Pause On The Play Ep 13
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Erica Courdae Hello, hello, and welcome back to Pause on the Play. As always, it is amazing to see you here where you are challenged to examine your beliefs, question your predisposed notions, and consider realities you may be unfamiliar with in order to understand that they too are real. I am your host and conversation MC for the day, Erica Courdae, here to get the dialogue going. I like doing it by myself sometimes, but I like conversations. Therefore, I like having people come in and talk and you know who I like having the most. That will be India Jackson of India Jackson Artistry. I am not alone today. You have two of us. Welcome back as always, India.
India Jackson Thank you. Thank you.
Erica Courdae You know that most of the time when India and I have conversations, it does end up kind of stemming into these conversations that I find very valuable to bring to you. We began having a conversation. I started with it last week for you around visibility and mindset. I think that visibility and mindset is a big thing, and like I told you, I wanted to come back and talk about it, but I really wanted to kind of shift into giving you something that you can consider for yourself. Last week, I talked about what it felt like for me when I began to really embrace my beliefs and values and ethics, being a part of how I ran my beauty business Silver Immersion, and then how when I started Erica Courdae, I realized that these weren't just the values for my beauty business, these were my values.
Erica Courdae While I absolutely believe in you are not your business so that you don't tie your worth and your value up in it which can be a dangerous thing, which I think I will talk about on another episode, it's the fact that when these ethics really affect how I move through life, that it's a thing. When you begin to consider making shifts for yourself, if you're moving through imperfect allyship and you are seeing where there are things in your life that need to be adjusted, well, for yourself, there's some visibility and mindset kind of things that can come up when you are considering what parts of who you are and how you move through life you want to include in your business. I felt like India would be able to really give some insight into that because for her with creating imagery, how people see themselves is the bottom line and how they use this imagery and how this imagery tells the story and evokes these emotions. That's what makes her way of capturing moments so different.
Erica Courdae India, I'd actually like you to start by giving a little bit of your take on how visibility and mindset really pops up for you, and when you're capturing your clients and their story.
India Jackson Wow, there's so many things that come to mind in that area. For me personally, when I started in the creative industry, I was actually a model and you're basically a human coat hanger, or a blank canvas if you're working with a makeup brand. It was never really about how you wanted to be seen. When I started my photography business, it was really all about getting to truly know the client, who they are, where they are at, and then also where they want to go and showcasing how they want to be seen, but also getting them in front of the people that they want to be seen by. There's a lot that goes into the psychology behind kind of marrying who you are with... Maybe you're not quite yet, but you know is direction you're headed. Then also doing that in a way that will attract the people that are in that arena, and still feeling authentic.
India Jackson I just find that there's so many things inside of people that they know is there, and maybe their best friend know is there. Erica, you and I run into the same thing, we know so much about each other. But then from the outside looking in, there's things about us that maybe you wouldn't see because we're not showing that on our social. We're not showing that on our website. We're not talking about it. It's not in our imagery. Just really finding a way to make that a part of pretty much everything that we do in our business is getting to the heart of what is it about you that you're not showing that makes you unique, and how can we showcase that?
India Jackson Sounds super exciting to other business owners and personal brands and models and actors, but I do find at the same time, it can be very scary because now it's, “Oh my gosh, I'm having to step into actually leading with what makes me different.” It goes completely against everything that we're taught about fitting in and don't stand out and play small and speak to everybody, you know?
Erica Courdae I think part of when you're deciding to show up and figure out what it looks like, to show some of those things that are different about you, the pieces that you can, maybe little by little, find some comfort in showing. I think part of it, sometimes, is understanding that just as much as you want to share this and that you want to attract the right people because of it, I think there's also that concept of really having to wrap your mind emotionally around the fact that this is also meant to repel people. I think this is where it gets a little dicey because nobody really wants to do this to say, “Oh, I'm going to put out this photo and I hope that 500 people unfollow me.” That's not what the thought process tends to be.
Erica Courdae However, I think the majority of people that are beginning to step into that place of authenticity with moving through their business with a different level of intentionality around being the change that they want to see, that you're going to piss people off. You're going to lose people. You're going to have somebody that is going to say, “Oh, I either don't agree with this,” or, “I'm fine with it, but I don't want to see it. I don't want to confront it. I don't want to consider it. It's fine kept quiet and out of sight, but I don't want it to be in the forefront, aka in my feed.”
Erica Courdae That whole piece of trying to reconcile with yourself, what is it that you want to show and showing more of yourself versus these very compartmentalized and curated pieces, what happens when you do that? It's like, “Shit, I just got backlash. What just happened?”
India Jackson Yeah. I think that that is a big thing to consider, is you may lose people and I can only speak for myself that I think many times we're raised to believe, or we take in information to believe that you need to talk to the masses. You need to speak to everybody. You need as many eyes on you as possible, especially if you're in business to get sales. I think it gives you this quantity concept that really has nothing to do with visibility or your brand, but if that's how you're viewing life as a whole, as you need quantity but you're not considering quality, then having to fully step into who you are and actually repel people in doing so can be very scary because you're not thinking, “I have these massive amounts of numbers or eyes on me or people on my email list, but they're not the quality people who are going to buy from me anyway.”
