L.O.L. aka Living Out Loud

From Orange Marmalade.

One of my favorite expressions is “living out loud.”

But what, in fact, does it even mean? How does it apply to life and work?

I know it starts with truth.

I have a lot of respect for bloggers and writers who let it all hang out. Not gratuitously, mind you, like so many of today’s reality TV “stars,” but people who share their truth in a meaningful, beautiful way.

I’ve recognized this way of living more in the past year than ever before, as I have pored over myriad articles and interviews, blogs and books about the journeys people have embarked on to create something they can be proud of in the world.

Their business. Their project. Their work that matters. Their art. Their piece de resistance.

And you know what?

Living out loud is messy.

It’s a lot like finger-painting: colorful and nondescript in the beginning. Paint is all over your hands, clothes, and even your face and hair. But as you learn your best technique, shapes emerge. And suddenly, a picture is born and the whole beautiful effort makes sense.

That’s called living out loud: not shying away from mistakes and ugliness, but celebrating it, embracing it and showing the world a slice of life that we can all relate to.

My version of living out loud is about creativity, heart, guts and singularity. For me, L.O.L. really started the day I decided to strike out in the world under the banner of my name and see what magic I could conjure.

Like a powerful, omniscient wizard with perfect timing and flow.

It doesn’t quite work like that from the get-go though, does it?

A post I read yesterday notes that “entrepreneurship is the ultimate spiritual journey,” and I couldn’t agree more.

The journey hasn’t been easy, and I know that there is still so much more to accomplish, but it is about way more than business and livelihood. It has taught me a great deal about myself, my dreams, my desires, my resilience, my resourcefulness, my confidence, my motivation and, yes, even my spirituality.

Entrepreneurship — or solopreneurship, in my case — has challenged my beliefs and thinking in every possible way. As if to say, “I dare you to XYZ,” where the XYZ could be practicing what I preach, changing my mind, digging deeper, stretching outside my comfort zone, following my intuition, articulating my desires, living my dreams.

In that process, the flow will never be perfect, but it does become more instinctive. It’s like conditioning your creative and intellectual muscles to work together harmoniously to trust, to believe, to achieve.

See, living out loud then becomes a choice to never back down, to be bold and not accept anything less than your best efforts to honor yourself.

“Be bold and prosper,” as the Vulcan saying goes.

“To thine own self be true,” says Polonius in Hamlet.

No truer or wiser words have ever been said.

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