doubt fall into a deep rut of overthinking that will be hard to climb out of. Keep the process fluid by taking continuous action.
Write a blog post about your journey for example. Even if you aren't ready to publish it yet out into the world, put your thoughts down and save it as a draft. Or finish your About Me page of your blog and feel the sense of accomplishment to cross it off your list. Or share a piece of your story on social media. Your vulnerability will help and serve others while allowing you the freedom to be fearlessly YOU.
Tackle a fear that keeps nagging you, beautiful creative, and you will be stronger and wiser to face your NEXT challenge head on. xo
April Williams is the #CreativeMomista of two boys • Storyteller • Coffee Addict • Woman Warrior Of God • Texas Country Girl • Creative Expressive • A vintage soul passionate about living a simple life with a modern approach to business and branding
Do you need some loving support to help you work through your goals? Join us inside The Creative Gristmill. We would be honored to have you xo