- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Behavior’
As humans, we are not very good with change. Of course, we all know why. What’s known is comfortable. Anytime we have to give up our comfort zone, we get stressed and scared.
Looking back on my change in career, it was scary. Once I knew that I wasn’t meant to practice law anymore, but to do something else with my natural talents and abilities to be of service to professionals, it still wasn’t a fast and easy change/transition. It too me so long to really “own” that I wasn’t practicing law anymore- and that I didn’t want to practice law anymore. It required me to give up identifying with being a lawyer. It was like someone had stripped my identity, not to mention my cushy income stream.
If I wasn’t a lawyer, then who was I? It wasn’t until the day that I stopped identifying with what I did for a living, and started identifying with who I AM, that I started to love the change. It took several years to get there, though. You know what they say about overnight success.
Brands that are open to change and flexible with change are dynamic brands that endure. These people also have brands that draw in others to them for this very same reason: if someone fears change, they’ll love being around those who are braver than them.
What does this mean for you, your brand and your business/career? Stop and ask yourself:
- How often do you face change and just move forward, trusting your gut that you are on the right track, instead of living in fear?
- How often do you implement change at work? If you have employees that respond to change by saying, “are we changing that again?” or “we liked the old way”, then you need to rethink your employee pool. Either re-train them or get new employees that are more flexible and can go with the flow of change.
I have had an ongoing challenge about some blood work I had done last March. Long story short, somewhere along the way my blood work got “coded” incorrectly. If I told you what kind of a coding error they (Labcorp? Cigna? My doctor?) made, you would laugh. Let’s just say it would be like coding a male lab work for infertility testing when he was checking his prostate. Pretty funny, right?
As a result, Cigna would not pay for my routine lab work. So it sat on the Labcorp books and now Labcorp is threatening collections. I worked on the issue diligently each month, appealing it, noting all my calls and the dialogue and the times/dates. Nothing worked. No one anywhere was willing to step back and see the lunacy around the mis-coding. Health care at its worst. Here we are over a year later.
So finally last week I called Cigna….AGAIN! This time I hit the abundance jackpot. A customer service rep name Brandon T answered. He was surprised that this issue was still lingering. He stayed on the phone with me, acknowledged my frustration, comforted me and assured me he would take care of this. He offered assistance that no one had ever done: he offered to call Labcorp and conference me in and get to the bottom of the issue. Really?! “We can do that?”, I said to him.
Then he said something that shocked me and restored my faith in the healthcare industry. Brandon said he always goes to bat for customers the way he would for his mother or grandmother. He said, “how would I want them treated and how much effort would I put in for them?”
I was stunned. I was elated. I had tears in my eyes. Since that day, Brandon T has lived up to his promise thus far. We were on the phone with Labcorp for 45 minutes the other day. Is the problem solved? Of course not…..yet. However, I feel heard and appreciated. Beyond me, Brandon (and Cigna) has a brand that shines. Brandon doesn’t treat his position at Cigna as “just a job”, but a calling. He is serving a purpose everyday and he does so beautifully. Brandon has a personal brand that is stellar. Cigna is lucky to have him.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and think:
– Do you treat your work as “just a job” or is it more than that?
– What is your mentality when you provide a service to customers and clients? Are they another number to you, another call to deal with, or are they more?
– How can you change your mentality around helping customers/clients (or even others in your personal life) to reflect a personal brand you’d be proud to own? Every interaction is your opportunity to be of service. It all depends on how you chose to view it.
No one says personal brand development is a walk in the park. After all, we have to stretch ourselves, choose to see those ways of being that aren’t working out and then develop new ways to make them work- for ourselves and our clients and businesses.
On the other hand, personal brand development doesn’t have to be difficult or painful either. It all depends on how we choose to view it all.
Take me, for example. If you think I have it all figured out, boy are you wrong. I’m learning as I go, just like you. The difference is that I have a deep faith that I’ll find my way through my brand and business. I also have strong self-awareness around what’s not working and what changes I need to make to BE and BE SEEN as a strong and effective personal brand.
There are plenty of days and minutes and hours where I decide to be angry at myself for not doing better when I know better. For instance, I have come to learn that the one true thing that matters most in personal brand development is feeling good about myself- regardless of what is going on around me. So my circumstances don’t dictate how I should feel. In this way, I’m not being reactive, but in charge of my life and brand perception.
That’s all well and great. You have no idea how often I lose sight of this reality and find myself in a less-than good feeling state. Then I decide to be angry at myself and condemn my mentality. Of course, this never helps, right?
So what I’ve learned in those moments are ways to pick myself up and dust myself off:
– I work hard to stay self-aware and conscious of the nasty thoughts that I don’t like. You know the ones that ego thinks for us to keep us feeling down;
– I then take several deep deep deep breathes to clear my head and body. I instantly feel better with the increase flow of oxygen. Maybe I yawn a few times, too, to increase oxygen;
– Lastly, I think of one thing I’ve done in the past day or so that was really fun and/or exciting for me. This doesn’t have to be a big activity, but something small that made me happy. So for instance, I had a fun time sitting and watching the Oscars last night.
Take these steps to pick yourself up and dust off your brand.
In Part III of my four-part series on Brand Stagnation, let’s chat about stagnation of our personal brands within our friendships. As a recap of “why” this series, I’ve been thinking a lot about brand stagnation lately. It just so happened that so has Oprah!
