- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Attention’
I was once on the board of Dress for Success. I had the pleasure of having coffee one day in San Diego with Nancy Lublin, the founder of Dress for Success. Nancy has since gone on to bigger and better things (like it was even possible, but yes!). Just the other day on Facebook Nancy posted pictures for us that she was on Necker Island with her idol, Richard Branson. Branson owns and lives on Necker Island with his family. Nancy’s post got me thinking, once again, about “Brand Branson” as I like to call it. How many people besides me and Nancy love Brand Branson?!
I’m a huge fan of Richard Branson. Something about his brand and way of “being” appeals to me. I can’t put my finger on it and we haven’t met…yet. But isn’t that the point? Without knowing Branson personally, I have a positive and memorable response to him and his brand- not necessarily the Virgin brand, but his personal brand.
His brand appears kind, gentle and about others succeeding- it’s inclusive. Take for instance his latest blog about treating people who don’t get jobs as well as those who do. Here Branson notes, “Companies should treat all people well – staff, customers, those applying for jobs, those who have only just heard about the company. You never know when your paths will cross in the future. Plus, if everybody treated everybody else how they would wish to be treated, the world would be a better place.”
And it all centers around happiness. Most of the things out there about Branson show his smiling face and what appears to be, happy nature. His causes include entrepreneurship, sustainability and humor! Who wouldn’t love that brand?!
Yes, I know all the skeptics out there are saying, “who wouldn’t be happy if they had Branson’s money?” However, I don’t buy it. Money can only bring so much happiness as a brand. In my world, what has to come first is your brand as an emotionally attractive (happy) person. The money then follows naturally. It has to- that’s the law of the universe at work.
So what can you learn from Brand Branson? Consider:
– Are you happy? If not, why? If so, how are you showing up as happy everyday?
– What are you doing to strengthen your community in terms of service? Although money always helps, you don’t need Branson’s billions to make a difference AND have a great brand that attracts others to you.
Right around this time of year we all start to feel the stress of the holidays. The joy of the season leads to the angst of the season. We tend to panic, rush, panic some more, and feel like we can’t come up for air. We tend to put ourselves last- even more than usual. So what gives?
I can say that I can fall into the same trap if I’m not careful. I always look forward to the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I have the same issues that you do. If I let myself get swept away, then I’m so busy I don’t even enjoy the holidays. I would just run around buying up gifts and random “stuff”, eating to excess and then feeling guilty about it all. My stress would go through the roof and as a result, my personal brand would be down the drain.
However, by employing some self-awareness first, followed by self-care/nurturing myself, I can make the holiday season mean more. As a result, I radiate a personal brand that is attractive on so many levels to so many people.
This year I asked myself what do I want most out of December? The answer was NOT more gifts and “stuff”. The answer was: peace and joy and surrounding myself with people that make me a better person.
All of this takes deliberate intent based on my self-awareness of what matters. So if I want peace and joy, I have to find it inside myself first before I can give it out to others AND get it back. How do I find peace and joy?
For me it is about sitting still (meditating), slow start mornings (no emails, voicemails, lots of yoga and exercise), and partaking in receptivities (versus activities) as Amanda Owen so brilliantly recommends. That’s how I choose to nurture and take care of myself and thus, my personal brand.
So what does this mean for you?
- Are you self-aware of what you want out of this holiday season?
- Are you aware of your stress level and brand value?
- Based on this self-awareness and deliberate brand creation, what is one thing you can do to nurture and take care of yourself?
The leaves keep changing in deliberate nature this October. So we, too, continue our Deliberate Brand Creation process this third week of October. As I’ve written in the past two blog posts, I’m continuing to put my own spin on Oprah’s October 2014, “What I Know For Sure” column in her O Magazine. I have a lot of appreciation and respect for Oprah’s presence.
This week, let’s explore how your quirks and oddities are the stuff of your deliberate brand. As Oprah wrote in her column noted above, when she was younger she would go to parties. She would feel compelled to stay at a party even if she had enough of being there and would rather go home. Why? In part, Oprah says it was because she considered herself quirky to want to run home and be alone.
Perhaps the biggest “why” question here is why we can’t “own” our quirks? I think the short answer is partly lack of self-awareness and partly fear.
No one wants to be different and stick out. We all strive to fit in. If I think back to a time when I really tried to fit it, I am taken back to high school. I hated high school. I was always so different and didn’t really fit in. It was hard being me.
I stuck out for so many reasons: I had olive complexion when it seemed everyone else had blonde hair and light eyes; my first and last name was hard to pronounce (it wasn’t like my name rolled off the American tongue like “Jane Smith”); while my parents were very flexible with me and tried to “go with” the culture and mentality of midwestern/Indiana thinking, we still had different customs and rituals; and we lived in the most affluent suburb of Indianapolis, making it harder to be “cool” and fit in. Most importantly, I always felt quirky because I could never ever understand why all those other high school kids rebelled all the time- drinking, smoking, sex, parties. Were they suffocating at home, somehow?
Regardless of what I thought and how hard I tried, I was hiding who I really was. I wasn’t even self-aware enough to know why I was hiding. Looking back at my list above, I’m now really relishing my olive complexion, my first and last name and my background and nationality. I use it as part of my unique selling proposition and story to stand out and be genuine and different. It works!
However why do we, even as adults, try so hard to deny our quirks and eccentricities? What if you decided for just one day to really “own” your quirks, be proud of the eccentricities and not deny any of it? Would the world stop? Who cares if someone doesn’t “like” or “accept” you? Do they matter more in this world than you (and your happiness) do? I doubt it.
I get the fear factor. I lived it and live it every day. However, our personal brand growth is grounded in being self-aware enough to feel the fear and doing “it” anyway- whatever your “it” is.
So just for one day, I ask you to be self-aware, own your quirks and see what happens. If you love to eat licorice, go for it! If you like to decipher license plates, go for it! If you love the Smurfs, go for it! Just remember to tell us all about it so we can be your biggest champ, respect you and get to know your real personal brand.
I have the same conversation at least once a week with a client. It goes something like this: they tell me they met a wonderful potential client OR they tell me that they got a great new client. Fantastic, right?!
So I always ask them what they did to get that client, i.e., how did the referral come to them? Why do I ask them this basic question? I often find that folks don’t stop and really think and assess how they retained business. All they care about is that they got new business or met a “hot lead”. While it may seem to make sense to focus on the final outcome and move on with business, it’s really not ok.
Why? Because you need to figure out how the client came to be. You shouldn’t be hoping and praying each time you meet someone who can possibly be a client. You must have a plan and thus, be in control of the outcome – and your brand. There is absolutely no sense in recreating the wheel each and every time a new lead or referral pops up in front of you. When I say ‘have a plan’, I mean a branding plan where you know who you are, what you do and how you can tell them all this about you in a compelling way.
In my world, knowing who you are is key because if you don’t know yourself and your brand well enough, then how can you tie it well into what you do? If you can’t get that far, there’s no way you can tell a referral or lead all this about yourself and “how” you can be of service to them- at least not in any compelling way for them to remember you and want to get to know you better and then hire you.
So next time you get a client or connect with a great referral, stop and think what about:
- Who you are is clear and concise?
- What you do is tied into who you are in a compelling, rational manner?
- What about your overall brand is communicated well and with emotion to move me to get to know you and hire you?