Disruption can feel… uncomfortable. Especially if you’re used to playing by the rulebook. Even though we, as Black people, are the Kings and Queens of innovation, social conditioning has us convinced the only way to make it in Corporate America is if we show up and play the game the way “they” want it.
That’s why we’re playing a whole new game.
One where we create our own rules and build our brands on our terms. A game where we get to be unapologetically strong without having to sacrifice our success.
This is what personal brand disruption looks like.
It Begins with Personal Disruption
Think of disruption as a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it gets. The goal is to get to a place where it becomes second nature. But it all starts with that first act of personal disruption.
What does personal disruption look like? It looks different for everyone because we’re all on our own journey. It could be as simple as challenging our own beliefs or doing something that pulls us out of our comfort zone. Practicing disruption in these little ways sets you up for bigger, bolder forms of disruption.
Hearing disruption, you might think that you need to be loud or aggressive to make an impact. But that’s not the case. You can show up exactly as you are and still be disruptive. Just by being authentically you, you’re already shaking things up.
The key is to find what works for you, honors your values, and allows you to show up as your most authentic self.
Three Levels of Disruption
1. The Subtle Disrupter
This is the person who is comfortable flying under the radar. You’re not looking to make waves, but you are keenly aware of the game being played, and you’re not afraid to call it out.
You’re the person who is known for always being put together. Your resume is on point, and you show up to every meeting prepared and ready to add value. But you also know that your appearance isn’t the only thing that matters.
You’re confident in your abilities, and you don’t need to be the loudest person in the room to get noticed. You’re happy to let your work speak for itself.
If you thrive in subtle disruption, start by challenging your own beliefs. Are there any limiting beliefs that are holding you back? Are there any ways that you can push yourself outside of your comfort zone?
2. The Conscious Disrupter
This is the person who is ready to make some waves. You know that to create the change you want to see, you have to be unafraid to ruffle a few feathers.
You’re not afraid of speaking your truth or standing up for what you believe in–even if it means going against the grain. You know that being different is what makes you special, and you’re not afraid to use your voice to change the narrative.
If you resonate with the conscious disruptor, start by speaking your truth. What are you passionate about? What are you an advocate for? How can you use your voice to create change?
3. The Radical Disrupter
This is the person who is ready to shatter the status quo. You’re done playing by other people’s rules, and you’re ready to create your own.
You know that real change comes from those who are unafraid to be bold and unapologetic in their truth. You’re not afraid to ruffle feathers or to make waves. You’re ready to lead the charge and create the change you want to see in the world.
If you are aligned with radical disruption, start by leading the charge. What change do you want to see in the world? How can you be the catalyst for that change?
You can be the catalyst for change in the world by being unapologetically you. Just by existing in your truth, you are already making waves. Keep flexing that muscle, and you will affect change, no matter which level of disruption you’re at (or strive to be at).
Tapping into Your Natural Gifts for Effortless Disruption
You know what your unique gifts are. You use them every day to kill it in the boardroom, sis. We just need to make a shift from leveraging those inherent skills for your job to your personal brand.
Now, we could go micro here. There are a thousand types of niche disruptors, but I don’t want to get that granular because I believe there’s a natural flow when we show up as our highest selves. When you do, the details become clear without much thought.
Instead, I’d like to focus on three main types of disruption:
This type of collaborative disruption calls others to step up and do better. You’re the person who isn’t afraid to have hard conversations or to take a stand for what you believe in. You have strong opinions, and you’re not afraid to share them.
You know how to push people outside of their comfort zones in a way that feels good and inspires them to be their best selves. You have a knack for connecting with others on a deeper level, and you challenge them to reach new heights because you see their true potential.
This could also be called creative disruption. You can see paths, concepts, and opportunities where no one else can. You have a gift for envisioning the future, and you’re always thinking outside of the box.
You’re not afraid to take risks or challenge the status quo. Whether it’s a product, idea, system, or service, you’re always looking for new and better ways to do things. You’re not satisfied with the way things are just because that’s the way they’ve always been done, and you’re ready to be the catalyst to change.
You know that sometimes you have to tear it all down to build it back up again. You’re not afraid of change or of starting over. In fact, you thrive on it.
You’re not simply looking to make things better, you want to rebuild them from the ground up. When others are content with the status quo, you’re ready to boldly evolve into something new and better.
Which one are you?
How to Find the Right Balance for You and Defining Disruption for You
So the question remains, how do you make disruption work for you? While it will no doubt feel uncomfortable, when you lean into what’s already working for you, it becomes a lot easier to navigate disruption.
The goal is to find a balance that feels good for you and honors your values. You don’t have to be disruptive for the sake of being disruptive.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. How do I want to show up in the world?
2. What feels true to me?
3. What am I passionate about?
4. How can I use my voice to create change?
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. The goal is to get clear on what feels true for you and what you’re called to do in the world.
Once you have a better understanding of that, you can begin to navigate your journey through disruption with more intention and clarity.
I’m not here to tell you that the power lies within you. You already know that. You’ve always known that.
But I am here to show you that the “more” you’ve been craving lies within you. When you lean into your inherent gifts, perceptions, and experiences to create a platform for change, you can embody disruption effortlessly.