What deodorant taught me about the power of choice, conditioning and individuality (yes, seriously).
|I had a bit of a mini life/ business epiphany at 7.15am this morning sparked by a conversation about armpits (I know – it’s either life that’s strange or me that’s strange, I’m not sure which). |
Anyway, traditionally at 7.15am I am un-showered and undressed (since my husband is the only member of our family that currently doesn’t require me to do both these things for him first), but most alarmingly, I am un-cup of tea’d, and in order to leave the house on time it is absolutely essential I drink some hot strong Yorkshire Gold and don’t get distracted from my timetable…
So when my friend sends our Whatsapp group the link to a new natural deodorant she’s bought, sitting down on the edge of the bath to google the brand, leisurely scroll through their website, read the ingredients list of their products and then start a conversation about it all, was the logical thing to do, obviously.
Me to her:
How do you like it? I want one without aluminium but I think it’s the aluminium that stops you sweating?!
And that was the moment she dropped the bombshell that quite frankly may have changed my life forever.
Her to me:
Well actually, I haven’t used deodorant for years. I’m not a very sweaty or smelly person so I just haven’t bothered.
I pull a face in the bathroom mirror that Rick Mayall would have been proud of.
We’ve known each other for 31 years! Surely she too must still be traumatised by the poor girl in our class whose mother refused to let her use deodorant?!
Avoiding the shame of being sweaty or smelly seemed to consume a large portion of our time as teenagers. Every Saturday was either spent in Boots buying the lilac cans of Soft and Gentle or in The Body shop stock-piling bottles of White Musk.
But, now I think about it, I’ve never actually been particularly sweaty or smelly either. In fact, living in northern Europe and being a little exercise hesitant, quite frankly I probably don’t need deodorant or anti-perspirant at all 300 days of the year!
And yet it had never ever occurred to me not to bother. It would be like, forgetting to put my trousers on. Or giving up tea.
And because I hate discovering I’ve been doing things just because someone’s told me to, I did something I have never done on purpose before ever.
I didn’t put deodorant on before leaving the house.
And you know what?
I can now confirm that I have been a deodorant dodger for precisely 8 hours, and[lifts both elbows sideways to give armpit sensation a check] yep, all feels perfectly hunky dory, thank you very much.
So I’m now sitting here wondering how many hundreds of pounds I have spent on other things I have been conditioned to think I need, but actually don’t at all?!
[Thinks hard for a couple of minutes]
Phew, no that’s it.
[Thinks harder for a few more seconds]
Well no that can’t be it, there must be other things I’m doing that I don’t need to be, that’s how conditioning works you, Dodo!
Anyway, while I await the next bombshell to drop (I’ll keep you updated, don’t worry), one area I have started to see through all the conditioning very clearly of late, is the online business world.
As entrepreneurs there are so many things we are constantly being brainwashed to believe in order to make other people a ton of dosh.
– You’re only successful if you have a ‘6-figure business’.
-You have to pay someone to officially certify you in X to be credible
– You should get into debt to grow your business.
– A successful online business means you have to become a social media influencer.
– You have to have a course/ a 1:1 offering/ a membership/ a product spectrum/ a coach/ your own app, or you are doomed to failure.
Doooomed I tell you.
Ugh. I’m sure you’re familiar with it all.
So here’s just a quick reminder that, apparently just like deodorant, you can do it all, or you can not. It’s a personal choice because everyone is unique.
I always think a good judge is this: the next time you want to buy something new, whether it’s a beauty product or a thing for your business, ask yourself am I doing this out of
a) SHAME eg unless I do this I’m not trying hard enough/ I’m not enough so I need something new and shiny instead/ what will people think if I don’t etc etc
b) FEAR eg if I don’t do, have or buy this I’ll be a massive failure, lose money, be the only one who misses out or not be part of the in-crowd. Ouch.
c) GENUINE DESIRE. A deep down knowing in your belly that you’re not doing this out of fear or shame, but because it’s just what you need and it all feels gooooood man.
Because it’s just not natural to all want and need and desire the same things. We don’t have to have cookie cutter businesses, marketing strategies, beauty regimes, diets, exercise habits, wardrobes or world views.
It is ok and probably actually preferable to be different. So be a business rebel, a body image rebel, a social rebel or even an armpit rebel.
And don’t let anybody make you feel that you’re wrong.
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