Woman kicking ocean waves

Too direct. Honest. Aggressive.

You ask too many questions. Stop rocking the boat. Why do you care so much?

I’ve been called a lot of things. Sometimes to my face. And mostly (which is way worse) behind my back. By other women.

I spent my first career hustling for other people’s approval. Despite being told to “just be yourself,” I was constantly rejected when I was myself- direct, honest, funny, self-deprecating, passionate about change. I was desperate to belong when all I did was fit in. (Brene Brown: Belonging is, I get to be me. Fitting in is, I have to be like you.)

The cool thing about being 40+ and having survived personal and professional fires, is that I’ve learned what and who matters to me. Now that I am out on my own, I see that my labels weren’t wrong. They just came from the wrong people in the wrong environment.

I am direct. I am honest. (Aggressive? Maybe. That one’s subjective and laden with gendered, geographic expectations.)

My labels make me who I am. They also make me a great career coach, writer, consultant, and speaker. I do care. A lot. I listen deeply to my clients and I am honest with them about what I hear, so they can be honest with themselves. I am the coach that I needed when I was struggling. I am the writer for others that they don’t know how to be for themselves.

Funny how all the things that I was told I should dislike about myself are really assets. Chances are, this is the case for you, too.

What labels are you re-claiming?

I’ve learned that taking on a label can actually free you from it.

-Aidy Bryant, Hilarious Badass and star of Shrill on Hulu