Being unapologetically you can be easier said than done. I was recently reminded of the importance of staying true to myself when I received an unexpected post from another aspiring web designer. She had reached out to me after she had listened to my guest appearance (episode 161) on the Josh Hall Web Design Show.
She wrote, and I quote.
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When I started my journey as a web designer, I had no idea where it would take me. But, by staying my true self and following my own path, I eventually found my way to where I am today. I’m not finished yet – I’m still exploring, learning, and growing every day. But it was not always this way.
I Lost My Way
When I was in school, I had a real passion for drama. I loved the thrill of being on stage. I vividly remember the moment when I landed my dream role to play the black Mikado in our school’s production of “The Mikado.”
After weeks of rehearsals and preparation, it was finally time for me to take centre stage. And there was no better feeling than being up there, acting with such confidence and freedom, knowing that I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.
But as time went on, I started to lose my confidence. Kids can be so cruel, and I soon became the butt of jokes and ridiculed about how I spoke due to my Jamaican dialect and speech patterns.
I remember feeling so ashamed and embarrassed.
All of the fun and excitement that used to fill me up during drama club slipped away, replaced by anxiety and insecurity. Despite my love for drama, I began to lose my way. I only saw what I thought were my flaws.
By the time I reached my early twenties, I had grown frustrated with my unconventional mix of accents I found myself cringing whenever I heard myself talk.
I was born in Bristol in the UK and raised in a Jamaican household. We spoke Jamaican patwa with broken English mixed with a heavy Bristolian ‘rhotic’ accent. When an opportunity arose to take elocution lessons, I jumped at the chance.
Hoping to hear the last of what I told myself was a dreadful accent, I spent weeks diligently practising those tongue-twisting exercises. But much to my dismay, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to shake that persistent twang from my speech.
it’s egg, not heggs
it’s air, not hair
it’s orange, not horange
Fear of Speaking in Public
As the years went by, I continued to focus my efforts on my professional ambitions. But, no matter where I found myself. I always held myself back in some capacity.
A big part of this came from my deep-seated fear of speaking up or being put in the spotlight. In fact, I sincerely hated public speaking and did everything in my power to avoid it.
For me, writing was a much more comfortable way to express myself, so I tried to channel my energy into creative pursuits like blogging.
The Steps I Took to Loving Myself Unapologetically?
I am now a Grandmother, and I run a business that has helped me find myself again. My business journey forced me to peel back the layers and face my fears head-on. I realised that if I wanted to be successful, I had to face my demons head-on. Or remain in my comfort zone.
Now that I was running my own business there was nowhere to hide – I would have to speak up, go to networking events, and speak in public. Cringe ? I knew I could not do it by myself, after all, I was my own worse enemy. I made the decision to reach out and invest in my personal development.
Priscilla Life Coaching
When I first started working with Priscilla Life Coaching, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as soon as I started working with Priscilla, I quickly realised that her approach was both insightful and down-to-earth.
Priscilla truly listened to me and my concerns, patiently taking the time to understand what lay at the root of my struggles. Through her expert guidance, she gave me valuable tools that I could use in all aspects of my life. I was able to tackle my limiting beliefs about myself, ultimately bringing balance back into my life.
And while the process may not have been easy at times, it was one that I would do again without hesitation.
Sara Saleh Visibility Coach
I was scrolling through Facebook one day when I came across a post by Sara Saleh. She was offering a free five-day challenge to help people overcome their fear of being visible on social media. It was just what I needed, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take the plunge. After all, I had been hiding in the shadows for so long. But something about Sara’s approach resonated with me, so I decided to give it a try.
The challenge was tough, but Sara was there to coach me every step of the way. On the fifth day, I finally summoned the courage to go live on Facebook. It was terrifying, but it was also liberating. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could be myself and be seen for who I really am.
Josh Hall Web Design Coaching
To help me tap into my full potential as a web designer. I joined the Josh Hall Web Design Club for further coaching.
As a member of this prestigious group, I get the chance to be mentored by one of the best in the industry and learn from fellow experts who know the ins and outs of this field.
When I first joined the club, I first felt slightly intimidated by all of the talent and knowledge. Imposter syndrome tried to raise its ugly head. However, I quickly realised that this was a group of people who were passionate about their craft and who were welcoming and willing to share their knowledge to help me improve my skills.
