Be who you are.

Today, civets made me dump out my jewelry box.

I swear this makes sense, if you’re really really associative, like I am.

I went wandering around on Danielle Nelson’s blog because she posted today about marketing and civet poop, and stumbled onto her post about staying small vs. playing big.  Which is good stuff, but then I got down to the first comment (from my friend Kate) and was kind of struck by this one sentence:

Be who you are.

It’s just the exact thing I needed to hear this very morning.

And it’s something I see almost every day and don’t pay enough attention to.

I am a bad nerd; I am often a late adopter.

See, about a year and a half ago, I bought my first vaguely modern cellphone.  Like a proper nerdling, I started poking around in the settings and discovered an option for a “banner”.  Eighteen characters that display on the screen all the time.

It was also at a time in my life when I was struggling with a whole lot of stuff about keeping my sense of self at a time when I was getting a lot of negative external reinforcement about who and what I was and could be, and also in the middle of moving across the country to a hopefully awesome but uncertain situation. (It’s turned out awesome, but still somewhat uncertain.)  I had eighteen characters to say something positive and reinforcing that I would see every day.

Eighteen characters isn’t much, as it turns out.  I kept trying to cut it down and cut it down and cut it down, until what I had left was:

Be who you are.

Every day.  Be the best of who you are right now.

I needed to attend to that message today, because …

Marketing blogs may be the death of this site.

It’s slightly sad to say, because I like some of the marketing coaches whose blogs I happen to read, but … reading those blogs often leaves me looking at this site and thinking “I’ve got to narrow it all down to one thing.  What’s this crazy flash fiction on Thursdays thing?  Why is it that every week you seem to add a new Category?  OH MY GOD IT’S NEVER GOING TO WORK.”

It’s because they largely all have one big message to say:

Pick your one and only passion and build your business around it.

That’s not who I am.

I am legion, I contain multitudes.  I am a dilettantepolymath.  I am a bad data point.  I am a generalist.  I go in lots of directions all at once.

So, heck with it.  I am going to be who I am.

(As one might see on my updated ‘About NCD’ page.)

Oh yeah … my jewelry box.

Well, in the moment of realizing that this was something I wanted toneeded to write, and thinking about what kind of image I would want to use for it (like one does) and how I might search online for that or look through scads of my photos … I realized I had an awesome metaphor upstairs.

contents of my jewelry box

I blame the civets

Yes, I made almost all of those.  They range from elegant to simple, to utterly whimsical (including the ones that didn’t quite make it in the shot – small black airplanes).  I made the tshirt I’m using as a backdrop.

I am all of those things.  Witty, whimsical, plain, down to earth, elegant as hell, sharp and spiky, complex, riotnrrd, and more.

I haven’t figured out how to sell that diversity yet, but it’s who I am.

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6 Responses to Be who you are.

  1. Teaspoon says:

    Darn civets. Always making people dump out their jewelry boxes. I’m onto them.

  2. Dani says:

    “I am all of those things. Witty, whimsical, plain, down to earth, elegant as hell, sharp and spiky, complex, riotnrrd, and more.”

    See, now, I think that’s a selling point right there! :)

    There is a *fantastic* article that I read a few weeks back – maybe on the Art of Non-Conformity? – that addressed this sort of thing. That narrowing your focus into one thing is NOT always the best thing, because for some people what makes them shine is their widespread talents, the chaos of being a dozen things. Is it *easier* to market one thing? Well, yeah, but since when is “easy” fun? ;)

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