At some point in time, something, whether you call it Divine Grace, God or a Higher power, calls us to embrace our unique selves and to move front and center!  I’m discovering this through my interactions and photography branding process with my clients that what appears to be a surface passion for photography and fashion is really a tool for helping to support women and girls embrace and own who they are. I call it their inner BOSS. My client, Missy Kirkpatrick, co-owner of Lindale Golf Club/Taylor Glen Golf Course, calls it their DRIVE!

It is truly amazing how in the 21st century, women in particular, still sideline their dreams, their aspirations all to follow the crowd or to fit in. I’m finding that this is an all too common occurrence among women, especially Midwestern women who have this group follow ailment.  I call it ailment because it is often a lifetime uneasiness that, women feel they must please everyone but themselves, that they must look and feel the way the ‘group’ thinks to the detriment, and even decline in our health and death of our own dreams.

Louise Hay, popular guru of positive thinking says you can tell the life of an older person by their face. The road they traveled: their happiness, their stress, their health or unhealthiness by looking at their face. Your face is a mirror or a reflection of the life you have lived…how happy, unhappy and stressful it has been.

Far too many women, look tired from the battle of trying to fit in and not following their purpose. Again, the tone of the Midwest is a land of blending in. If you sway in the least bit from the cliché’ definition of a ‘Midwest woman,’ you may find yourself standing out as someone who thinks more of themselves vs someone who is trying to live the life of their passion.

All too often, I have heard and witnessed women who deny who they are just so people won’t say mean things or treat them different. It is easier to fit in and go along, and suffer internal and external consequences vs embracing the beautiful and unique gift that you are. Many of us can’t handle the rejection so what do we do, we shrink who we are to make our family, friends and co-workers feel better, only to realize, often too many years later, that that inner voice who tells you that there is more to you; there is more for your life kicks in.

Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology Officer of Cisco, one of the top tech executives in the country discusses in a recent article in BizWomen, how she “complied with the notion” of company culture that engineers are to look a certain way and that was the “grungy look.” She even stated how she “dyed her hair silver to look older,” despite the fact that she loved fashion and high heels.

Like many women she complied, until she embraced her inner self and evolved forward into her style.

Warrior says she “now encourages women to embrace unique styles.” She goes on to say, “I want to come across as an authentic leader who is approachable.” Being who you truly are is nothing but authentic.  Now, many may be saying fashion and style don’t make a person, and it doesn’t, but it does represent an inner part of who you are. And, when you deny and constrict any part of who you are, there are internal and external consequences. One of which, is that many of us may never rise to the level that the divine has for us because it requires that we break from tradition to move front and center into who we are even if that means looking different from the crowd. Would we ever know Oprah,  Lisa Nichols, Joel Osteen, great artists, musicians, or great leaders? Do they blend in? Of course not, and each have their own distinct style. But, too many women, settle and blend in, often with the consequences of low self-esteem, and the lack of confidence in who we really are.  All the while ignoring that inner quiet voice.

I’m finding that through my love of photography, style and visual branding that with women, in particular I’m helping to break those chains of blending, sometimes kicking and screaming, but I’m supporting women to move toward their inner BOSS. I’m not suggesting that style is the end and beginning of who you are, but it does represent an expression of who you are authentically, no matter what it is. And when you deny it, you are denying a part of your inner essence Supporting women, girls and entrepreneurs to strive and thrive with a newness and power that is Beautiful, Original, Stylish and Self-Confident, and I call that BOSS!