I am indecisive, to a fault.
My indecision has impacted restaurant outings (There’s too many great choices!), stolen joy from vacations, (We can only do three things out of 10 choices?! What if we never come back?) and caused me to overpack for a trip many times (what if I don’t feel like turquoise?).
Let’s look at a recent example of indecision: a tagline that represents my platform.
Here’s a sampling of the thoughts rollicking in my brain:
“This is the key piece that I need, and if I get this wrong…”
“So much rides on this!”
“I don’t want to write about only ______.”
“They have a great tagline. Why can’t I come up with a great tagline?”
“I could do this or this, but I just don’t know that it’s me!”
Okay, so yes, I am being a bit vulnerable here as I share with you my thoughts, but I want you to understand where I was coming from.
I was attempting to choose something that represented me and my work in as few words as possible.
No small feat. Let’s just say I was feeling the pressure…and it wasn’t helping.
Six Words I Needed To Hear to Get Unstuck and Serve My Audience Well
I was literally sweating in the hot sun one day on the deck of a coffee shop while talking this over with a coach. Blood, sweat and tears were part of this process, no doubt about it. I asked her, “Why is this so hard for me? What am I fighting against?” The answers had evaded me for a long time, but they would come in our next session.
The next meeting with my coach started with work on the tagline. She’s so brave. Thankfully, there was a bit more freedom marking this session for me. We brainstormed and threw out words that came to mind. All of a sudden I paused and then laughed out loud. A big grin came from my computer screen and my coach asked, “What’s so funny, Bethany?”
I said, “It just hit me. It’s a tagline, not a tattoo.”
We both laughed, but we also knew that this was a bit of a breakthrough for me.
Those six words, “It’s a tagline, not a tattoo,” gave me the permission I needed to proceed with refining my choices and to land on a tagline that I believed would serve my audience well for the foreseeable future.
Here’s what this means for anyone else trying to determine their tagline:
You have permission to redefine the role of a tagline.
I had to grasp that a tagline guides my work, but it doesn’t determine it. Does that seem like a fine line? It is. However, it was an important part of the breakthrough for me. I fought being ‘boxed in’ by a tagline because it felt stifling. (I know I am not alone in this!) I was afraid that my creative way of working and writing would end up working at 50% capacity because of the confines of a tagline. I was wrong. Here’s the truth: a tagline lends focus to my creativity, it sharpens and allows my ideas to bloom. I am so glad that I learned the truth! Don’t be afraid to give it a try for yourself.
You have permission to decide on a tagline and run with it.
A tagline needs to represent your work to your audience. The end. It’s not a summation of all that I am or all that I value. A tagline represents a part of who I am. Just one part. My tagline needs to reflect my heart for my audience. That’s it. I simply needed to decide on it and then run with it so that I could get on with the business of serving my audience. Speaking of audience…they are waiting on you! Decide and begin. Choose your tagline and run with it. After all, this is not a tattoo!
You have permission to change your tagline in the future.
Choosing a tagline does not require needles and permanent ink. I kept putting this pressure on myself that my tagline had to be one-size-fits-for-all-of-time. This is simply untrue. You can successfully change direction with your work when you need to. When God redirects you as he grows you, your focus may change. A change in your tagline may be necessary in order to be authentically you. The most important piece of your platform? It has to be authentic. Your audience will respond to that – even if it requires a shift in your tagline.
You do not have permission to stall on your tagline.
Meet with a coach (<— like this one). Pray. Talk with friends who know you well, in addition to friends who are in the same line of work. And then? Just go with it – work with the tagline, allow it to guide your work, your blog posts, your ideas and see how it goes. You can wait to get a logo made if you want to. Try on the tagline for a month or so – you’ve got permission to do that! However, you don’t have permission to stay where you are, held captive to a decision on your tagline.
The tagline process doesn’t have to be a pressure-filled endeavor. A tagline is the first introduction of your heart to your audience – it’s a place to start from and not the final say. Your audience is waiting for the words that only you have. Choose a tagline and choose to serve your audience.
**I designed a download to help you walk through this process! Check it out and then email me with your new tagline at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Bethany’s been married for 18 years and is mom to three little people who are growing to be less little every day. The dog, the cat, and her four immediate family members all do their part to chisel her into the person she has the potential to be. Bethany enjoys coffee, music, chocolate, shopping, laughing, reading, writing, and sometimes running, but never cleaning. (Gotta keep it real.) You can read her encouraging, always-based-in reality-words at www.bethanyhoward.com. You can find Bethany at https://www.facebook.com/permissiongrantedfriend/ and on instagram at @bethany_kindle_it where she avoids curating her content.