That's So FetchFeb 12, 2023
My son Charlie sent me a text letting me know about an exciting thing that happened to him at work that day. He shared that for the first time in his career, he helped save a patient’s life by administering CPR.
I was so proud of him, and so grateful he took the time to share his exciting news with me.
I immediately texted my response, “That’s so awesome!” But before I pressed send on my message, I noticed that my iPhone suggested a different answer: That’s so fetch popped up as an alternative.
I wasn't familiar with the expression, but since my phone was suggesting it, I immediately assumed that it must be a cooler and trendier response than my own. I opted for it and pressed send.
“That’s so fetch!” I shared with my 21-year-old son.
My text was immediately answered with: “Huh? Fetch? What are you talking about? What’s that supposed to mean? Did you even read my message?"
I was instantly embarrassed, and responded by telling Charlie my phone suggested the words, and I chose them instead because I assumed they were cool.
“Mom, that's not cool at all. And why would you do what your phone says? You should just be yourself.”
You should just be yourself. Brilliant advice. From a child to his parent.
And it was this very advice I should have taken the next day when I was getting dressed for work. I had recently returned from a trip to Italy. While there, I observed all kinds of new fashion trends for the season. One of the looks was for women: suit jackets and trousers paired with fashionable sneakers. How terrific! No heels, no uncomfortable shoes— business attire and trendy sneakers! I decided I was going to adopt this new look, and bought a pair of white Gucci sneakers on my trip.
On my first day back to work post-vacation, I paired my new white sneakers with nice jeans, a white shirt, and a red velvet jacket. I looked in the mirror, admired my outfit, and headed to the office feeling pretty hip.
When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed my sister was already working. I popped into her office to say good morning. Before any words came out of my mouth, I saw her carefully check me out. She seemed surprised by my outfit, and immediately stated: “The Greatest Showman called. He wants his uniform back.” Then she burst into laughter.
Nicki quickly realized that maybe her response was a bit harsh. “I didn't mean to offend you,” she assured me. “I just think you look better when you wear outfits that are more like you.”
I glanced down and took a fresh look at my work attire. Nicki was right. That's when I started laughing too.
Obviously, I had no intention of dressing like The Greatest Showman. I was simply trying to emulate a cool Italian businesswoman. Truth was, I looked like I was dressed up in someone else's clothes— and definitely not myself.
For the second time that week, I attempted to be someone I wasn’t. I tried to act cool instead of being authentic.
The irony about both of these situations is that our team just spent months defining our Authentic Brand. We worked with a consultant and a marketing expert to get crystal clear about who we want to be as financial advisors, exactly what our team stands for, and specifically who our ideal clients are.
When you are clear about your own personal brand, it not only becomes very obvious who you are, it becomes even clearer who you are not.
In his book Radical Relevance, Bill Cates talks about how to build your own authentic brand. And when you do this well, says Cates, you will not only attract the right people, you will also simultaneously repel the wrong people.
Despite my recent training by marketing experts, and even reading Cates' book, I violated all the personal branding rules when I sent a “suggested” alternate text to my son. In doing so, my words came across as totally inauthentic. And in my attempt to dress like an Italian businesswoman, I ended up looking like a circus trainer. Neither were what I was going for.
It takes time to figure out authentically who you are. At age 51, I should have known better than to try to act like-- and be someone-- I am not.
These two humbling reminders pointed out that being ME is always the way to go.
Has this happened to you? In an attempt to be cool or act younger, did you try to be someone you aren't?
When you find yourself in a situation where you're attempting to fit in, remember:
- Being your true self
- Embracing who you are
- Repelling who you are not
These are the characteristics to focus on. Always be you.
Your authentic self is what's so fetch.