I’m a complex person and I’ve played a lot of different roles in my life: Bad-Ass Night Club Bouncer, Rocking Reggae Promoter, Kick-Ass Cook, Server in the Hottest Joint in Town, Mistress of the Underground Party Scene, Candy-Flipping Party Girl Extraordinaire, Manager Extraordinaire, Behavior Modification Wizard and Caretaker to some very special folks.
All of these personas had a distinct uniform and personality and only allowed me to express a small fraction of who I am as an individual. I would put a different persona on depending on what I was doing. As a result, I found myself compartmentalizing the different aspect of my personality in order to fit into the culture of my environment. It was exhausting!
Have you ever found yourself doing that?
When I was being the Server in the Hottest Joint in Town, I had to wear my hair a certain way and maintain my appearance in the way that suited my employer. No piercings, no funky hair color. I lived by their schedule not mine. I had to watch what I said and couldn’t freely talk about my alter-egos; Mistress of the Underground Party Scene and Candy Flipping Party Girl. When I did, the people I worked with thought I was too freaky, or they buddied up to me and wanted me to be their access point into the mysterious underground world I was privy to.
I talked to my family about my work life, but barely breezed over my social life. They didn’t understand or want to hear about it.
I had my chosen family of fun, freaky friends who I could be ME with, but my work and family life was totally separate.
I felt like I was living 3 different lives all with separate personas. You should have seen my closet! I had three different wardrobes.
I was so used to having to hide parts of who I was; I didn’t really know how to be me all the time. I developed a defensive shield that I put up around me that effectively hid me from the world. I only let certain people in, and left the rest to try and peer in through the cracks.
It was exhausting and I soon tired of it. I decided that I wanted to be me all the time, and I changed my life to accommodate that desire. I went to coaching school and became a coach. I longed to be fully self-expressed and did a lot of work to get to know who I was underneath all those personas.
I became the coach for other “freaky” people who were sick and tired of hiding who they are too. I imagined doing my part to create a world where everyone was encouraged to be unique individuals and create business that was the perfect reflection of their unique gifts and talents. Woo-hoo!! I set out on my merry way to do that.
A few years ago I realized that I was caught up in a whole different set of personas: The Business Owner, the Bad-Ass Non-Conforming Rebel Brand, The Marketer, The Home Owner and it felt stifling.
Man!!! How did I end up here again??
When I sat down and looked at it, I realized that I was caught up in a story that said that there is a right way and a wrong way to be in business. I was too concerned about being “on-brand” all the time. On some level I felt that I still had to compartmentalize who I was and create very specific personas in order to be successful. I was right back where I started from, not fully allowing my ME-ness to shine through.
I now know that the way for me to be successful is to bring more of ME into my life and business. No more caricatures of who I think I need to be to succeed. I no longer worry about being “on-brand” or “off-brand”. Hell, I am my brand; my superpowers, vulnerabilities, freaky bits, and all the other parts of me that are revealing themselves throughout the day.
Amazing things happen when I show up fully, love and accept myself, and let the me-ness run free. There is an ease and flow to life and I attract all kinds of amazing opportunities to do the work I love.
I’m curious to learn what personas you find yourself caught up in?
How do they serve you?