Why Am I Being Tested?

“I remember wondering how it got to this point. I was a student of developing and maintaining a positive self-image. I taught others how to develop and maintain theirs. What happened? I was numb. I couldn’t feel myself anymore. I was deaf to my own voice. All I could hear were the people in my personal and professional life whose actions were saying, “You’re not good enough.” I was now a student of my own teaching.” This is an excerpt from There Is More Inside

It was Spring 2000. I don’t know if I was struggling or being strangled. Regardless, I was suffering. What I now realize is that my stamina and beliefs about myself, God and the world around me were being tested.

Finding the courageous and confidence to own your space and smoothly transition from one phase of life to another is what I teach today, but first I had to be taught. Briefly, here’s the story. You can read the entire story in my first book, There Is More Inside.

I was facing two painful rejections. My former fiancé asked me to marry him and four months later walked out of my life. Then, I was fired from my job.

Prior to getting engaged, I firmly stated that we would not set a date until we went to marriage counseling. After starting our sessions, he and I had an argument about going to counseling. He told me he had been hoodwinked into going to counseling. Realizing our deep differences, I said: Well, we won’t be getting married.

In less than 30 days after that dramatic episode, I was fired from my job. I was being bullied by my supervisor—humiliated in front of my staff, described as a premadonna, and told I couldn’t write. After seeking help from the director of human resources and the university president, I was granted medical leave due to the tremendous amount of stress that they knew I was experiencing. The stress affected my health. I went to the doctor who diagnosed me as being depressed. He prescribed an antidepressant. Yes, I felt like my life was crumbling out of control, but everything about my life up to this point told me that God had prepared me for this personal and professional challenge.

© 2012 All rights reserved. S. Renee, SRS Productions, Inc., There Is More Inside®

Does Your Body Match Your Brand?

Over the years, regardless of race, age or gender, I have found that the size and shape of our bodies and body parts are of great concern to many of us. Instead of accepting and understanding that we are divinely made and the size of our bodies and body parts serve a specific and meaningful purpose, it is obvious that the images we consume on a daily basis impact our self-perception. I believe that these images distort our understanding of our divinity and sometimes take us off course.

I do, however, understand why we obsess over ourselves and our outer appearance. Statistically speaking there is a direct correlation in our looks and how much money we make. According to Sociologists Drs. Samantha Kwan and Mary Nell Trautner, “physical attractiveness is associated with a number of positive outcomes, including employment benefits such as hiring, wages, and promotion, and is correlated with social and personal rewards such as work satisfaction, positive perceptions of others, and higher self-esteem.”

On January 17, 2008, Faking Good Breeding posted a blog entitled, Beauty and Success. The author shared the following: Science Daily published an article that included a recent study showing that attractive people often receive better job positions and pay than average looking applicants. The study found that women were more likely to give high status packages to attractive men than men gave to attractive women. Isn’t that a trip?

I, like many of you, seek to achieve and maintain my personal best. In doing so, I’ve hired a personal trainer, regulate what I eat–but, like President Obama with cigarette smoking, at times, I slip off the wagon–and before going out play I put on sunscreen. I have to confess that, from my days of modeling, I still secretly shadow my nose (There Is More Inside Page 32) . As I explain in There Is More Inside, one of my clients told me I had a “big” nose and I needed to make it appear thinner. Ten years later, I continue to shadow my nose so that it will appear slimmer. Some may categorize my behavior as ingrained self-hate. Adding that if I were in a different country the standard would be different and thereby my behaviors would be different. I wouldn’t argue that point. However, I’m not in a different country. I’m in America. I believe how I present myself builds on the image that I’ve created. That image substantiates my brand.

I can’t see myself having any creditability as an image consultant or motivational speaker if my body and appearance doesn’t reflect what I’m selling. Perhaps you’re thinking that my message is, There Is More Inside.  That is true. I believe, however, that what’s inside is showcased through how I treat myself and my body.

I had a client who is a “motivational speaker.” When I saw him speak for the first time I was taken aback by his appearance. His pants were too long, his tie was too short, and he was approximately 100 pounds overweight. His image didn’t match his message and, therefore, directly impacted his brand. As a coach, I had to ask him some tough questions: Who is your targeted audience? Would the people in your audience look to you for answers? If so, why? What do you have that they want? Does your physical appearance match your message of hope, perseverance, and achievement? Is your message believable?

Branding doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t about being a particular size or shape. It does, however, require you to authentically show up. Does your body match your brand? If you are unsure, here are five questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to shape up.

  1. What is my brand?
  2. What problem do I solve?
  3. Do I look like the solution that I offer?
  4. Would I buy from me?
  5. What should I change to make my brand more believable?

I invite you to leave your comments or questions, and don’t forget to tell a friend.

Are You Using Your Ass-ets Properly?

I have to confess that the play on the word “ass” in the word “asset” is taking my personal brand to the edge. Not because I haven’t said the word, “ass.” Nor, if I hit a certain mental and emotional temper, I’m too good to say it now. But, it really isn’t a part of my vocabulary on a daily basis. Not that I’m judging those who say it on a regular while sipping a cup of morning coffee. Nevertheless, by the end of this article, you’ll know that assets aren’t about your ass or mine. It is about understanding your assets and how you can use them to build and sustain your personal brand.

In my book, There Is More Inside (www.srenee.com), I share with readers some of the obstacles I faced while moving my career forward during my late 20s and early 30s. I quickly learned that–in some people’s mind–there were some unspoken rules. Rule number 1: You’ll have to “give it up” to go up.

Because I wasn’t budging I heard things like: Stop acting like a high school virgin. You know the rules. That’s what you’ll get if you f— with me, referring to the firing of a co-worker. Their threats never shook me because I knew my body wasn’t my greatest asset. And, your body isn’t your greatest asset. When you’re building your personal brand, you have to know what your greatest assets are. I’ve listed, what I believe to be, the top three assets that will help you build your personal brand.

1. People. People have always been and will always be our greatest asset, especially those who believe in us. When we have strong, trusting relationships with people we can more easily and successfully navigate through life. Nothing is more valuable to a personal brand, including you than the people who buy into it. Think about it. How many books have your read, restaurants you’ve visited, or movies you’ve seen because someone told you how great it was. A strong personal brand is built on the endorsement of others.

2. Your Talents/Gifts. Most of us have an arsenal of skills, but one or two talents. Skills and talents are uniquely different. Skills are learned. With effort, you develop them over time. Talents are innate. You sharpen them with practice. When you use your talents to bring value to the lives of others, they will become a part of your personal brand.

3. Your Innate Ability to Know Truth. This may appeared to be an awkward fit, but it truly is an asset that you should use to build your personal brand. No one knows what the truth is for you, but you. When you hear it, see it, and feel it–you know it. Trust that feeling because as you make pivotal decisions for your life, you solidify your personal brand. And, remember, your ass-ets depend on it!

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