To have a freedom lifestyle and business, one must not be afraid to stand out from the crowd and be whoever they want to be! In the words of Coco Chanel, the pioneering and unusual French designer, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different!”
From the beginning of Chanel’s career, her focus was on defying convention. She didn’t like the way women were forced to look and feel awkward and uncomfortable to be fashionable by society’s standards. And from hating corsets, she was able to change women’s fashion by designing pieces that were casually elegant and were comfortable.
In the beginning, she was heavily attacked by the media, but refused to give in…. “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”, she would argue. Her vision for a different standard of luxury made her one of the most important figures in the history of fashion. In the 1920s-1930s, she was unique and stood out from the crowd. Her chic black dresses and trademark suits were timeless designs that are still popular today. “The most courageous act is to think for yourself. Aloud”, she said.
Her first success was a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. Many people asked where she bought it and her response was to offer to make them one. “My fortune was built on that old jersey that I’d put on because it was cold in Deauvile”, she said. Chanel’s work radiates her value to be completely free to be herself.
What lesson can be learnt here?
Like Chanel, you need to make the most out of your uniqueness. Nobody else can draw from the same experiences that you have faced in your childhood and teenage years, or even in your day-to-day life. Nobody has had the same jobs as you, the same parents as you or has even met the same people as you. Your originality lies within these moments. Most people are too busy to notice their unique selling point because most people are too busy being what someone else wants them to be.
Successful entrepreneurs are prepared to be themselves. They are ready to test the waters and make stuff happen. They are ready to make the most of their own experiences whether they are good or bad. They see living as a build up of original moments and they do not wish to be like anyone else, because there is no one like them.
We spend so much time in our lives, not being who we really are, or being too afraid, or too in control, or too escapist. There is a huge pressure on everyone to be someone else or to live up to others’ expectations. Examples of these include being the perfect employee, the perfect parent, the “funny” friend, or the high-achieving daughter. We put so much stress on ourselves to fill these roles that we start losing the ability to be good at being ourselves. We start to forget who we are. We start becoming indistinguishable from the rest who are also trying to be just like everyone else.
To be successfully creative and lead a fulfilling happy life, we need to realise that it is ok to be ourselves. We need to recognise that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and that it is important to use both strengths and weaknesses to your advantage. The biggest benefit you can be to your company, business, friends or family is to accentuate your uniqueness. This is a difficult task in a society that puts huge emphasis on conformity.
You need to analyse and understand what makes you tick and take the time to get to know yourself fully. Self-knowledge will help you to understand that you have something to offer that is special.
1. Write down a list of your strengths.
2. Write down why you chose each of these characteristics.
3. Write down an action that you could do over the next week that play up to each these strengths.
A fulfilling and free life does not come from being a mediocre version of someone else; it comes from being the best version of you. Go out and share with people your authenticity. Hopefully you will draw them towards a freedom lifestyle.