Boxes are Too Small for People

SPOILER: If you happily fit in a box, then you’re probably not that interesting.

Picture by Me
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Yes, that is a drawing of mine. I decided to challenge myself to do my own cover photo. I am not talented at drawing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to draw or enjoy drawing. This is the basic premise for this article.

Looking back at 22 years of life, I was a lot of things. I was a WWE fan, a KPOP fanatic, a soccer player, a gamer girl, a songwriter. I’d like to think that each of those me’s are still with me and they make the Ana Guerra you know now, which is not the Ana Guerra of tomorrow.

2 years ago, I thought this was it (#stupidmillennialcrisis?). I was a future marketer who wrote about personal development on the side. What I did in my spare time, besides listening to music, always had to do with my career in business. As time went by, I felt more and more compelled to branch into different things. I wanted to write about society, I wanted to get in touch with my musical side again, I wanted to try film and edit. I wanted more. I’m the member who leaves the girl band. I’m the Country singer who switched to Pop.

I felt inspired by the likes of Childish Gambino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. All of whom managed to build a successful cross-industry career. Maybe this is why I loved High School Musical so much. It showed people could be much more than one thing. Even the cast was what the showbiz calls, a Triple Threat. They can sing, dance and act (and are all extremely good looking, hello?).

Masterpiece in the making

One day, a friend of mine said, “In the Renaissance era, people had more interesting careers. They would explore every one of their interests, whether they were related or not. Think about Leonardo da Vinci, he was a painter, sculptor, scientist, engineer…”. You could argue Da Vinci was extremely talented, which he was. However, what really distinguished him from mere mortals was his capacity to feed his curiosity and the patience to develop his crafts.

Later on, I found myself reading about Leonardo da Vinci again and I understood what was missing in my life. I wasn’t giving in to curiosity enough. I was making rational decisions which would support my career. Everything that would not fit into that description, I rejected it as a valuable way to spend my time. I now know, there’s more to life than your career. With that in mind, that night, after reading countless blog posts and articles about the Renaissance period and some of its iconic people, I decided I was going to be more. I opened Trello and wrote down everything I loved to do with my time. Then I turned each sentence into actual goals. Some more long term than others. Suddenly, Ana could be a marketer, a writer and a content creator. At different times of her life or all at once. The possibilities seemed endless. In that moment, I felt like there was not enough time to accomplish everything I wanted to be in life, so I had to get to work!

There’s a lot of advice out there about building a personal brand. I think it’s important to care about your personal brand and see yourself as a brand. Still, first and foremost, we are humans, not companies. Humans connect with humans, so if you want to build a community, you can’t maintain this very perfect image, you have to let your guard down and explore different sides of yourself. You need to be happy with who you are.

Gary Vaynerchuk believes you should monetize your passion. That’s a great idea, but know that not every hobby has to be monetized and shared with the world. It depends on what feels right for you. Hobbies are often seen negatively due to not being “actual work”, just something you usually do for yourself. God forbid you take care of yourself, right? Hobbies are healthy. I think it’s pretty admirable to just engage in an activity with no other interest besides making you happier.

My wish is that you connect with every part of yourself. Be a shapeshifter. Look for yourself everywhere and become motivated by the fact you will never find it. The world will constantly try to put you in a box so you don’t have you to worry about it yourself.

When was the last time you wanted to do something but didn’t because of what others would think? When was the last time you wanted to do something but didn’t because “it wasn’t you…”?

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