Take off the costume

I’m hosting my first Halloween party tonight. I said I would host a month ago and — naturally — I waited until my lunch hour today to prepare.

In my haphazard attempt at party planning, I found myself in the Halloween aisle at Target. I was spinning my wheels about dressing up as someone (or something) else for my party. I started laughing at my own thoughts, which always garners some concerned looks.

One day a year we overtly dress up like something or someone else. We go home, we wash off the make up and put away the costume and go to bed.

Many of us wake up the next morning only to put on a different kind of costume. We expend our energy on playing a part. The show is often inadvertent. We don’t realize how our desire to fit in or stand out or people please monopolizes our lives.

I was so distracted with this line of thought that I walked right into a shelf of cat skeletons, thus scaring the ever living crap out of myself.

No wonder my mother never let us celebrate Halloween growing up.

I spent my childhood dressing up as a mini adult.

I spent my teenage years playing the role of straight-A-student by day, and too-cool-for-school-rebel by night.

I spent most of my adulthood putting on my greatest rendition of, I-have-it- all-together.

Things fell apart at some point in my life and I was too tired to be anyone other than exactly who I am. Which, as it turns out, is equal parts adult and child; it’s equal parts hot mess and cool-calm-collected.

Now that I can own it, it is well with my soul.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how all of this applies to building a brand.

We have to play a role in order to be effective as brands. We have to choose how we want to be perceived by our clients and make every effort to show up as that and as nothing else.

Brands often reflect human characteristics, but they are not, in fact, human.

If you want to be fun, but you don’t want to be perceived as the conductor of the hot mess express, you have to figure out where that line is.

If you want to make people laugh, but you don’t want to be a laughing stock, you have to figure out where that line is.

If you want to be an expert, but you don’t want to be pretentious, you have to figure out where that line it.

I can’t tell you where that line is.

But I can tell you where it’s not.

That line is not a place where you feel like you spend all day masquerading around as someone else.

It’s not positioned in such a way where you are stifling the traits you love about yourself.

It doesn’t come close to the space in which you are no longer yourself.

Whether you’re dressing up today or watching other humans play their roles and perform their renditions of this performance called life, dig deep to find yourself.

And if you’re building a brand, bring your favorite parts of that self into it.

Laura Diaz is the CEO and Senior Strategist at Kiss Me Creative where they make client love all day long. Her super powers are efficiency, follow through and creativity based on sound logic. She enjoys long sips of coffee and short lines at Starbucks.

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