As a result, my confidence has grown and I have benefited immensely from my membership in this club.
Adela Mei – Business Coach & Digital Strategist
I met Adela through Josh’s Web Design Club.
Adela Mei is more than just a business coach and digital strategist – she’s a visionary who has the ability to see the potential in her clients and help them bring their dreams to life.
I had the pleasure of working with Adela recently and was blown away by her insight and ability to connect with me on a personal level. Adela helped me to see my business in a new light and gave me the confidence to be my authentic self. She is truly a gift to the world of business coaching.
Mr O B Jones Esquire – Business Mentor & Life Coach
I left the best till last. The number one business mentor and life coach of all – My late father, Mr O B Jones Esquire.
There’s something to be said for being unapologetically yourself. My father never had the opportunity to get an education when he was younger, but that didn’t stop him from striving to make his dreams come true.
I grew up watching him go after what he wanted, even if it meant failing a few times first. He owned a coal merchant business and failed in a few other business ventures before he finally found success with two restaurants. But through it all, he never lost sight of his goals or let anyone tell him he couldn’t achieve them.
I think one of the biggest lessons I learned from my dad was to be unapologetically myself.
No matter who he was around, or what the situation was, my dad always stayed true to himself. He never changed the way he talked or his mannerisms just to try and fit in with others;
eggs were heggs and
oranges were horanges. ?
And you know what? People loved him for it.
My dad was always the life of the party, and people were drawn to his infectious personality.
He was also fearless and not afraid to take risks.
This willingness to take risks led him to achieve some pretty amazing things in his life. So, when I look back at my dad’s life, I see so many lessons that I now apply to my own life.
If you believe in yourself and work hard for what you want. From one driven entrepreneur to another, I say ‘thank you to my father for teaching me so much about how to live boldly and well.
What does it mean to be Unapologetically You?
Let’s get real – not everyone will like you.
But that does not matter as long as you love yourself.
Being unapologetically you means:-
- being comfortable in your own skin,
- being confident in your own abilities, and
- being proud of your background and culture
- being true to yourself, even when it might not be popular or fashionable
- being brave enough to stand up for what you believe in, even when it might be unpopular or controversial.
Finally, being unapologetic about your true self can help you to find success in all areas of your life, from your career to your personal life.
So don’t be afraid to let your true colours shine through – being unapologetically yourself is a strength, not a weakness that will help you to build strong relationships with others who share your values and who appreciate you for being authentic.
How do I Overcome my Shyness and become more Social?
Being shy can absolutely hold you back from going after your dreams. And that’s okay!
You can do something about it at your own pace.
You can focus on small steps rather than grand life goals.
Instead of trying to overhaul your entire life at once, try making small changes every day that add up over time.
Get a mentor, get a life coach, whatever it takes to get comfortable being unapologetically you.
Face your challenges, and don’t let them stand in the way of what you want most.
Up Your Business Game with a Bespoke Website
One of the benefits of being a web designer. I get to experience the joy and the journey of telling your story through your own unique design.
I turned my love of tech into a passion for web design. Being able to work with women on their brand and website. It’s so rewarding to see their story come alive online in a way that captures their essence and helps them attract their dream clients.
When you’re being unapologetically you, people are drawn to your authenticity and that’s what creates connections with your audience. And that’s something I can wholeheartedly get behind. Working on your brand and design to make sure it accurately represents who you are and what you stand for.
So, if you’re looking for a web designer who will help you tell your story, look no further! I’m here to help you design a website that is uniquely you.
So there you have it!
I’ve shared with you some tools for becoming unapologetically yourself and some of the people that have helped me on my path in business. Mentors and life coaches, to bespoke web design services (if you need one yourself, get in touch!) And if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s this: don’t be afraid to be unapologetically you. Embrace your quirks, your passions and your flaws – they make you unique and beautiful.
What has helped you become more social? How do you embrace your uniqueness? Let me know in the comments below.
I’ve read this over and you over again and I still can’t get over how beautiful this piece is.
Everything you’ve talked about is so relatable. I understand what it feels like to try to change yourself to fit into the world.
I use to have doubts about trying new things because of “what will people say” but I’m learning that doing your own thing and being yourself will help you bring your own clique close to you.
