photo by Danette
What would it be like if you could still be yourself while being a professional? Do you think it's possible? What images are conjured by the word "professional"? Anything you want to be?
These are questions I explored when creating Authentic Professionalism (TM) in response to a request from the wonderful Danette Relic. Danette is a part of a rocking group of woman, including hoopdance instructor Allison Tarr and massage therapist Michelle Yee, who refer to themselves as a Power Pod. These women are vibrant, creative, loving and full of kick. They regularly meet and support each other in pursuit of their dreams. Danette asked me if I would talk to them about professionalism, a topic that kept coming up at their meetings.
The more I thought about it, the more inspired I became. I wanted to create something that would help these women and other creative independents define themselves as professionals in a way that they could really get behind. Instead of a boring definition full of "shoulds," what would it be like to create an authentic professional code that represented who you are and what you want to bring to your work? What would it be like to have an authentic professional code that would serve both as inspiration and also as a guidance system en route to your dreams?
There is an oppressive myth out there that in order to be taken seriously, to be successful, to make money, to be professional, (feel free to add your own words), you must fit a particular mould, do things a certain way. And if you're an independent spirit, a creative being inspired to start your own business, build your own practice, share your own creations, I know one thing -- you didn't choose that path because you wanted to do things just like everyone else. The beautiful thing is that each part of the process can be a part of your self-discovery and self-expression.
When I worked through the Authentic Professionalism (TM) process, I was surprised to find that one of my professional standards is "style." Seeing that helped me define my priorities and understand how deeply committed I am to my business being a work of creative self-expression. If you were to create your own unique set of professional standards, what would they be? What can you get behind?