I was going to title this podcast, why your goal should be fiery panties, but I changed it to encourage you to fly your freak flag proudly. What does acknowledging your freak status give you? Freedom! Love! Joy! Lower blood pressure. And those are just for starters.
I have been working really hard behind the scenes on two projects, 1) re-shaping my business and podcast to better reflect my strengths and make sure I am pouring myself into the right people and 2) helping other powerful women tell their stories through their own platforms and podcasts. These are both awesome projects I have a ton of energy and passion for and I’m having a ball. I especially love that I am taking a hard look at what I’m offering in my business. It keeps my analytical skills sharp and helps me make sure that I haven’t gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of every day life.
How the Freak Flag Discovery Began
So as part of my work at sharpening the focus for this podcast, I have been working with a designer on new podcast artwork. My current artwork is ‘aight’ but it isn’t ‘pow pow’. Do you know what I mean? I want to be sure that I’m really authentic in all of my branding. For instance, my tag line didn’t appear anywhere on this old logo. Why not? Was I hedging my bets so that people who might think I was too much would listen to the show anyway and get sucked in accidentally? Probably not, but it was a good opportunity to make a couple tweaks.
I’ve been rocking ‘Punching Fear in the Throat, Show up and Tell Your Story’ for a year and that phrase fits me like my favorite pair or jeans. You know the jeans I mean, we all have them. But, and that’s a big old butt, I didn’t have my tagline in my show art. Now, the previous version of my artwork isn’t bad, that designer produced several designs and I selected this one of my own free will. But you know what? It’s too safe. Right? There is little edge, risk, or sass in that version. And if you’ve been around here any amount of time, I am all sorts of sassy.
Why We Fear the Freaks
Now what I call sassy could be described differently by others. Some might think a better word is weird. Or freaky. That’s ok, we’re all freaks! For those of you who I have offended by implying that you’re freaks, I apologize. But, that’s kind of the point. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in being like everybody else that we are afraid to be identified as a freak. Why? Because the freaks only come out at night? (Some of you totally missed that reference and that’s ok, I still love ya).
Or are we afraid of that label because we feel an insane pull to have every like us and co-sign our decisions? Whether we are desperate not be classified as a freak or we are too hung up on other people blessings our decisions, both situations are problems. Life is much more interesting when we seek out and really grab onto our quirks, idiosyncrasies, our uniqueness. I’m ok with that language too.
What a Freak Really Looks Like
Now, I’m not sure where you are in your journey to flying your freak flag, but I’m been on this highway since I got those first ugly cat-eyed glasses in the 7th grade. Yup, I didn’t dip a toe in, I jumped all the way into the freak water. I was a geeky, nerdy, too-smart-for-a-girl, classical piano playing, no rhythm having Black (we called ourselves Black, back then) girl in advanced placement classes, growing up in Central Jersey and knew nobody else like me.
Except for the 2 siblings in my house. And they had the smart, nerdy thing down but I was on my own with the lack of rhythm and eclectic musical tastes. I know some of you are nodding your heads because you feel me. You have your own freak flags in the back of your closet don’t you? Wave ‘em! I see you and I feel you.
Since I started my freak journey so young I’m accustomed to not seeing the world the exact same way people around me do. Which helped me out immensely as I shared my new artwork concept with about 12 people today. I shared this version of the art because I knew what my immediate reaction was, but I do have an inner circle of folks and I wanted some opinions.
Freaks Can Have Friends and Stay Freaks
Most of my peeps loved the design and offered minor tweaks. But two of them, stopped just short of hating it. One of them, a dear, dear friend completely didn’t get it. She told me she thought the tagline was scary and violent. (Sorry Sueby, if I love you, you have to know you could end up on my podcast one day, thems the breaks.)
But I digress, she went on to ask, ‘who punches someone in the throat?’. Through her text message I could hear her gasping and clutching her pearls. I laughed good and hard for about 7 minutes. Who punches someone in the throat? I do! And I want everybody to punch their confidence assassins so those wenches will be quiet.
