Updated: Aug 2
When they talk about how your target audience really defines your brand, I would have never thought a #hashtag would play a big role in the process. Especially one that describes you to a “T”.
It happened! A fairly new client coined this hashtag recently when she was inquiring about additional marketing materials and was curious if I could help. “Of course I can” responding without hesitation. She promptly said, #LisaCanYou. It was a DiNozzo slap of “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. (You know who I’m referring too, right? Gibbs, from the tv series NCIS, would slap Special Agent DiNozzo on the back of the head when he was a little slow at figuring something out. Remember now?)
Why does it describe me?
I’m highly competitive and don't stop until I've crossed that goal line, hit that home run, shot that 3-point, and finish with a win. This characteristic was pre-destined before I was born by friends of my parents. They were 100% positive that my parents’ first born (me) was going to be a boy, so much so that they proudly walked into the hospital with special gift....a full size football. Boy, weren’t they surprised when they found out my mom had delivered a girl. Needless to say, they didn't return the gift and it became a treasure that I played with for many years. I believe that gift, message, fate or whatever you want to call it, set me in motion with that “I’m as tough as the next guy” tomboyish attitude.
Another little fun fact I found out later on in life, that on the day I was born, July 7, our house was hit by a tornado. It wasn’t destroyed but the roof sustained some damage. Was this a warning sign to my parents? Probably!
I had always loved being outdoors; digging for worms to go fishing, playing street sports with the neighborhood kids, helping my dad change the oil in his truck, building a deck at the cabin, holding up insulation when I was barely three foot tall, so he could staple it in the interior walls of the cabin, water skiing, skateboarding down steep hills to only crash and burn about halfway down, and searching for crawdaddies in the creek. I also had a habit of mimicking reckless stunts that my older cousins and older neighborhood kids would try to do too…and might I add I was not always as successful as they were. My height, or there the lack of, drove the attitude, "I could do whatever anyone else could do and do it BETTER." I was always having to proof myself as a force to not take likely. Plus, I was one of those that you never told you CAN’T do something. Those words would light my stubborn, determined fire and I would go full force to prove them wrong. Although half of the time it didn't quite work out the way I wanted, I would sure as hell give it a try....and usually more than once!
Do I need to even mention that my body is definitely regretting some of those rebellious choices?
Even with this badass attitude, I was extremely shy. Yeah, weird right? A badass introvert!
Helping others I knew that my shyness was not going to get me where I wanted to be and deep down inside, I really liked to cut up, laugh, pick on and socialize with anybody and everybody. So if I wanted the latter, I needed to figure out how to overcome the prior.
Any type of gatherings, professional, social or family (yes, even family), my brain and mouth would literally become paralyzed when engaging in conversations. I tried everything I could think of to avoid those awkward small talk moments and nothing was working. Even the tip you have always been told, "envision the audience in their underwear." Uh, no, the visions I had in my head was "R" rated and gross, which made it worse and I could feel my face, neck and chest turn fire red. So now what?
Well into my adulthood, I had subconsciously stumbled onto an approach that felt good, something I was really enjoying. It just happened because I was bored and didn't even realize what I was doing and what it was doing for me. What was the magic trick? Helping out in these gatherings. Hallelujah!! Whether that was setting up, decorating, cleaning up afterwards, serving drinks, taking care of the needs of the guests, etc. I found it easier to talk with others when I was asking if I could help them in some manner than just trying to start a conversation. These encounters were lighthearted, short, and always friendly and many times they triggered unexpected and authentic connections with someone new. I was able to open up and let my humor surface with strangers! Yes! Yes! Yes! I was finding my comfort zone and conquering my shyness.
While my only child was in elementary school and taking dance classes at night, I was once again in new, unfamiliar environments. Standing elbow to elbow with other parents in the very small, confined classroom for orientation or the lobby of the dance studio patiently waiting for class to end and feeling the same anxiety of trying to converse with strangers. What helped me in the past? Helping in a service role capacity. That's it! Yes, it wasn't long before I was volunteering in the non-profit portion of the dance studio serving as Secretary/Treasurer for several years. And if that wasn't enough, I substitute taught, 1 year as assistant coach of the elementary girl's basketball team, served as Vice President and President of the school's booster club and a member of the PTA at her school.
I didn't stop there, jumped right into another unfamiliar environment with more strangers and this time, I actually had to stand up and introduce myself and talk about what I do professionally among other business professionals. It was a local business networking organization. (Don't visualize them in their underwear or there is no coming back.) And you guessed it, I slipped into my comfort zone of helping. I accepted several leadership roles throughout my 9 year membership with this group and was able to show my true self through my humor and "helping" attitude. Actually due to the 60 second elevator speech we were required to do at each weekly meeting, it helped me to speak more confidently in front a group.
Currently, as you may see a pattern by now, I'm part of a local merchant association volunteering my design abilities plus I sit on the board of the local annual festival. So yeah, I like to help which is my way of getting to know someone, express my humor and for selfish gratification too. It's either all of that or I don't have a good grasp on the word "NO".
I always knew as far back as when I was old enough to hold a crayon that I wanted to be in the creative industry. If I wasn’t outside challenging someone to a race, a wrestling match, playing football, or fishing, I could be found illustrating. My PASSION! The Universe was listening, for my wishes came true in my early twenties! The “last chance” creative organization that I interviewed with, took a chance on me. It was "last chance" for if this didn’t work out I was going to have to move back home and I was too damn stubborn and independent to let that happen. Looking back on it, it may have been my pleading with the art director that “I’ll do anything, even sweep floors if I have too!” that landed me the job. I soon found out that they too had that same mindset that I did when I was younger. They were always up for a challenge in helping someone with a unique project and they didn’t know how to say “No” either!
Thrived on challenges
They had many highly creative clients that designed these wild and almost humanly impossible concepts. Their ideas were usually so far off the wall, that no one else wanted to even think about taking these projects on. So they found their way to our company because it was known in the industry that the owner and department heads would always figure out how to bring these creative concepts to life…..literally! They thrived on these challenges and took them head on without hesitation. They "raised" me in the industry and the skills, work ethics and attitude of hitting that home run, shooting that 3-point shot, crossing the goal line for a win were again reinforced into my core.
Now 14 years into my own creative company, I use these core values of competitiveness, creativity, willingness to help others, eagerly taking on challenges, humor, and never saying “no” to serve my clients.
So much so that a client has created my brand in 3 simple words of #LisaCanYou!
Why yes I can!
Ready to take the hashtag for spin? Send me your questions about your project and let’s put them to the test!
creatively badass introvert,