Want to be a free spirit? Three lessons I learned from my first trip to Africa in over a decade.
I ran, I danced, I sang at the top of my lungs. This was my mother’s village and I was home! I had never visited. I had never touched the ground where my ancestors were buried. No light, and barely any water to bathe, but I ran around and greeted elders played with kids, and rolled in the grass as if I had just drank 25 red bulls. Later, my cousin looked at me, as I clapped the dust off my palms and wiped my pants. I had rolled around in the red dirt with the kids from the neighbor’s house for what seemed like hours. I was filthy but smiling from ear to ear. ” I envy your free spirit Sis,” my cousin said “I wish I could just talk to strangers, laugh, and play but people will see and think I am crazy”. I put my arm around him and as we walked into the compound I whispered in his ear “We’re all a little bit crazy aren’t we”.
Being comfortable with self-expression is a crucial element of entrepreneurship. It helps you become more relatable and helps customers to build a dynamic relationship by seeing the most authentic you. If you’re uncomfortable with self-expression, here are some small steps you can take to unleash the inner, wilder, more authentic you:
Stop and Smell the Roses. If you’re in NYC like me, you’re not stopping and smelling the roses, in fact, you’re trying not to smell anything: the armpits of someone holding on to a pole on the subway, the odor of dead rats as you exit from the train or the waft of too much perfume as you walk down the Madison. We can get stuck in the day-to-day, the humdrum of our lives, and the drama that exists or doesn’t exist. But how often do we actually take time out to be grateful that we can own or operate a business, that we have a place to lay our wandering minds to rest, or that we have people that actually love the crazy humans that we are? Practice gratefulness and you’ll feel more comfortable in how you present to the world. Here’s a great way to jumpstart this habit: Every time you pick up an item or enter a room, stop for a second and ask yourself a very important question: How did I get this/ how did I get here? I guarantee you memories will come flooding back and you’ll feel grateful for the twists and turns of life that led you to that object or situation.
Smile & Laugh
Like seriously, allow yourself to be pleasant. What is it about today’s society that sees smiling and pleasantness as something abstract? Have you ever smiled at someone and they looked at you like you were absolutely crazy? Many people walk around not knowing whether to be happy or sad. They take their cues from what everyone else is doing. Trust, it’s not you, it’s them. So give yourself the gift of laughter my friend and CHOOSE to be intentional about your happiness. Did you know laughter decreases cortisol, increases immune cells, and fights infections? So we might be talking weight-loss, and not getting sick. Laughter is by far the easiest way to maintain that sexy body! So take time to give your body what it actually needs.
Eliminate “Supposed To Be’s”
If you’ve ever said, “This is how it’s supposed to be”. Ask yourself “Is it really?” Society will tell you how to look, what to eat, how to speak, how to love, and how to breathe! Your only “supposed to be” is what has made you/will make you truly happy. Acting based on “supposed to be’s” is a waste of time because you’ll always desire to do what you love to do. So before you make any decisions, especially life-changing ones, ask yourself the following question: Am I honestly happy with this decision or is this pressure from external voices? Get comfortable with the idea that you can’t please everyone and it’s not your job to do so. It’s your job to enjoy what life has to offer. Stay in the present, live without reservations, enjoy the things that make you happy and finally allow yourself to be free.