But guess what? One of my best friends in the world didn’t like the design. So what?! I immediately had 2 thoughts, 1) I really love her and we will always be friends. 2) this chick has never listened to my show. Both thoughts are good, but let’s focus on the second one. She has never listened to my show. We have been friends for more than 25 years so she knows me better than many, but she is not my audience.
And the fact that she didn’t dig my art didn’t lessen my infatuation with it. We can still be friends even though we don’t like the same stuff. I don’t think any less of her because she thought punching fear in the throat was violent. It might be a little ‘freaky but it really works for me.
“I have to be comfortable with me. If others are too, that’s great, but it’s not a requirement.”
The first design I received from my designer was totally not me. I didn’t feel that little zing that let me know we were on the right track. My lack of an emotional response was similar to the feeling I got in a recent conversation with my coach recently about a marketing strategy. We were brainstorming a bunch of ideas but none of them really excited me. Ok, that’s not what I actually said. You know me so well. What I really said was that if I get an idea and it doesn’t set my panties on fire, I need to keep working. Yep, always a lady.
“If I get an idea and it doesn’t set my panties on fire, I need to keep looking.”
So when the first podcast art design came in and my panties stayed flame-free, I knew I hadn’t found the right design yet and I kept looking. I didn’t quit, I just kept working. As you are preparing to tell your story, ask for your raise, remove toxic people from your world, or tell your story, there will be hits and misses. You will have waaaay more ideas than you will implement and some of them won’t be worth all that much.
But, the process that you undergo and the juices that are produced by thinking up all those ideas is priceless. Combine that with your willingness to be enthusiastically, unrelentingly authentic to who you are (freak or not) and that’s what will make you successful. Again, let me encourage you to let your freak flag fly.
We all have quirks. Maybe you collect match books from all the states or love polka funk. (I don’t think that’s a real thing, but if it is, you go girl!) OK. You will find much more freedom and joy in learning to accept who you are and exactly why you are special.
Why You Should Fly the Freak Flag
- Energy conservation. Pretending and acting like everybody else is exhausting. You are constantly worried that your mask will slip and every will get a glimpse of your inner freak. Be yourself and save that energy for doing great work.
- Becoming less judgmental. Once you have gotten really good at accepting who you really are, you will be an expert at accepting the quirks you see in people around you. Bazinga! People are going to be drawn to you because you will be able to accept and champion who they are.
- More joy. Some of the things I think and do make me laugher harder than Kevin Hart and that guy is hysterical! Being able to laugh at myself in a way that doesn’t damage my self esteem is a great gift. Do you think Kevin Hart would be any where near as funny if he was constantly trying to keep people from seeing that he’s short? Nope.
- Freaks will inherit the earth. I am not referring to the book by Chris Brogan, but I know that if Steve Jobs didn’t wait for his boxers to catch fire, there would be no iPhone. If Patricia Arquette was overly concerned with people thinking she was weird, she wouldn’t have just won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Do you feel the wave coming? The freaks are running stuff and we can too.
How to Fly Your Freak Flag
- Turn everything down. Quiet time and introspection will help you get in touch with your inner freak. Find out what you like to do when no one is watching. Observe how you tackle challenges or organize a complex task.
- Search for your quirks. Instead of spending time trying to hide your quirks, look for them and shine a light on them. What makes you special? What are the ways that you see the world differently? Write them down. Figure out how you can use them to your competitive advantage.
- Remember the time. Thinking back to your childhood can be a great source of freak discovery. You may find that you have hidden interests that go beyond your current professional or personal life that you have forgotten about. Did turtles fascinate you when you were young? Good, what else have you forgotten?
- Let it go. Most of all, let go of rigid assumptions and the weight of other people’s expectations. There are many ways to be an exceptional parent, friend, or family member. Follow your quirks to design the path that best suits your unique abilities.
The things that qualify you to fly the freak flag make you more interesting and unique. Celebrate them! Independent thinking and a focus on what sets your panties on fire opens up more opportunities for you. And these opportunities will seem effortless and delightful.
Is your freak flag flying? Let me know in the comment box below and have a powerful week!