• Bill Petrie

Trying Too Hard to Be Different

And losing myself in the process

I have a love/hate relationship writing blogs like this: on the one hand, they are incredibly easy to pen as it’s evident in my brain what I want – and need – to express; on the other hand, it’s astonishingly challenging to put the very internal workings of my mind for the public to read and, in some cases, judge. I don’t care how long you’ve produced content, pressing that button to post is always tricky and, for me, it’s even more onerous this week because I need to call myself out.

I’ve been trying WAY too hard to be different, and, in the process, I can see that I’m losing myself.

Let me explain: From March of 2017 to June of 2020, I was the President of a business services provider in the promotional products industry, and I poured every ounce of energy into the company. With support from ownership and help from a fantastic team, we were able to redefine a 20-year-old brand in the eyes of the promotional products industry and transform it into a forward-thinking agency. Looking back, it was more than just pouring energy into the job; my personal brand became intertwined with that of the organization at every single level.

Then, we parted ways. No drama, no finger pointing - it was just time.

Since then, I’ve struggled with “taking back” the most essential part of what I gave them: my brand. In other words, I just haven’t fully allowed myself to be me. This weird version of me is most visible on the podcast I do with Kirby Hasseman every week: Promo UPFront. Because of the success we had with our previous podcast (unScripted), I’ve tried to change everything about the new one. I stopped giving Kirby a different title at the beginning of each broadcast, I no longer occasionally play “Rapid Fire” at the end which was a fan favorite, and I find myself overthinking everything to the point where I’m fumbling my words. Candidly, I’ve struggled to have fun on that podcast because I’m not entirely me.

With every piece of content I produce – including this blog – I’ve started doing something I promised myself I would never do: I have held back. I’ve been deferential, too polite, and silenced my personality, and I refuse to let that happen any longer. Today, I’m reclaiming my brand because it is mine. I can’t help who I am, and it’s not fair to me, to the people I produce content with, to the folks who read and listen to my content, or to my business partner.

Like it or not, I’m me, and I’m fully back.

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