What’s behind a label

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We use labels like makeup – to hide an array of self-perceived deficiencies and show a version of ourselves we’re comfortable with.

In business, we’re accustomed to working with labels. In fact, great brands live by their labels.

  • Lexus: relentless pursuit of luxury

  • Emirates: positioning as a global lifestyle brand

  • Arnotts: there is no substitute for quality

Labels divert our attention and distract us from focusing on the less appealing aspects of a brand.

  • Lexus: the petrol-guzzling pollutant

  • Emirates: ignore our treatment of women

  • Arnotts: over-processed sugar and fat

As individuals we use labels in the same way, to avoid exploring a contradiction or accepting something you find confusing or unacceptable. There’s a lot to be learned from your labels whether you’re a people pleaser, a procrastinator or a perfectionist.

If looking behind the label seems like a bad idea (let sleeping dogs lie I hear you say) try this: Imagine you’re an explorer, endlessly curious, eager to push the boundaries, equipped to work through the risks knowing something extraordinary awaits on the other side. Progression, momentum, freedom!

Fiercely independent is a label I wore proudly for decades.

I’ve built businesses, travelled the world, done some really cool stuff off the back of it, but a few weeks ago I realised ‘fiercely independent’ was a cover for something less palatable.

Endlessly curious about the human condition, always eager to find the next level of freedom, I created space to explore.

By definition, a fiercely independent person is strong, willful and brave, never scared of going it alone. We are survivors.

Yet business success is all about teamwork; building relationships; collaboration; two heads is often better than one. Could ‘fiercely independent’ be holding me back?

Internal contradictions and conflicts cause greater hardship than any we encounter externally – because we’re unaware of their existence and ill-equipped to deal with them. ‘Fiercely independent’ was slowing me down, well that was my gut feel, but I like process. I needed evidence before making a decision to keep or retain this well-worn label of mine.

Here’s what I found:

As a fiercely independent person I never have to:

  • ask anything of anyone

  • feel vulnerable

  • or risk the sting of rejection.

Ouch and WOW! Slightly confronting at first glance but I know this process. Nothing wrong, nothing to fix; just some really cool stuff to learn.

The 2021 International Women’s Day theme is #womenlead. Honour yourself, look inward, and learn to lead ‘this’ woman first.

There’s been a lot of upside to ‘fiercely independent’ but until I recognised the label I had no choice to be fierce or not. Now I’m free to choose it, use it, or lose it.

Do you have an ethical or personal dilemma that’s causing you stress and frustration?

Worry no more! Even the world’s top performers find it hard to know what’s right all the time.

With my unique, life-changing training, you will discover how to restructure your decision making process so you never feel stuck or conflicted again

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With my unique, life-changing training, you will discover how to restructure your decision making process so you never feel stuck or conflicted again.

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