Detroit Lakes native and Minneapolis resident Melissa Paakh is on a mission. She once heard that 85 percent of the world’s population is affected by a negative self-image, and she wants to change that. And so, she launched a campaign and clothing line aimed at helping people hold a positive self image of themselves.
Melissa understands the bravery involved to truly be yourself as she has been on a journey of doing so nearly her entire life. So, with this campaign, she not only talks the talk, but also she has walked in the shoes that led her to the creation of #TheAuthenticYou.
In fact, Melissa has always followed her heart and listened to her instincts, even as a young girl with lofty goals.
First off, Melissa wanted to swim for a Division I college. She was a competitive swimmer in high school and through hard work and determination, she won a scholarship to swim at the University of Utah, realizing her goal.
If that weren’t enough, she also competed in the Miss America organization as a high school senior, although she knew that in the fall, she’d be leaving the state for four years. Still, she wanted to experience the competition and learn as much as she could from it.
And she did.
After swimming for Utah for four years, she came back to Minnesota. Initially, she kept swimming with her sights on the Olympic trials. But then she realized something quite profound: without her team behind her, she was no longer a competitive swimmer. She felt she had lost her identity, and as such, she was forced to do some soul searching.
So, she decided to compete one last time in the Miss America pageant. She had won Miss Southwest, and went on to the Miss Minnesota competition.
“Competing in this really made me look at who I am. I had to develop a platform, which ultimately led me to the creation of #TheAuthenticYou and helped me figure out my mission,” says Melissa.
Although Melissa did not win the title of Miss Minnesota, she accomplished more than she had hoped with the competition.
She realized she was onto something with #The AuthenticYou, and wanted take the message she created for the Miss Minnesota competition to the masses.
“TheAuthenticYou is about finding your worth in the attitude you choose to have, how you treat others, how you choose to deal with failure, and using bravery to listen to your intuition, whether that is in school, life, or relationships,” says Melissa. She goes on to add that everything about #TheAuthenticYou comes from her own life experiences.
Her success in swimming was a way for her to hide some of the troubles she was facing at home, especially during her parents divorce. She recognized there was a rather large discreperency between her home life and how people saw her at school, and that not everything is always the way it seems
And despite of – or maybe in spite of – what was happening at home, she trudged through it, chasing her dreams and staying true to herself.
And it’s those experiences that give her the credibility to really be authentic with this mission, which she is now bringing to others.
Melissa does so through speaking engagements, private coaching and a clothing line, all with the same message of never trading your authenticity for anyone else’s approval.
“Our logo is a fingerprint. No two fingerprints are the same, just as no two people are the same,” says Melissa. “Everyone has their own story, and everyone should embrace their story.”
Changing Negative Self-Talk to Positive Self-Talk
Melissa knows it takes bravery to be your true self, and that change isn’t going to happen within us overnight. So she has developed a couple of tools to help people get on the path to #TheAuthenticYou.
The first is the Bravery Challenge. Each day, you are challenged with something to help you be true to yourself:
- Day 1 – Having the audacity to face your fears and tackle challenges
- Day 2 – Making the ethical choice to do what is right, even if it means making hard or unpopular decisions
- Day 3 – Being open to new experiences
- Day 4 – Having perseverance and persisting in your goals and pursuits
- Day 5 – Accomplishing the goals you made for your self
- Day 6 – Dealing with failure and keeping the faith in yourself
- Day 7 – Displaying a positive attitude and outlook on life
She also has #TheAuthenticYou Wristband Challenge.
Here, you make positive self-talk a habit with #TheAuthenticYou wristband’s help. It’s a 21-day challenge where you consciously try to avoid negative self-talk. Every time you say something negative about yourself, take your wristband off, switch it to your other wrist, and start over back to day one. Once you have made it 21 days without saying a single negative thing about yourself, keeping your wristband on the same wrist for 21 days, you have completed the 21-Day Wristband challenge.
Her message is universal and can apply to anyone, regardless of age or circumstance. As such, she has been a featured speaker for audiences ranging from elementary, middle, and high school students, colleges, universities, conferences, service organizations, sports teams, and youth organizations.
And now, she’s ready to bring her message to even more people.
For more information on Melissa, her coaching and speaking services, and #TheAuthenticYou clothing line, please click here.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson