Taking up space and how owning that changes everything
A note from Britt: Bob and I talked with Heather, the author of what you’re about to read, a few weeks ago and during that time we asked her many questions. What makes you love being here? How did you know that BS+Co. was the right place for you? It’s not all been rainbows and sunshine, so why do you stay? And her answers were powerful, thoughtful, and complete. During our conversation, she shared with Bob a post she had seen on social media and how impactful it was to her.
Heather not only shared that post with our entire team but also wrote a piece that allowed each of us to see the more profound impact and meaning for her. I was in a local restaurant when I first read it, and it made me bawl into my scrambled eggs. Not just because I am SO proud that she is a part of a space in the world that I made, but because I needed her message.
This post is not part of a more extensive social media calendar, content strategy, or marketing campaign. This is perfectly Heather, and the world should see it.
BrittI give you: A tall girl story. I know…you’re surprised.
For years and years, throughout almost my entire life, I’ve been tall. Preschool, first grade, seventh grade, adulthood - I’ve always been the tallest girl and was, at times, taller than the boys.
"Why is this important for me to read? I’ve got A LOT to do." I know. Go with me here.
As said tall person, I’m pretty much the clumsiest person you’ll ever meet. I’m basically always covered in at least three significant bruises that, nine times out of ten, I have zero idea of their origin. I bump into things with my knees, elbows, and head. I turn too fast, and I run into people. I am the locator of doorways and furniture, bumps in the sidewalk, and lumps in carpeting. I have fallen up the stairs. An ankle roller on flat ground. Yep. Hopelessly clumsy.
To add to my above-average height, I am also very, very red. What I’m saying is: that I stick out.
So why…WHYYY??! WHY whenever I’ve entered a room for basically all my life, have I felt the need to cower? To dim myself? To pretend I’m smaller, quieter, less capable, or, let’s be honest, somewhat invisible? My inner dialogue would be apologizing for my perceived overwhelming presence in a room. Yes, really. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry - I’ll try to be smaller.” HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT?! But that’s what I did. That’s how I was.
I’ve always been so used to literally bumping my head and resetting to successfully get through the doorway and not run into the door the second time (yes, I’m laughing at myself) but too scared that I might metaphorically hit my head or run into the door (a.k.a fail) in every other aspect of my life that I was too crippled with fear to try or to speak up or just do. Be perfect the first time, or don’t try. WHAT THE HECK?! That’s not attainable. But that’s how I’d always been.
And with this “smallenning” came an overarching inability to own up to who and how I am in so very many spaces in my life. This fear of being “too much” or “too bright” in most spaces in my life had even dug its claws into my presence in my work at every single place of employment I had EVER worked at.
That was all my daily reality - until I randomly read the quote above earlier this year while scrolling social media. And at that moment, something clicked.
This one random little message that I almost scrolled past managed to reset my entire perspective on my existence. And with the instantaneous, snap decision that reset my brain and body came: freedom.
- Freedom to laugh as loud as I actually laugh.
- Freedom to say, “Yeah, I don’t know what you mean. Can you redefine that?” instead of just nodding so as not to look “dumb” but then actually being “dumb” because I didn’t just freaking ask.
- Freedom to ask all the questions, including asking for help.
- Freedom to speak up when I actually do know what the heck I’m talking about instead of saying “I think” or “maybe” or anything else passive.
Example: watching the Perseid Meteor Shower this past weekend, there was a gentleman there who said he thought the meteors were coming from somewhere that was incorrect. Six months ago, I’d have said, “Oh, huh. I’m not sure.” Last weekend? I excitedly told him the correct answer (the Swift-Tuttle Comet). For me, that was huge!
- Freedom to share how I really feel.
- Freedom to share what I really think.
- Freedom to disagree.
- Freedom to try and fail!
- Freedom to show up feeling like a boss chick.
- Freedom. To. Be. Awesome.
My hope in sharing this is that, in any way that it may apply to you, this provides that same freedom in your life.
No more cowering.
If you need something: go find it.
Pursue your passions unabashedly!
Walk into a room excited to be in it.
ASK. FOR. WHAT. YOU. WANT.
Sucking sucks, but failure is the only way to figure out how not to suck, so dig in and be okay with failing!
Celebrate your wins, too!
Don’t forget your humility… it’ll keep you honest.
But stop trying to contort yourself into something you’re not.
Stop showing the world, our team, your friends, families, our companies, ANYONE anything less than the ‘you’ you actually WANT TO show up as.
You’re meant to be here.
I know I am! I am a force to be reckoned with for my companies and in all sorts of other ways throughout every aspect of my life. #Beastmode
And in reference to who and how we are (I am) here at BS+Co.:
In my opinion, no person who lives a life of “eek, I’m not sure,” aka me just a short while ago, can ever or will ever be as successful as they really want to be in this unique and amazing space we work in every single day as anything other than their full self.
You take up space.
I hope this gives each of you even a glimmer of the “YAAASSSS” moment it gave me.
Now go get ‘em, guys.