Learning how to appreciate myself has been a long battle that I've faced since the age of 8. I always knew that I was a different kind of kid ... an introvert, a book worm and obsessed with the art of literature and spoken word. How many kids at 8 loved Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley? Oh wait, how many 8-year-olds do you know today that want to be entrepreneurs and travel the world to "make a difference?"
See, strange right? Not really, I appreciated that kid and my mother was so focused on helping me cultivate those dreams by telling me in her sultry, Southern accent, "Chakayla, you will always be different, but use that to create a life you love." Despite my personal battle with depression and low self-esteem as an adolescent and college kid, I was always hungry to make my dreams happen.
When I began blogging in 2009, I did so because it allowed me to block out all of the things I was going through internally ... and create a community of folks who understood what I was going through. I had no idea that I would still be blogging nearly seven years later, with a completely difference scope and appreciation for myself. Interestingly enough, reflecting on this moment in my life inspired me to share one important business secret that has helped propel my online brand ....
Yup, you read right, honey! Being myself has been my personal tool for success as an online influencer. After seven years of pounding my fingers against a keyboard, in the last year or so I finally believe that: I am more than my online presence. This is not an opinion folks, it is a fact! But, in the last seven months (while in Dallas), I have watched my brand expand into a beautiful business.
Learning how to elevate my business by being myself seems to be an easy tactic, but it is something that I do no read enough of. In the beginning stages of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my business, I read so many different blog posts and I watched tons of helpful webinars, but I soon found that folks were telling me who I should be and what I should be doing. I was so focused on making sure not to make mistakes, staying up for hours running on little to no energy and pitching like a mad woman to gain exposure from brands that probably would never agree to work with me due to my small social media presence ...
I was so overwhelmed with amazing, helpful resources that I just had to shut everyone out, until I could figure out who I was and what I wanted to provide my OWN community.
Success Requires Every Bit of YOU!
But, in order for me to appreciate the wise wisdom of others ... I had to learn how to appreciate my own insight! This may seem so simple, but I've always felt like I've been trapped in a hamster wheel trying to catch my OWN light and purpose. And honey, once that happened, I was able to share amazing resources and insights with you, right here. If you never allow yourself the opportunity to truly learn and understand who you are, how do you expect to captivate the attention of a dope audience?
Now there are a few tips I want to share with you that have helped me learn who I am ... BUT I truly do not have the ability to teach you who you are ... only you can do that my dear.
1. Purposeful Journaling
This is journaling, with a twist. Usually when we write in a journal, we may have a tendency to recap events, relive past events or even to jot down notes. But, purposeful journaling is a great way to provide encouragement for yourself and help keep you zeroed in on your goals and aspirations. There is no specific format, just write down what YOU WILL accomplish and just let your words flow. Trust me, carving out time for yourself to write and think about what you want will be a journey you will begin to appreciate.
2. Write Lists ... Lots of Them
...And not just to-do lists! I love to write lists that remind me of the goals I want to accomplish during the week, current projects or even grocery lists. The physical act of writing not only releases some tension and stress we put on our minds. You may also find that you are more encouraged to write a handmade letter to someone or a handwritten weekend itinerary, just to feel closer to your genuine, authentic human purpose ... whatever that may be.
3. Find Your Passions
What do you love to do? What do you want to learn? Where do you want to explore? Do you watercolor? Are you a creative Etsy shop merchant?
These are the perfect questions to help you begin exploring what it is that makes your mind tick or your emotions heighten. Learning what you are passionate about is a fantastic way to begin unfolding new uncharted territory! This is your journey toward self-discovery, so make the absolute best of it.
4. Create New Experiences and Memories
Chilling at home, watching Netflix will not give you anything memorable to reflect and laugh on. Seriously. Take those passions from above and get out of your bubble ... meet people, attend events, network ... share who YOU are and learn about others. It's simple, I promise you.
5. Be Ok With "Not Knowing It All"
RELAX! You just aren't going to know and understand it all. Trust me, I have to tell myself this every week (shoot almost every hour). We are humans, we were born to make mistakes and to learn from them! Not knowing it all is beautiful ... that means you still have room for growth and understanding.
How will you begin your journey to elevating your business by being yourself?