Keeping Up Appearances

sba2

Keeping up appearances can be exhausting.

I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but I still clam up when I’m in certain settings and I have to explain what I’m doing with my life.

This was no different this week when I had to accept an award for my position at the job I no longer work for.

Wait, what?

Yes, you read correctly.

I, along with my former boss, received the Women’s Business Center of Excellence award from the Small Business Administration.

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This means that I got all fancy to attend a luncheon with important people and I had to give my “elevator pitch” during small talk.

I had already rehearsed it in my head before going to the event because I knew it was going to happen.

People were going to ask me what I was up to now.

I told them I moved back home to Baltimore and I’m working part-time at a small, woman-owned business. I’m also spending my time volunteering, building my brand and plotting my next moves.

It was interesting to see which parts of the “pitch” resonated with different people. A couple people said they had contacts in Baltimore and that it might be good for me to follow up and see if anything sticks.

Another woman was more interested in the type of work I’m doing part-time. It even turns out that one of her clients is the owner of a haircare brand that I use!

(By the way, I don’t think I’ve told you readers where I’m working! It’s a natural, organic and vegan beauty boutique called Kacadas. We educate our customers on the benefits of using clean products for their beauty and personal care.)

kacadas

Anyway, so I somewhat survived the whole “what are you up to now?” questioning and managed to enjoy the rest of the event.

But let me tell you—this is an area that I still struggle greatly with.

I was talking to my friend the other day to just vent and get his advice about how I’m feeling.

He said that a lot of people like me who are ambitious struggle with chasing our persona. We have this idea of who we want to be but it may not align with where we are today. We can feel the call on our lives but it’s hard to embrace where we are right now.

Not where I was 6 months ago. Where I am right now.

And the reality is, right now, I am not a business coach. I am not coaching anyone with their business or teaching classes. I have not picked that back up. (And maybe I won’t pick it back up for another few years. Who knows?)

The reality is, right now I’m living back at home with my mom. I am not living on my own, in my own place, like I was in Virginia.

That’s just not my current reality.

The reality is that I don’t have a full-time job with benefits.

The reality is, I don’t know where life is going to take me 5 months from now.

The list goes on.

 

But all of this is okay!

Why do I feel like I need to have all of these boxes checked off?

I’m only 26 years old. I’m allowed to start over. I’m allowed to take a breather.

You see, I’m constantly coming up against my ideal version of myself. This is the “superwoman” persona that I throw on from time to time—cape and all.

I’m not sure who constructed her.

But I do know that always trying to be her is hindering me from embracing who I really am. Today. Currently. Presently.

So, back to the award ceremony…

It was a reminder of the great work I did and the great work I’ll continue to do.

Something I said in my latest podcast interview was along the lines of this: “I am the constant. Change out the degree. Change out the coworkers. Change out the position. I remain.”

It’s not about titles and positions and possessions and statuses.

All of that fades.

What remains is my identity in Christ—who God says I am. What God says about me.

And guess what?

God could care less about these worldly things!

Look at what Scripture says in Matthew 6:

 “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also.

To me, this is a charge to live a lot more simply than I’ve been living. Throw off the added weight and pressure of meeting certain standards. They don’t define me.

Now, by no means am I saying that I’m lowering my standards of excellence. All I’m saying is that I’m allowed to be human. I’m allowed to explore. I’m allowed to take time for myself to recover from burn out.

And because I know what my patterns of being are, I have to check myself and my intentions. Meaning: I have to make sure I’m not throwing up a post just to boast. I have to make sure that there’s something deeper that I’m revealing about my story and God’s glory.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve “made it” on my own.

No. I need Jesus every single hour of every single day.

Do you see my dilemma, now?

This isn’t typical table talk conversation. But it’s my truth and sharing it makes me feel more authentic.

So, no, I don’t talk like this with everyone. I’m not this transparent 100% of the time. I watched popular researcher and speaker Brene Brown’s talk on Netflix entitled “The Call to Courage” and she said this very powerful quote: “Vulnerability does not equal disclosure.”

This means that being vulnerable doesn’t mean you have to disclose all the nitty gritty details of your life with someone. No. They have to earn your trust.

I’ve gotten a system going where I know which messages will resonate with which audiences. (Still struggling with my brand, though, as I mentioned in my last post. Advice still appreciated!)

For instance, I posted about the award on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but each post had a different caption.

But this blog is the place where I really get super transparent. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my following is so small. Not many people are reading it yet. So it’s more like a public journal.

Did you know that we write our most honest work when there’s no audience?

My whole goal with this writing/sharing style is to show the behind-the-scenes process of my public successes.

The thoughts I battle. The things that are hard for me and maybe not hard for others.

This is the “inner voice.” It’s not the outer persona.

I’m working on making them synchronous. Harmonious. One.

It’s a process, though, like everything else in life.

All in all, the point of this post was to show you that I’m still in a weird place with defining my relationship to my work, my calling, etc. I guess that’s the whole point of the blog in general.

If you’re new to the blog, feel free to look around!

Comment your thoughts below!

Until Next Time,

Jess

P.S. Don’t forget to listen to my podcast interview on Pieces of Hers.e.l.f here!

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