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You Get to Define You


When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a Kimberly. In my mind, Kimberly was everything I aspired to be (Ah! The fantasies of youth!). But for years it seemed I was destined to be a Kim.

Now there’s nothing wrong with Kim. I know a lot of wonderful Kims. But I never felt like a Kim. Kim was someone else. I felt like an imposter-Kim. Yet everyone I knew called me Kim.

I remember in college I said to one of my professors, “I really wish people would call me Kimberly.” And he said, in his typical snarky way, “Kimberly?! Good God! You’re not a Kimberly!” And so, I tucked my Kimberly-dream away. Who was I to be a Kimberly?

So often we turn our identity over to other people. How they define us becomes more important than how we define ourselves. Their opinions of us – of who we are and who we should be – drown out our internal voices. We lose the ability to own ourselves.

But what’s the price we pay? If every day we feel as if we must pretend to be someone we’re not, how does that impact our ability to show up powerfully in this world?

Related: To Connect and Make a Difference, You Have to Get Real … With Yourself

I think one of the most important things we can do is honor the person we truly know ourselves to be. For how can we fully show up and bring our gifts and make an impact if we are diminishing our power by disowning our truth? We can’t.

Your biggest job in this world is to know yourself, own your truth, and take responsibility for the impact that you make.

So after college, when I moved to Seattle, I emerged from my Kim-cocoon and started to introduce myself as Kimberly. My confidence increased ten-fold. I knew I could count on myself to own my truth. That is the birthplace for personal power.

Today, many, many, many years later, I stand tall in Kimberly’s shoes. They’re really not any better than Kim’s but they’re mine, and that makes all the difference.

Your power lies in being who you truly are. Give yourself permission to own your truth. #BraveLeadership

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