Ever since I began this journey of saying "YES" to photography, creativity, and on a deep and personal level, WHO I was created to be, I've been obsessed with the idea of rebranding. I do mean obsessed. And not in a healthy way…at least not a good portion of the time. Like most of what I do when I started this journey, I pray about my decisions, specifically the ones that feel like a big deal to me. I have prayed about rebranding more times than I can count, and distinctly got "no" from the heavens definitively twice. *eye roll* Fine, Jesus. Whatevs. You're smarter, nicer, wiser, etc, so I'll roll with You on this.
never rarely goes the way we expect it to. My journey into "rebranding" has been no exception. All of the experts say to hire the experts. And I think they're right. But sometimes just because it's smart, doesn't mean it's RIGHT.
I used to think "branding" was a logo, website, and visual identity. You sensing a theme here? I thought branding was all about how everything LOOKS. I'm a photographer, so I am incredibly visual. I feel strongly about design and presentation. For understandable reasons. These things are important.
Over the past months, I've come to understand something that I never grasped before. Branding is not a logo. Branding is not a website. Branding is something much deeper, stronger, and less tangible than a visual identity. A brand is who you are and how people feel about you. (I read that somewhere…maybe Seth Godin?) Good branding starts not with a cutesy logo and a whim, but with a core understanding of WHY. A pretty logo and website without a clear WHY and a defined purpose, is like a mansion on the sand. Gorgeous, but always at risk. Understanding your WHY, in business and in your personal life, is paramount to navigating the literally endless decisions that you will face throughout your life. Define and understand your WHY and you will have a plumb line, something to measure against, and ask yourself, "Is this consistent with the purpose that God has clearly laid before me?" We get guilt-ridden and obligated when we misunderstand ourselves. Life is FULL of great things to do, but God didn't call you to just do good stuff. He called you to BE YOU. To show up as yourself, and offer uniquely to the world around you in a way that only you can. (Think I learned that from Emily P. Freeman's book A Million Little Ways.) You ARE created and redeemed to do something amazing with this one life you've been given. When you don't fight the good fight of getting to know your true self, you'll have no Inner Compass guiding you, and you will end up lost. TRUST ME. By the way, if you're lost right now, don't stress and for heaven's sake, DON'T GIVE UP. Sometimes we have to get good and lost to get found.
So what's my point with all of this?
Fighting the good fight to DISCOVER who you were created to be, is perhaps the most important battle of your life. Not just for your life, but for the lives of those you'll effect. There is no magic formula, but there are keys that can help along the way:
-Find others who are fighting the good fight and DO THE JOURNEY TOGETHER. I can't overemphasize the importance of this. Having those who understand where you are and can encourage you along the way can be the difference between giving up and keeping on, keeping on.
-Know that breakthrough is REAL. You will not always feel stuck and lost and uncertain.
-Shame hangs out in the dark, so step into the light and be vulnerable. That doesn't necessarily mean making an announcement on Facebook. But be real with your people.
-Embrace failure, and stop letting it define you. A life well lived will have LOTS of failures on its resume.
P.S. New visual identity is in the works. That's fancy talk for "I'm getting a new logo." Not a new brand…a new visual identity. Think of it like a new outfit. And we chics do dig new outfits. Can't wait to share more…cause I like pretty stuff. ;o)