India Jackson Or the moment that they step into a one-on-one consultation with my brand and realize that we support this cause, they're going to feel like it's not the right place for them. They're kind of wasted space. Go ahead and let them go because they're now holding a space that you could have focused on somebody who was a quality.
Erica Courdae Well, and I think that it's something to consider when you have to question, okay, if you begin to show more of who you are, and you're showing what you look like front-facing, what you do... I'll use you as an example, India, what it looks like for you being behind the camera, but then what does it look like when you step from behind the camera? What does your life look like? What does it look like being that business owner? What does it look like just being an individual, a black female? What are these different pieces of you look like considering that you buy from people, not businesses? That's the reality of it. It's the connection that you make with something that usually incentivizes people to patronize a business with their dollars.
Erica Courdae When you do that, I think it can be something as small as somebody maybe for whatever reason, like, “Oh, I don't want to see these things,” but then it could also go to a place that can feel a little more hurtful versus like, “Oh, you just don't want to see my vacation photos.” But this person that's like, “Oh, you're talking about voting with your dollars.” I mean, I'm going to spend my money wherever I want. I mean, why does it matter? Or someone that sees you stepping into a place of women's equality from maybe being a white female and saying that I don't want to just be a feminist, I want to be a womanist, or I want to embolden women of all sexualities and religions and genders to be able to enjoy the privilege that I do and then someone else being like, “What do you mean? That's not a thing.” Then they don't want to hear it.
Erica Courdae It can be something that maybe doesn't feel as big and it can be something that does feel big, but the reality is that it's wrapping your mind around a new mindset that says they're not saying no to me. They're saying no to something that triggers something in them. They're saying no to something that makes them feel a certain way which has absolutely nothing to do with you feeling as though you need to invalidate your space to be you fully, take up space. To me, that's a huge part of the mindset. This is me right now in this moment on this podcast, Pause on the Play, Erica Courdae, I am telling you, “Step up, and 150%, take up space.” Do not minimize yourself in order to supply comfort to someone else. That is not your job.
India Jackson It's not, and I have witnessed both for myself personally, professionally, and also for my clients that when you water down who you are so that you can speak to everyone, when you start taking up space and stepping into who you truly are and what your beliefs are, it becomes really challenging to get to the next level in your business because you're not really speaking to anyone specifically anymore. As scary as it may be to take the big punch that you did, Erica, and say that, “We're going to stand for diversity with Silver Immersion,” your beauty business. Once you did that, you actually attracted people that were more aligned and were willing to pay even more money because they said this is a place for me, not a place that will take my money but it's not really for me. A totally different vibe.
India Jackson You feel like you're now building a brand, and that's what branding really is, is to be able to step back and listen to what somebody else had to say as if you were not in the room about you. Can they explain everything about who you are, who your business is, and what it represents? If they can't, then you don't have a brand, you're just selling a product or service.
Erica Courdae Agree. That is where for me, I know firsthand what it is to be afraid to lose business. I know firsthand to be afraid of what's going to happen when I not only do this, but I actually get very vocal about it. I know what it is to say that these are my values. These are my beliefs. These are the actions that I am moving through my business and my life with, but what happens when I actively declare this? I know it's not always an easy thing, but not doing it is so much harder. It is so much harder and it is so much more difficult to not step into the light, to not step into being fully who you are.
Erica Courdae Now, I want to make sure that it's also taken into consideration that I am a believer in boundaries. Me stepping fully into me does not mean that I share every single piece of me. I don't show my kids. That's my choice. I will talk about them because they're pretty flipping hilarious. However, I choose not to give social media their presence. That's just my choice. I think boundaries are very important, you have to have those. That does not mean that you have to verbal vomit your entire life and everything out. That is not what that means, but it does mean that if you know that a cornerstone of your business is supporting female business owners that are marginalized and within the minority, that you are doing yourself a disservice to not make that a part of how your business shows up in all facets.
Erica Courdae It isn't doing anyone any good for it to just be a part of a manifesto on a piece of paper inside of a business manual that most eyes never see. If it's not something that is actually coming through in your actions, it doesn't have the same impact. When that happens, that is when you have to begin to ask yourself questions around, “Why am I having resistance to being fully visible with this? What is it about the way that I'm thinking about this that is keeping me from fully stepping into this?” Whenever you have this place that you are evolving your business, particularly when you are beginning to bring light to your beliefs, ethics, and values, and how you move through business, and you feel like it's not lining up, then I think it is very valuable to step back and say, “What is it that is making me resistant to stepping into the visibility of this next best version of myself and my brand?”