Oprah has talked about this topic of Stagnation in her “What I know for sure” column of her September 2014 O Magazine, “The Two Questions You Should Ask Yourself Each Day”. Oprah, whether she knows it or not, is my mentor because I have incredible respect and appreciation for her presence in this world. For four weeks, I am taking her topic post and going deeper and looking at it from one of my viewpoints. This method is how I decide what is the next best area that ‘sparkles with rightness’ in the branding world.
So what is Stagnation of your brand within the context of your friendships? Well, these days the word, “friendship” has an entirely different meaning to us all. We have so many “friends” virtually that we seem to have lost the concept of real, dynamic, non-stagnate friendships.
I have lots of Facebook friends and many more people who want to be my Facebook friend whom I have not “accepted” as friends because I don’t know them- at all. While I appreciate that these unknown wanna-be-friends are out there, I’d rather have a cup of coffee with each of them and then “accept” them as friends- on Facebook or in person.
I used to get all out of sorts over my Facebook friends. I would think to myself that I should “accept” all these friends or the world would think I am not loved and don’t have enough friends. Perhaps this would be a sign that I’m not running a good enough/successful enough business if I don’t have enough friends and “likes” on Facebook? I would start to hyperventilate (sort of) and couldn’t focus on my work. How dumb of me! At some point, I stepped back and decided I had gotten sucked into the virtual friendship hole of mis-perceptions that feeds our low self-confidence levels. I couldn’t let Facebook drive my confidence down!!
I think of it as this- I don’t need so many friends all over the place, just friends to whom I provide the same level of connection that I would want back for myself from a friend. This means quality, not quantity for me. And if someone chooses not to do business with me because of the number of my “likes”, “Facebook friends” or LinkedIn Connections, then so be it! I can’t afford to be a half-way friend and risk my brand connection- more does not equal dynamic brand quality. The more virtual friends, the more I found that my brand connection to them stagnated.
So how dynamic are you as a Facebook or real friend? How far would you go to be a “good” friend (whatever you define as “good”)? Does your personal brand shine as a friend or is it dull and stagnate?
A good test of this concept is the following: next time your friend makes a request of you, stop and think to yourself “how would I want my friend to respond if I was the one making such a request?” If you wouldn’t want it done to you, then think twice- your brand is not coming through and your friendship may have stagnated.
Another good test is to consider your friends circle- did you really “pick” them as friends or not? Same test could apply to your friends who are family- would you be friends with your siblings if they weren’t your siblings? Why or why not? Be honest…that’s how you get to a dynamic brand with your friends.
If you recall from last week’s post, this is part two of or my four-part posting regarding stagnation in all areas of our lives. As I said last week, I have Oprah as motivation and inspiration for these posts on stagnation.
Oprah has talked about this topic of stagnation in her “What I know for sure” column of her September 2014 O Magazine, “The Two Questions You Should Ask Yourself Each Day”. Oprah, whether she knows it or not, is my mentor because I have incredible respect and appreciation for her presence in this world. I am taking her topic post and going deeper and looking at it from one of my viewpoints. This method is how I decide what is the next best area that ‘sparkles with rightness’.
So last week we chatted about stagnation in our business lives. This week, let’s chat about how we tend to stagnate in our family life. For most of us, we are so busy that we tend to put our family lives last.
I know that for me, it takes constant and chronic effort to put my family first- or at least not last! I am somewhat embarrassed to admit it, but I have to “work” daily to overcome this nasty mentality (and I mean “nasty” because it never serves me well!) that my husband and family will just love me and understand me, and thus forgive me, if I’m (fill in the blank). The fill-in-the-blank ranges anything from “tired” to “short” to “mad” to “sad”.
One day I had an “ah-ha” moment and realized what I was doing. It was not pretty and it was rather shocking, I must admit. Since that day, I always have to force myself and stop and think, “is this fair to these people that I love?” The answer is always a resounding “no”. Just because people love me and will put up with me in the short term, doesn’t mean I can assume they will do so forever.
Long story, short: thinking your family will always be there and put up with you makes for a very unattractive personal brand in your entire personal life. Pretty soon, if we keep it up we will find ourselves all alone. Either that, or everyone walks on egg-shells around us and starts to whisper around us. They may as well be saying, “don’t disturb the nutty relative”.
If you can’t bring yourself to revive your stagnating personal brand in your family life, consider the impact it has on your business life. Anything you do poorly by way of a personal brand at home with your family follows you to work each and every day. I promise you this. I know when I have had a poor brand at home, it always impacts my work the next day. I then have to exercise a tremendous amount of self-awareness and control to reverse the impact.
Again, change is hard. No question about it. Change is also a bit nauseating, I have found. It is really hard for me to stop and take a long, hard look at my nasty ways at home. I have done so many times and let me tell you it is well worth the pay-off long term. It definitely takes courage.
So consider for yourself whether you have a dull and stagnate personal brand with your family:
-Have you stopped lately to notice how you come across to your family? If not, why not?
-What could possibly be the benefit of not bothering to change at home with your family?
– How can you take better care of yourself in order to feel better about yourself and pass that brand on in your interactions with your family? Perhaps you can try eating better, exercising more and sleeping a bit more each night.
– What is one action you can take to remind yourself to be self-aware of your brand around your family?