Self 02 May 2019
I seek to find meaning in every experience that I have or in anyone that I connect with. I crave a valuable existence.
Therefore, I apply myself conscientiously and wholeheartedly in every aspect, including my life at home, at school, with friends, with family, and with my business: Nudesox.
I am a thoughtful friend, a resourceful person, and a deep thinker; my strength in finding value in various parts of my life brings me happiness and stability. Self-reflection has allowed me to really understand myself and how I can discover my purpose.
I try my best to start and end my day with reflection. One way that I have found balance in my life is through yoga and meditation, but any type of reflective thinking about the day counts! Another tool for finding happiness and peace within myself is reading a gratitude list that I add to from time to time. I find that listing events, thoughts, people, and scenarios from my past and present that make me happy, allows me to fully focus on what I do have in my life, rather than what might be missing. If I don't review my list and practice meditation, I lose focus on what really matters and all that I have to be thankful for. If you, yourself, are not balanced, how can you expect your life to be? It is easy to get caught up in the physical aspect of life, which is why spirituality and self-reflection are so important. Self-work is crucial to personal wellbeing, but it is also important to have a balanced environment, and to surround yourself with people who allow you to thrive.
Through my reflections, I have realized that my values do not necessarily align with all of my friends' or family's. Once I understood this, it became easier for me to accept that I cannot have certain expectations from people. Just because I have a certain value, does not mean that the person I am dealing with will have that value as well. This clarity has allowed me to better read people's deeper motivations. Being able to comprehend the inner workings of personal relationships has enabled me to better understand the dynamic between a brand and its customer. By discerning people's values and perspectives, I am able to predict the outcome of a situation and better prepare myself to engage with someone. In business, it is harder to know your customers' mindsets without having interacted with them several times, so it is important to make your brand valuable in and of itself to encourage buyer loyalty.
The work of self-reflection is a powerful tool in both life and business. Throughout this practice, I have gained five primary strengths that aided me in establishing my business, Nudesox, a women's athleisure sock brand in five shades of nude.
The ability to focus my mind in silence has greatly honed my analytical abilities. Having just a few moments of silence during a busy day can have a huge impact on my efficiency when completing daily tasks. Making the time to think about your needs makes you more likely to fulfill them; your priorities become clearer and you are able to achieve more after dissecting the task at hand.
Self-Reflection allowed me to gain insight into how other people think and why they behave the way they do. When you really learn to understand yourself, it becomes easier to understand others. In business, it is important to understand your consumer and what kind of product or service they need. With this understanding, you can grow your business by releasing products that fit your customer's needs, as well as creating a community of raving buyers.
In general, I consider myself to be a reactive person. However, learning how to meditate and finding my center has taught me to recalibrate and relax in stressful situations. By not reacting, I am able to step back and handle situations with more clarity and maturity. I have the ability to assess my options and choose the more appropriate one. It is crucial to make good decisions in business because one mistake can ruin the brand image. In daily life outside of business; just one mistake can ruin a brand's image. In your personal relationships, it may be easier to seek redemption, but it is much harder for a business to be forgiven.
Being more aware of myself and what makes me feel good has allowed me to strengthen my character and be more demanding of what I need. Building my self-worth has allowed me to see my value and what I am able to create. That level of confidence is vital in business because without it you can't strive to do the impossible, which is the mindset it takes to be successful. The main reason why people don't take the step to start something of their own is that they believe that they are not capable of greater achievements. It is far easier to stay in your comfort zone than to abandon your routine and try something new that involves risk, but confidence allows you to believe in yourself, even if it starts out as fake confidence.
Taking some time to stop and clear your mind gives you the ability to think deeply and openly, allowing fresh, new thoughts to become clear. By simply being conscious of your breathing, you allow your mind to expand and fill with genuine ideas that flow effortlessly. These thoughts are more pure because there is no force behind them and they emerge straight from your consciousness. Creativity is always important in running a business from the very moment your idea is born. You need to be constantly innovating to keep up with the market and stay relevant. People always want the latest and greatest, so it important to use creativity towards that.
Tips for feeling more at peace with yourself:
Although self-reflection has helped me in so many ways, there are always going to be times when I need an extra boost. These tips help me put things in perspective and return to my center when I feel a little lost.
1.Sometimes I feel like I am having a quarter-life crisis because I feel like I have so much left to do. But, being busy is a good thing; it means that you are living your life to the fullest. Regardless of that fact, it is easy to become overwhelmed by everything on our plate. Whenever you have this issue, picture yourself as a bird. Slowly start flying and zoom out of that image and picture your surroundings, then zoom out even more, and watch as your surroundings shrink beneath you. Zoom out of your city, out of your country, out of the world, and you will realize how small you are in comparison to life as a whole.
2.I am the type of person who puts pressure on myself to be successful and to be successful fast. When things don't go my way or as I planned, I stress out. I think it is fair to say that a majority of us think about ourselves and our lives in relation to time. We tend to map out the way we want things to work out, or where we want to be in X number of years. One thing that relieves this type of pressure is to think about each year as a percentage of our lives. Let's say that with the progression of technology and advancements in medicine, we live until we're 100 years old. That means that each year is only 1% of our entire existence. That's nothing! When you train your mind to have a wider perspective on life, time starts to feel like less of a burden, and more of a tool to progress along your journey.
3.If you don't relate to the stressors in these examples, the next time you feel overwhelmed in any way, you can always just stare into the sky. There is something so peaceful about spacing out into the stars or clouds. It is another way to remind yourself how tiny you are in comparison to the universe. If you can't find a clear sky nearby, just visualize yourself in relation to the sky and remember that in the end, it will all work out, even if it is not the way you pictured it. No matter which industry you work in, or how old you may be, just know that you are capable and can reach your goals through self-reflection and a passionate determination to be of more value to society.
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.