India Jackson I agree 100%. I have found people get all the tools, all the advice, and even the imagery from my brand, ideas on captions, you name it, and you still don't see it go up. I think we all have been there where we feel this thing in the pit of our throat when it comes time to actually press post, especially when it's something that is stepping into material that you've never talked about before, or something that's a little bit more personal. I think the biggest thing is using that feeling in your throat or in your stomach, or wherever it may be in your body as a sign to take a step back and ask yourself, “Why is it there?” Because I think many times we have that pop up, and we just let it live there, and we never press post because we haven't unpacked the why. Here you have this fear with no understanding of why the fear is there.
Erica Courdae Well, and that's exactly the thing. I think that there's something to be said about getting curious as to why it's there, and really acknowledging what is it about this that I'm struggling with? Is it that I don't want to lose the followers? I don't want to lose the business? I don't want to lose the people that I currently have? I don't want to be judged even though what you're stepping into is about you saying that you're not available for the way that some things are, and that you want to be a part of the change. Not doing it, that is a problem in itself. If you have that resistance around it, what is it within your current mindset that needs to be shifted or needs to be addressed or needs to be evaluated?
Erica Courdae What awareness do you need around it to consider why do I have trouble showing that I am an advocate for trans black women? Why is it that I have trouble saying that I'm not going to a conference that I've gone to every year because it does not speak to me and where I'm going, and honestly, it doesn't speak to anyone other than old white men? What is wrong with saying those things? Anything that you lose in speaking out against things like that are those things that you truly value. If you don't, then are you losing anything?
India Jackson Was it really yours? I mean, if it's that easy to lose it, was it really yours?
Erica Courdae It was never really yours. It's just that it was waiting for you to finally release it. It was never yours, and there's something to be said about not holding on to or finding some type of solace or ownership in something just to say that you did it. Just to say, “Oh, I went to a great conference,” but you neglected to mention that there were no women of color featured. There were no women that were not say young blonde skinny. Now we have a whole list of things there, societal indicator-wise, that wasn't represented, or just the fact that it was bathed in this type of marketing that you don't stand for. Does that make you feel better to say that you did that thing that actually is in direct conflict with how you are and at least who you say you are, who you think you are?
India Jackson I can be the first to say as somebody who is coming out of an experience of being in a business group that was not aligned, that took me a while to remove myself from. That you don't gain anything, it doesn't feel good. I think that if we're not careful, things that feel like business decisions of, “Oh, well, maybe I was getting referrals in this place.” Or, “Maybe I don't want to rub anybody wrong by speaking up about the things that I saw that should not ever be considered acceptable.”
India Jackson If we're not careful, that can trickle over in other years of our life and to saying like, “I'm not going to stand up for myself and what I think and what I believe, and I'm just going to let myself sit in this place out of obligation.” Like, “Oh, well, if I'm going to do this here, now I have to really consider, am I starting to do this in other places too?” And realizing that and walking away from things like that, the reality is you really don't lose anything. You free up so much space to invite so many other kinds of beautiful people that have a similar mindset to you, that are more aligned with what it is that your mission is.
Erica Courdae You just mentioned a huge thing there, and it's just the fact that the way that you do one thing is how you do all things. When you minimize yourself and you play small and you find excuses to excuse things that you don't feel good about, for the sake of business, for the sake of the group, for the sake of money, that's not living in integrity. You have to find that place to say if I'm going to do this here, where else am I doing these kinds of things? Where else am I accepting things that I know I feel as though are unacceptable? If there is anything else that you get from this conversation that India and I are having as you're listening, I want you to consider as you are making shifts in your life to become more aligned with the best version of yourself right now, where are you accepting things that are unacceptable, and how can you make changes to be more aligned?
India Jackson I also want to ask people to evaluate, where are you still holding space for things that don't make sense for you anymore? In holding that space, where do you no longer have space for things that could enter that do make sense for you?
Erica Courdae Oh, slow motion on that side. Very accurate.
India Jackson The cup can only fit but so much. As somebody with 11,000 followers on Instagram, I can say that you only have so much time to engage with them, so engage wisely. Hold that space wisely.
Erica Courdae I agree 150% on that. All right. I'm going to actually pause this here because I want us to be able to really allow people listening to really ponder, where are you doing things that aren't aligned for the best version of yourself for today, or what can you do with that? Then, how much can you fit in your cup? What do you need to pour out? How do you need to refill it? I want you to go ahead and ponder on that. As always, I'd like for you to come over to Instagram @ericacourdae. I want to know what your takeaways are. I want to know what your thoughts are, what's popping up for you, and hopping on a call, our teatime chats are our connection calls. It's an opportunity for you to kind of go through some of the things that are coming up for you and figure out how you can get support so that you can show up fully for yourself in your business and be the best version of you right now.
Erica Courdae Thanks, India.
India Jackson Thanks for having me.
Pause on a Play is one iteration of how we use conversation to create connection. Our one on one calls, is another. This is where you can get support on how your beliefs and values around diversity, equity and inclusion, are showing up for your business. How you vote with your dollars, how you are sharing your message to let people know that you curated a space with them in mind, that you want to talk with them and hold space with them to have a seat at the table.
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