Letter from the ArtistCEO: On Authenticity

2018 Reflections on Authenticity, Subjective Truth and Loving Our Team.

 
0020-ShannonDeJong06282017paigegreen.jpg

Looking back at last year, there were so many moments I could reflect on, but our recent retreat is the one that is most alive for me right now.

For the past three years, we’ve taken a couple days at the close of the year to gather as a team to reflect, connect in person and look to what we want to create together next. This most recent retreat was a definite leveling up, as we traveled for the first time to a special location (Palm Springs) and rented an amazing house (on-brand hot tub and pool, anyone?). We also took one full day to put our money where our hearts are and create an art project together. More on that here.

On our reflection and visioning day of the retreat, I welcomed feedback, conversation, and surfacing of elephants of the room, all in the interest of moving us forward to finding an even deeper, grander, more beautiful truth. I invited everyone to bring their authentic opinions to the retreat - and the team delivered! In that moment we all got to see what’s true for us individually and collectively.

 
 
Strategic coach and facilitator Elizabeth Durney led the reflection day of our retreat.

Strategic coach and facilitator Elizabeth Durney led the reflection day of our retreat.

I’m sure the experience was many things to many people, but for me, it was an opportunity to compare my truth to other people’s truth. I got to evaluate my truth in light of information that was being provided to me. I got to hear from my team places they believe I can work on and places they appreciate about me. I also got to find places where people gave me feedback and I chose to listen, but also take it with a grain of salt. That has been such a lesson for me this year - to discern between all of the information that’s given to me, all of the stimulus and knowledge and input, and then deciding what’s true for me - because at the end of the day, that’s all there is:

Your own authentic truth.

Authenticity is a perennial theme for me and for House of Who. We are, after all, a brand agency centered around the word “Truth.” Truth is a brand value and a pillar for us and we believe in moving toward truth, asking ourselves (and our clients) “What is true?” and creating from that place.

Perceptive humans that we are, we can feel it when someone is working from that space. Intuitively, we know. We know when we hear the most extreme expressions - the Fools and the a-holes and the beauty queens and narcissists. You can tell when someone actually believes what they’re saying and what they’re doing is true. You might have a different opinion about it and you might say, he’s a jerk, but at least he’s authentic.

When I can stand behind branding, art, creation and running a business, it comes from a place of truth, which is to say, you do your best in the moment to express what is actually here and real for you rather than trying to make what you say be something someone else might like, or how you think it “should” be. No.

You come from a place where it’s the best you can do in the moment, the most authentic self you can present, while fully accepting that the self continues to change and your truth continues to change in each moment.

Authenticity just means fully embodied and truthful in your own life, from your own perspective, from your own point of view.

So as I close this year and I look back at the retreat, and on the feedback I got, and what we did this year at House of Who - when I take that definition I just put forth about authenticity, I know we are living it.

IMG_4972.jpg
 

There’s more for us to do, more places for us to go and especially now, after the team walked away from our retreat in Palm Springs, I know that it’s pulsing in everyone’s heart to become even more hungry for our own truth as a company and for our own truths as unique beings. I can see in every individual on this team that they are in. They’re in and they’re on board with this vision, with this company, with this team and with each of their own selves, their own paths and crafting their own lives out of their truth. They are on a journey of creating a professional and personal way of being in the world that feels authentic to them. We come together as a team of individuals collectively interested in authenticity and truth-telling. And that’s pretty damn cool.

Knowing that I work with a team of people who are as committed to their own truths and living their lives authentically by their own rules and creating something beautiful from that place - it makes me feel like I’m the luckiest woman in the world.

As Lily Tomlin would say, “And that’s the truth.”

Wanna see more photos from our retreat? Check out the Retreat Photobook.


House of Who, Inc