Every workplace setting my career has been in, I’m the anomaly. Male dominated, I frequently found myself in conference rooms as the only female voice and held at arms length of the “Boys Club.” It’s the stuff I wish a female would have told me. With every passing generation, there are shifts and changes, yet some mindsets persist. I started my career as a female pastor. Many in the church have strong, strong ideas against this. Every other female on my church staff was working with either children, women, or in administration. I was the only pastor working with both men and women past the age of 11. There was a moment where it hit me quickly, while attending a conference with my staff at the time. It came in the form of an announcement made from stage, “All pastors and their wives….,” he began. I looked around and released I was the only female pastor in the room.
I wish I could say it was different when it came to business.
Men who are powerful, crushing it, and building amazing businesses, they’re celebrated. You’ll hear, “Wow. Look at the way that they provide for their family.” “Well they needed to be away for business.” However, in pop culture if you flip the switch, women are seen far differently. If she is successful, you see her portrayed much like Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Her professional life is amazing and she’s rising to the top, yet she’s prickly and everyone is terrified of her. Most likely her personal life is a mess and she’s wildly unhealthy in her relationships. But I wasn’t her. I wasn’t that girlboss. I am kind. I care about my clients, their dreams, their businesses, and their livelihood. If I can’t help them make things better, I keep on figuring it out until I do. (I’m definitely not the girl passively sitting in a chair and getting rich.) I am excellent. If I don’t firmly believe in a solution, it stays on the cutting room floor.
So what did I do? Out of fear. I shrinked back.
I played the nice faith-based girl that smiled at every one and stayed quiet. In the name of “humility,” I didn’t tell people what I did for a living. I rarely told others what project I was working on or who I had worked for. I chose to be interested in the lives of others. Instead, I lived a simple life, providing content, working, and not saying much else. If you’ll notice, I even did the same thing around this space. Very rarely would I talk about my services. I wouldn’t talk about branding, collaboration, or design services. (I even foolishly kept my “Studio” page on the site a splash screen for 2 years.) Because of this decision, many people still have no idea of what I do or what I could offer them.
You know what I learned: it was time to get a little bit louder. If I didn’t, I would kill my business in the process.
It was time time to own my voice and to run after the very things I was called to. It would take a level of fierceness and tenacity that I hadn’t ventured into before. I now told people what I did. I searched for testimonials and ways to invest in more people. Because with shrinking back, I wasn’t doing anyone favors. Somewhere along the way I had bought into this lie that I was shamelessly self-promoting if I said anything. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The first question people ask you when you meet them is “What do you do?” It’s a simple question and one I now confidently answer.
Because here’s the thing. I don’t hop on Pinterest and offer the same thing to clients over and over again. I am not competing with Fiverr, Upwork, Etsy, and 99Cent Designs. I am classically trained, have a bachelors degree in design, and 10 years of experience in graphic design and digital marketing. Every image you see on this space has been shot by yours truly. Every piece of content has come from my hands. It’s a massive breadth of work and something to be proud of. This isn’t pride. This is simply apart of who I am and what I do. No fluff, no hype, just facts.
I leave you with lyrics to a favorite song by Steffany Gretzinger. It’s been the source of strength and bravery in countless seasons. I hope that it inspires you today!
Everyone knows that I was the good girl
I did my best to make everyone happy with me
But then I found out that
It was impossible to please the whole crowd
So I spoke up and I spoke out
I learned that love don’t hold its tongue
And passion doesn’t bow to what they think
It’s you and me
Sometimes it’s painful to be brave
To look fear in the face
And know Your name
To find Your strength