Where do you fit in?
I’ve been questioning this concept a lot recently – the idea that to “fit in” with society we can only be one thing. We have been conditioned to believe that we need to fit into a box, we need a ‘brand’, we have to choose where we sit at the high school cafeteria lunch table of life. You can only be an introvert or an extrovert. You can be sporty or ladylike. You have to choose between being a business woman or a mother, a leader or a follower.
But squeezing into a mold only serves others, not ourselves. It helps society categorize you, it makes people feel comfortable that you fit under a heading. It keeps you colour-coded, confined and understood in the filing cabinet of society.
This filing system is flawed, it can never be real.
We can be all of the things
I am a paradox.
I am all woman: feminine, vulnerable, strong, capable – I am both high heels and hiking boots. I am both 5 star luxury and a rugged explorer. I enjoy a fancy hotel room but I can also backpack with only 7kg of luggage for 3 months (actual true story, twice).
I crave adventure and change, travel and a nomad life, yet in equal quantities I crave a home, a bathtub, stability and routine. I love to be out of my comfort zone and pushing boundaries, just as much as I love safety and predictability. Classical music calms me, hard-core Hip Hop makes me run faster, Deep House makes me feel free. The feminist in me can fix most things around the house with duct tape, a cable tie and a Hilty nail, but sometimes I prefer to act helpless and get someone else to do it.
When it comes to work – I have always struggled with the idea that I am a “creative”, because, while this side of me is in my blood and I don’t have to work very hard at it; I prefer being strategic and analytical. I am equally left- and right-brained (try explain that to a recruiter). I am both spiritual and pragmatic.
“She is both, hellfire and holy water.
And the flavour you taste depends on how you treat her.” – Sneha Pal
As business owners we have to wear many hats: Marketer, Accountant, Sales Team, CEO. Throw in homelife, and we are mothers, friends, wives, partners, daughters. We can do it all. We often HAVE to do it all, so we just make it work.
We’re all Bi
One of the most beautiful things to come out of society in the last few years is an increasing acceptance of fluidity – in sexuality, gender roles, job descriptions and self-acceptance. Women can earn more than their husbands (shock, horror!) men can be stay-at-home dads. Countries like Sweden recognize that the role of childcare is not always assigned to women. Instead of “maternity leave”, both parents are entitled to 480 days of leave per child, which can be taken over the first 8 years of a child’s life.
There has been a definite energy shift over the past couple of years, it’s like we’ve reached the top of the Patriarchal Bell Curve and things are starting to change (albeit far too slowly). After centuries of acceptance, we’re questioning the status quo and reinventing the gender wheel. We’re staying single for longer, we’re demanding equal pay, and we can change our own freaking light bulbs.
We are woke
The push and struggle to climb the corporate ladder, the need to make money and survive in this dynamic world has resulted in an imbalance. We’re questioning the value of it all; questioning the payoff of income vs. happiness, success vs. lifestyle.
A stressed and fast-paced society has been put under extreme pressure for too long, resulting in the rare diamond of increased consciousness. Yoga is more popular than ever, meditation is no longer just for the devout Buddhist. An increase in health, spirituality and self-awareness is not just a fad, it’s a way of life. A means of survival.
Business can be both soulful and strategic
Which leads me back to my crisis of identity: am I a spiritual warrior or a digital strategist? Am I an activist or a teacher? A cheerleader or a coach? Am I yin or yang?
Well, you guessed it, sister. I am all of these things, and so are you. When I have a message that needs to come out of me, I no longer question it or resist it or try and make it brand-perfect. I just let it flow, I let it pour out of me: I am just the conduit for whatever needs to come through. I let my soul speak, and as for my strategy: I’ll figure that out along the way 🙂
So all I have left to say is this: lean in. Ignore decades of societal conditioning and just freaking embrace the you you were meant to be: beautiful, sensual, flawed, talented, smart and fiery. The word deserves to see this unchained, expansive version of you. Light it up.🔥
I’m Pam Newman, founder of The Branded Panda. I help women like you create soul-based businesses that give them income and freedom to truly LIVE.
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