Brand Yourself or Be Branded

Brand Yourself or Be Branded

One evening last year, I logged on to my social media accounts, as most of us do right after we crawl into bed. I scrolled through pictures of friends, read posts from their day, and even made my photo contribution to the social media world. But then, as I was scrolling through some notifications….there it was. Another Dray Carson, well technically ‘Andraya Carson’.

Could it be? Could there be two of us? Not unless there was an identical twin my parents never told me about. Intrigued, I clicked, and clicked, and clicked, and read, and read and read. Links leading to blogs, blogs leading to other people’s blogs.

ALL LIES!! Dozens of blogs and fake social media accounts later, it was crystal clear to me –

“I was now being cyberbullied.”

I thought this only happened to kids in school? I’m a professional. I’m a mom. I do great things in the community. Who was behind this mess? It’s interesting how, in a moment, I felt like there was no where I could hide from this invisible bully.

Back-in-the-day, bullies on the playground had to show their face. They had to have some guts behind their actions, but not here in cyberspace. Even the wimpy and weak can strike…and it’s a shame that a lot of the social media and blog platforms do really little to stop this from happening. Thank you ‘freedom of speech’, I’m pretty sure [this] is not what that ‘freedom’ meant.

So, what are my options? Brand yourself, or be branded.

Fight back and attack this cyberbully that is delusional? Not my style. I have never posted something negative about a person or company on the internet, and I refuse to have my integrity compromised by doing so now…..even though it would be very well warranted.

Instead, I have set up to define myself.

Yes, brand me. This was a weird concept at first for me to wrap my head around. I mean, who am I? I’m not a famous entertainer, an athlete, or world renowned business woman (well, not yetJ). I’m Andraya (Dray) Carson-Hruby…

Exactly. I am Dray Carson, and, really, the cyber world has no clue what that means. Now-a-days it’s common to just ‘google it’, with the ‘it’ being people, places, things, ideas, whatever! There is so much out there… about everything…and, mark my word, if you don’t brand yourself, you are opening the door for other people to brand you…and you may not always like what they have to say (even if it is poorly written and on bogus topics no one would believe anyway).

Carpe Diem.

I decided to seize the day and use this cyberbullying situation to my advantage.  Start defining who I am, and sharing it. Sharing me, my way. Which means, I had to start thinking about not just who I am, but how I was going to communicate it to the world.

That task was super simple for me to do for a company, or even for someone else, but for me? Yikes! That took work (and well, frankly is still a work in progress). All sorts of feelings have come up; confusion, vulnerability, excitement, procrastination, and eagerness…to name a few.

It’s a challenge, an ongoing, massive challenge. But one that I welcome.

Because with it comes a sense of clarity and confidence. When you can define who you are from an authentic place, and know that sometimes you may ‘mess things up’ as you stumble forward, it’s actually quite refreshing and invigorating.

Because if there are any failures or successes, it is me who is determining them AND NOT MY CYBERBULLY.  And since failure is not an option as an end result, this roller coaster known as my journey is on its way up.

Hello, my name is Dray Carson-Hruby. I’m a business woman. I’m a philanthropist. I’m a mom. It’s nice to meet you.