If you ever find yourself a little too worried about what other people think, this might be for you. There’s a notion often drilled into us, especially women: good girls submit to authority. While there is a time and a place to understand hierarchy, this idea is often taught without nuance, leaving so many women scrambling as they get older to find who they are outside of what someone taught them to be and how to have their own voice and opinions that can actually change lives. They see the problems but the wiring is not really allowing them to give voice to their innovation. This mindset can be particularly pervasive in professional settings, where we are taught to respect and adhere to established practices and rules. While learning from industry leaders and understanding the rules is essential, this deference can stifle innovation and personal growth.

The status quo is one of the most significant hurdles to building a brand, and good girls are amazing at operating in systems and deferring to authority. It’s how things have always been done, the entrenched norms and practices that often go unquestioned. But to build a standout brand, you must be willing to challenge these norms. Oddly enough, the status quo is usually the problem we recognize within our industry that forced us into business in the first place – the gap in the familiar but outdated way of doing things that didn’t serve us or our audience. And while it’s important to understand and respect the industry standards, it’s equally crucial to recognize when and how to deviate from them. Exploring and exploiting the gaps is how to lean into innovation and growth. We have to learn the rules – learn from the authorities, understand why things are done a certain way, and appreciate the reasons behind established standards – and then break them, but we’re so wired to listen to authority that we allow them to dictate what is good for us and never expand past them.

If you’re always worried about upsetting or upstaging the authority, you’ll never be able to present your unique perspective. Your industry needs your voice and your vision. There’s a constant evolution in every field, and what worked in the past may not be relevant now. Your fresh perspective could be what moves the industry forward.

Undying deference to authority will stifle your brand. It’s not about being rebellious for the sake of it but about recognizing the need for change and having the courage to act on it. Ask questions. Challenge the norms. Make changes. This is how you grow yourself, your audience, and your industry. Your solutions, your way of doing things, might serve someone better than the established methods.

Here are some ways to move forward: 

  1. Self-Reflection: Identify the root causes of deference to authority, acknowledge your feelings, and evaluate the legitimacy of the authority.
  2. Building Confidence: Educate yourself deeply, develop expertise to gain credibility, and seek supportive mentors.
  3. Ask Questions: Start by questioning minor norms. Ask constructive questions to show curiosity and propose well-researched alternatives when challenging authority.
  4. As Always, Incorporate Self-Care: Create space for activities that nourish your spirit, mind, and body while you stay centered and reduce stress. This will help you Build resilience to handle pushback, cultivate a growth mindset valuing continuous learning, and create a community that supports you. 
  5. Developing Intuition: When cared for, you have a foundation for listening to your instincts in decision-making. Practice regularly by making small, intuitive decisions daily to strengthen this skill, and reflect on the results of your choices to refine your understanding.
  6. Be Balanced: Respect valuable contributions while challenging outdated practices, collaborate with authority figures and peers, and embrace mistakes and challenges as learning opportunities.
  7. Reflect and Adjust: Regularly reflect on progress and adjust your approach; celebrate small wins to reinforce positive behavior, and remember that established perspectives tend to be there for a reason. Don’t be so prideful not to learn as you innovate. 

Putting your solutions into the world, even if they contradict the established norms, is not about disrespecting the work of those who came before you but building on it to create something even better. Don’t just be a good girl who sits under the authority Show up as the brilliant force that you are. Demonstrate what’s been missing because the world has never met you before. Your unique solutions and perspectives are valuable so share your version of the magical solution. We need you, sis!

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