I also love that you added the names to the people who helped you throughout your journey. It goes to show that no man is an island and we shouldn’t be afraid to seek help when we need it.
Thank you for sharing something so beautiful with the world.
Thank you for reading Zainab! I’m glad to hear that you resonated with some of the points made and can relate to them. It’s important to do your own thing and be yourself otherwise, you’ll always be trying to fit into someone else’s mould, which is never fulfilling. Trying new things is all a part of your journey and picking up new skills, knowledge and experiences along the way.
Hi Jamila. Your story is very inspiring and interesting. We all have some goals, but the question is whether we are strong enough to achieve them. The road to the goal is very thorny and painful, so we have to prepare mentally and never give up. I hope that a lot of people will read your post and that it will help them achieve some goals.
Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found it inspiring and interesting. It is definitely true that the road to achieving one’s goals can be thorny and painful, but it is worth it in the end. There is a saying, that pressure makes diamonds. I hope more people will read the blog and be motivated to achieve their own dreams. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Thank for this insightful and resourceful article and on how to be “Unapologetically you”. I would say that I am a confident person but yet there times when I am at that place of doubt as to relates to my ability especially if someone would have made negative remarks. I am still working on being unapologetically me and I know I have made great strides over the years. Will use some of the resources available in this article.
Thank you so much for your kind words about the article, Shevonne. I’m glad you found it helpful. It’s definitely something that happens to us all, the doubts come in, especially when we want to do something new. We just need to remember it’s ok to be ourselves, especially when people try to bring us down. Thank you for being part of the Unapologetically You community! 😀
Wow – that is an awesome article. I know you help women, but it affirmed for me the importance of getting coaches and mentors to help guide you to be yourself. I have had people telling me what to do all my life, but I had a great coach who helped me get away from all that. My wife was the same and it took a long time for her to get over the verbal assaults on who she was and is. I don’t have any specific questions, but I do believe that anybody reading your article and getting your help would benefit greatly. Thanks for being you.
Thank you for reading my article, Steven. I’m glad you found it helpful. Yes, I’m really passionate about helping women find their voice and be themselves, but it’s also great to know it can benefit everyone.
Your wife sounds like an amazing woman and I’m sorry she had to go through that. Coaching can be a powerful tool in helping people unlearn the things they’ve been told all their lives and find their own way. Thank you for your great feedback.
What a gwan, sis! Thank you. I was waiting in anticipation, & it was heart warming, comforting and a very much needed reminder. It’s also resourceful. I did come across Sarah Saleh, but I haven’t tried her, yet. Love the cartoon with the hijabi sisters it makes me feel less alien and more like an earthling, lol.
Everything Criss? ?? Thanks for the feedback, so happy you found the article heartwarming and comforting, that means a lot. Also happy to hear you found it resourceful. The illustrations were done by littlemissrollins I’ll catch you in my next post. Likkle more ?
Absolutely love this blog post Jamila. I often find it hard to read blog posts through but this one was so reflective and beautifully written
. It got me reflecting on my own journey too. Thank you for sharing and I adore your accent ❤
Thank you so much for reading my post, Orlaith. I’m glad you enjoyed it and that it resonated with you. I do love writing more than I do talking lol. And I totally agree with you about my accent, I love it too ?
This has been such an inspirational read and just what I need at the moment. I am a shy person and after a recent breakdown of a long term marriage, 38 years, I find myself lacking in confidence and full of self doubt. I am starting to build a new life for myself and am taking it a day at a time. So small steps yes.
Congratulations for being unapologetically you and inspiring me to continue on the road to becoming unapologetically me.
Thank you for reading my blog. I’m glad to have been able to provide some inspiration and motivation in a difficult time. Every day is a new opportunity to build the life you want, so keep up the good work!
I appreciate you building this website to help women start a career in freelance work and e-commerce development. Your website inspires women to take up these careers, which provide more opportunities for them. Like your examples, I have many female friends who seek to build themselves up to define their passion for overcoming particular challenges we may feel uncomfortable with.
Thank you for your kind words, John. I’m glad you appreciate my website and its mission! I believe that women make incredible contributions to business and I am excited to help more of them get started whether it be freelance work or starting any new business venture. Thank you for your support!