I can safely say that I found my true self in those narratives. Reading these books birthed in me an endless need for creativity, the appreciation of sarcasm, the rage within to live and let live. Jane Eyre inspired me the desire to become an independent, critical thinker doubled with a well-read woman. Emma Harte showed me that women with ambition can rule the world of business and create a 3-generations strong business empire. Miranda Priestly became to me the epitome of the boss lady who gets (avant-garde) stuff done. Whether you like her or hate her, she’s here to stay (and she is just arrogant enough to let you know that she naturally dresses better than you and I ever will).
On the early days of January 2014, I purchased an “end-of-year” workbook to assess my 2013 year.
I was far from thinking that it would prompt me to make a devastating discovery.
As I was reviewing how I spent my leisure time, I realized that in 0 of the past 12 months had I found the time and been inspired to read such stories – stories of strong female characters, turning their back to the naysayers and making their dreams come true, no matter what. Every week, I would promise myself to make the time for it the following week and of course, I would be so drained by my work week that I would end up picking other activities on the weekend. I had been doing this for exactly 52 weeks in a row. As you can imagine, I was speechless.
This discovery left me with no other choice than to admit that something was missing in my life and business.
The problem, you ask?
I had been promoting heavily my online business manager services over my web design and development services. As a result, my small business brand communication only reflected 2 of my core values – provide others with superior care and strive for excellence in my work. It completely ignored my 3 other core values, the values that fuel me since the day I learned how to read – curiosity, self-expression and creativity.
While outwardly successful, my small business brand was shockingly not in alignment with my true self.
Since making that discovery, I have let go of everything that was holding me back from being my true self and I have invested in a business mastermind, several business coaches and put together an in-house team (that I can’t wait to reveal to you!) who hold me accountable for staying on track with my dream lifestyle and business.
From my experience, it takes being strong to admit the truth about your business shortcomings and being committed to invest in external support if you want to become authentically successful.
Why you must beware of stories.
See – when you deny your true story and the stories of heroines and heroes who consciously or unconsciously shape it, you take the risk to feel forever unsatisfied with your lifestyle, with your business but more importantly, with yourself.
Your small business brand core values that you communicate every day on social media, in the emails that you send and the marketing materials that you publish directly control how you spend your leisure time, how fulfilling your business is and how many times you smile in a day. The story that your brand tells is that powerful.
For me, the most important metric of my authentic business success and happiness is simple: reading. I can tell you if I’m happy by counting how many hours I recently spent reading, how many fiction and nonfiction books I have read and last but not least, how many cups of tea I have drank and biscuits I have devoured while reading those books.
I recently stumbled upon a truth-telling quote that I want to share with you:
So, this week I have a question for you: are you stuck in the wrong brand story?
Your Weekly Small Business Branding Assignment
Take a piece of paper (or open notepad on your computer) and jot down your core values – what are 3-5 important things that you know deep down you must do in your business in order to feel fulfilled every day?
For me it was:
- provide others with superior care (life and business) – was doing
- strive for excellence in my work (business) – was doing
- be curious (life and business) – did not have enough opportunities to do/was missing
- promote and experience self-expression (life and business) – did not have enough opportunities to do/was missing
- be creative – did not have enough opportunities to do/was missing
Then look at your website, social media and print communication. Be honest when you answer the following question: is your brand communication reflecting the core values on your list? Are all of your top 3-5 core values truly infused in your brand?
If yes, congratulations! If not, there is hope.
Bonus question: what are the 3 books that changed your life? Share them with me in the comments below, I’m always looking for a good book to read 🙂
Ready for co-creation?
I’ve had a blast last week meeting with those who jumped on the occasion to have me audit their websites. I was thrilled to meet an actress featured on HBO, a wine tasting specialist in Miami, a handmade linens artist living in France, a life coach in Canada, a children’s book author and many more. When I tell you that I love my business – I’m dead serious. I’m lucky to meet talented and passionate people who are ready to lead their businesses with their unique story on a daily basis. And that means the world to me.
While on the phone last week, I realized that most small business owners bootstrap their brand. They take the DIY brand road to later stop at the never-gonna-work-on-this-brand-again station. And then, they wait and spin their wheels and naturally as a result nothing else happens in their business.
You can’t stay in stasis and a resident of indecisiveness-city when the world needs your talent to become a better place.
That’s why I’m inviting you to co-create your brand vision with me. Together, we’ll get crystal clear about your brand core values and put together a strategic plan of action to finally reach your authentic business success goals. Whether you want to become a best-selling author, get a sold out launch or promote your first (or next) mastermind program, I’m happy to guide you and provide you with the support you need.
Long live your legacy,
Nadine N. Bone
Small Business Branding Consultant in Paris