Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lessons :: Your First Step to Living Loudly

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With so many pressures to look, act and be a certain way, it’s easy for who we really are to get lost in the mix. Unless you’ve lived in a bubble your entire life, you’ve been exposed to all kinds of societal stimuli. You’ve received plenty of subliminal or obvious pointers from friends, family, colleagues and coworkers, people you’ve dated -- not to mention TV, radio, and the good ol’ internet.

When I worked in sales –- which I did, for a very long time –- I always felt as if I was playing a character, or rather, a caricature of myself. I was still displaying parts of me, but they were exaggerated, and other parts were being hidden. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes that’s required. If you work at a clothing store and you’re having a bad day, you can’t go around being a bitch and flinging shirts at customers. Well, you could, but you’d probably be fired, and I’m not telling you to do all that (though, if your dream is to get out of retail, it may be good for you).

But sometimes, we are so used to putting our game faces on for work –- or for a party or a gig or the grocery store or wherever else you feel you can’t or shouldn’t be vulnerable –- that we lose sight of our original dreams, goals, and personalities. It’s easy for Shopgirl Barbie to blend with the real you until you don’t know who’s who.

And you can’t follow your dreams when you no longer know what they are.

Whenever I lose sight of myself, I think about who I was when I was a little girl. That may sound silly, because we are constantly evolving, but the basic structure of Stephanie Shar never changed.

For example, when I was seven, I liked purple. I liked Disney. I liked wearing cute outfits, and I liked taking pictures. I wrote in a journal, I wrote stories, and I wanted to be a world-famous author one day. Twenty years later, these things haven’t changed.

What about you? What did you like? What did you want? Why aren’t you doing those things now? If you can’t remember your kid self, flip through old diaries or photos. Pull out your VHS player and pop in a home video. What do you see?

If it’s difficult to remember those days (maybe you suffered a traumatic childhood, and for that I’m sorry) think about what you like to do in your quiet moments alone. Do you read, draw, paint, sing, play video games? What is it that makes you most happy, and what’s stopping you from turning that into your career? If you’re not being paid to live your dreams, that’s a big problem, and it’s all too common in today’s corporate-focused world.

Being yourself isn’t just about your work life. If you’re not being genuine with your parents and siblings, friends and roommates, significant other or potential dates, you won’t be happy and you won’t achieve your dreams. Plain and simple. When you portray a false persona –- whether or not you do it on purpose -– you don’t attract the right people. You don’t make the right connections and therefore don’t expand your network (which you’ll need professionally) or build your support system (which you’ll need personally along this journey). Like attracts like.

Iin order to be successful, inspiring, and authentic, you need to surround yourself with those types of people. And in order to attract those people, you need to have those traits yourself. It all comes around full circle.

This is when you’ll learn who your true friends are, because this is when the fake ones will begin to drop off. And, trust me, as painful as it is, it’s awesome. You don’t need them for where you’re going.

This is an excerpt from chapter one of my 25-page e-book, 7 Steps to Living Loudly. Each section ends with a journaling prompt to keep you engaged. Normally it sells for $20, but you can get your copy half off until the end of the year! See reviews and FAQ here, and purchase it in my shop here!
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