Issue 16 | Oct. 8th, 2021 |

Reify 8&21

Welcome to your 3-minute pause. 

Let's focus on your practice of pursuing awesome.

I’ll never forget the day a mentor told me I needed to be “more of a shark”.
Back then, I was already trying to show up like a shark—trying to be confidence and hustle and teeth—trying to be the "entrepreneur shark personality.” 
His advice terrified me. If I wasn't shark enough, was I destined to fail?
Luckily, that was a few years ago. 
Since, I’ve talked to so, so many successful entrepreneurs.
And you know, the only thing they ALL had in common?
They're entrepreneurs.
That's it. End of list.
 There's no “entrepreneur personality”—no single background or experience or path that’s “right” for entrepreneurs.

 “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves...”
- Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

So now, instead of worrying so much about being a shark—or trying on any other personalities besides my own—I can just be myself. My optimistic, sometimes-messy, overly-excited, glad-to-be-kind, not-always-punctual, big-ideas self. 
Tired ideas about what an entrepreneur “should be” or “should look like” come from people whose values don't align with mine. I get to spend my brainpower on the awesome tasks in front of me, rather than wasting energy trying to show up as something I’m not.
So cheers to all the sharks and non-sharks out there—it’s not about whether or not a “shark” personality trait is a good one, it’s about embracing our personality, our experiences, our story, as ours—so we can focus on doing fin-tastic things.
(Sea what I did there?) 🦈
Sarah Glova, entrepreneur, non-shark
“I get to spend my brainpower on the awesome tasks in front of me, rather than wasting energy trying to show up as something I’m not.”
- Sarah Glova, Co-Editor, Reify 8&21

 "Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are."
- Malcom Forbes

A story in your own style
“No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.”
- Jane Austen, writing in a letter to James Clarke. Clarke was the personal librarian to the Prince of Wales at the time, and he was encouraging Austen to start writing about aristocrats and "high romances". 
It's been suggested that by keeping to her own style, Austen lost the chance for royal sponsorship but kept herself free to write what she wanted.

Molly Rubin
“Every day I try to bring my authentic self to work.”
"I do not fit the mold of what you'd expect a data scientist to look like, both as a queer woman, and also as someone coming from an arts background (prior to analytics, I was a bassoonist performing with a symphony orchestra). 
Early in my career these were things I kept hidden as best I could, because (a) I didn't want to give anyone reason to question my abilities and (b) I had not seen anyone else from my background find success. 
Over time, I realized I was able to excel in my career not despite my background, but because of it. It gave me a different perspective than anyone else in the room and helped me see business problems in a completely different way. 
Now that I've ‘made it’ I make a point to amplify these parts of me at work with the goal of challenging people's perception of that mold, especially for those young scared new grads with a story similar to my own.”

Could seeing your story 
help someone else write theirs?
"When girls can readily see women rising, on their terms, it spurs their ambitions. For instance, female students are more likely to choose a major in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) when they are assigned a female professor instead of a male one.
Research shows that role models have three core benefits for women:
(1) role models represent and expand what is possible
(2) role models inspire women to be more ambitious and aim higher
(3) role models demonstrate the mindsets and behaviors of how to rise"
- Dr. Margie Warrell in the Forbes article, 

A story of defying odds
“Proving that I can defy the odds and overcome and pretty much master a craft of sport—a sport that I didn’t play, but I have a love and passion for—and hopefully that just gives someone else some inspiration and empowers them to step outside the box and do something different.”
Maia Chaka, the first Black woman hired by the NFL as an on-field official 
and the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

How are you owning your own story? What's something about you that makes you imperfectly, awesomely, authentically you?


Great job!

Way to take a pause and give 3 minutes to your practice of pursuing awesome with this issue's theme. You rock!

Want more from our inspiring feature?
For more inspiring quotes and stories from this issue's Spotlight feature, check out the Reify Spotlight Series posts: 

Reify 8&21 is a digital publication 

intentionally sent on the 8th and 21st
to disrupt your status-quo 

with an encouraging reset.


Photo Credits: 
Writing photo by Kat Stokes
Photo of Maia Chaka from The Virginian-Pilot article, 
Photo of Jane Austen from WikiMedia
Journaling on mountain photo by Tyler Nix