Dare to be who you are!
Dare to be who you are!
The other day I read an interview with the Sudanese-British supermodel Alek Wek in the Financial Times Magazine “How to spend it”. She began her fashion career at the age of 18, at a time when the fashion industry was almost exclusively white. Alek was born in South Sudan and escaped, at the age of 14 with her mother and sister, to London as refugees.
I am impressed by the way in which she climbed the fashion career ladder. Alek never forgot her roots and stayed African in her heart despite all the obstacles along the way.
Alek has courageously shaped and redefined the fashion industry by simply using the power of being herself. Her message to the world and especially to young girls: “ Don’t be afraid of how you feel. The world will try and mould you into something else, but you have to be who you are.”
Do you sacrifice your identity and who you truly are for the sake of becoming the person your environment, your employers, supervisors and those who have the power, want you to be?
The working world can often be far tougher than we realise when it comes to acceptance. Be it from a gender, origin, religion, skin colour and education point of view, it is extremely difficult to be accepted and to stay true to who you really are. In addition work environments often force unhealthy standards of performance, achievement, career success and competition upon their employees, so that workers feel obliged to forgo who they really are, their values and what is really important to them.
This is especially true in times of crisis, when many organisations are challenged to examine the status quo, restructure and become future prove. Thereby leaving many professionals feeling under pressure to keep their jobs, to try to prove to be as flexible as possible and in doing so they forgo many of their own values and standards. They simply sacrifice who they want to be in order be considered part of the game.
In my work one of the most important basic reflection questions I ask my clients is: Who are you? The answer to this question can make a huge difference to the way in which a professional can move forward. This question allows the individual to go back to their roots and to get to know their real self, all the different facets of their personality, values, drivers, personality traits, habits and more. Most people’s reaction to this question is usually: of course I know who I am, but when it comes to defining and articulating who we are, most people struggle.
Daring to be who you are and represent it strongly as part of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is indeed one of the most essential factors of self-branding. It helps you to boost your courage levels, enhances your self-confidence, enables you to make the right choices and better decisions and most of all gives you the courage to move forward and develop in your own way.
So take the courage to never forgo "Who You Are" even when it gets tough. Being true to yourself is the strongest asset you have! If you find it too difficult to reflect deeply and to ask yourself those daring questions, then
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By the way here some “Be who you are” quotes that I love – they might provide a source of inspiration for you too.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Bernard M. Baruch
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you have.” John Grisham
“To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are.” Roy T. Bennett
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu