- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Brene’ Brown’
I was most recently in Austin, Texas for two reasons. One, since I develop the personal brands of musicians and artists, I love Austin for its rich pool of fantastic and undeveloped/unbranded talent. They deserve a fantastic personal brand so their music can be heard and noticed far and wide! Two, I am also looking to open our Austin location to service our legal, financial and music clientele.
On this trip to Austin, I was firmly focused on the famous Austin phrase, “keep Austin weird”. I started to really explore what it means to be “weird”. The word, “weird”, like anything else, is extremely subjective. One man’s weird is another man’s normal.
I personally love Austin for being weird and wearing the “weird” brand so well. Everywhere you go, you see fantastic signs of weird. It’s irrelevant for me to list the activity I saw signaling “weird” because, as I said, weird is subjective. However, for example, walking down South Congress Street through the touristy/weird stores, I heard a man/tourist say, “this town is too weird for me, it makes me uncomfortable”.
That’s when it hit me- Austin wears “weird” as a badge of honor. In my opinion the city is saying, “we are proud to be different and stand out of the crowd”. People who live in Austin do so because it is great to live where you can be accepted for who you are, no matter what that may be. Everyone wants to be loved despite his or her faults and warts, etc.
However, most of society is so afraid of being different and unique, afraid to thus stand out and be heard and seen as who they really are and who they dream to be. Society calls people and situations who dare to be different and unique as “weird” because we are so afraid of the unknown. As the male Austin visitor said, it makes us uncomfortable.
Instead, we like to conform. As Brene’ Brown points out in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, when we compare ourselves to others, we tend to conform and compete. We compare to fit in and yet stand out, as odd as that seems. But as Brown found, none of it promotes self-acceptance, belonging or authenticity. None of it promotes a successful personal brand. The only successful and strong personal brand is one that is authentic and true to that person’s genuine being- and yes, that may be “weird” or different. At least, that’s my hope. As I always say, “if you are not quirky or weird, you are not dynamic and you are hard to brand”.
So stop and think to yourself:
– Do you spend all your energy and time focused on standing out by fitting in?
– Do you yearn to be different and outstanding, yet find yourself trying hard to blend in and be accepted? If so, what would happen if you tried to just be yourself and have joy in your life? I can tell you, that your personal brand would be much stronger and you would be happier and attract more people and opportunities to you.
So go out there and create an intentional personal brand that’s all YOU- warts and all! I promise you the worst that will happen is that you find yourself happier and your business and career growing for the better.
I’d love to HEAR FROM YOU: what are you doing to be unique and own your weirdness?
I’m always explaining to audiences and clients the need for them to have a creative outlet in order to develop and resonate an effective personal brand. If I had to pick one area where my clients struggle the most, it would be with their creative expression.
I often hear from clients that they are “not creative” or that they “don’t have time for creativity”. Hearing these types of response is not shocking anymore. Hearing these types of responses used to make me sad. Now it frankly just motivates me more in my work and life purpose.
Nearly all my audiences and clients have a similar goal in wanting a personal brand that will help them stand out, be memorable and have high recall value. In short, the goal is to be remembered and let’s face it -loved. What this goal always comes down to is whether you are, and resonate to me that you are, a thought-leader in your particular industry and expertise.
The only characteristic that makes you a thought-leader (and what I remember) is whether or not you are, and seem, creative to me. Think about it- why would I hire you (or pay attention to you) if you don’t seem creative enough to make a real difference in my world?
Yet most people falsely believe that I would want to hire you more if you are like others in your profession/career. Thus, they spend most of their energy and time trying to blend in, conform and compete.
As Brene’ Brown says in her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, it is easy to see how we don’t make time for creativity when we are so busy conforming and competing. Brown goes on to very eloquently state, “[c]reativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us to stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared.”
So stop and think:
– Do you mistakenly believe that you are not creative or that your creativity doesn’t matter?
– If not, what are your creative outlets?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word, “self” and in particular, how people perceive themselves and others in relation to the word, “selfish”. All of this inquiry leads to the conclusion that people with a strong sense of self have strong personal brands. By a strong sense of self, I am referring to being able to love themselves, express their authentic selves and bring this notion to their work and careers with ease and grace. This equals one fantastic personal brand.
Often when people call us “selfish” it is because they can’t value the healthy boundaries we’ve established. Likely, they also don’t have good boundaries themselves. That’s why saying “no” or establishing any other type of boundary with them makes them feel unloved and rejected and thus, they call us selfish.
In fact, it is just the opposite. In her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Berne Brown points out that in order to have compassion, we must be able to have good boundaries. Otherwise, we are not genuine because we feel resentful of not being able to say “no” or hold our boundary. Then we feel taken advantage of and “unloved”
If you can’t be compassionate towards yourself enough to set boundaries, then you can’t be compassionate towards others.
Now that’s selfish, if you ask me.
Think back to the last time you were disappointed by someone who was supposed to be an expert, yet left you feeling less than confident in their abilities to lead you down the best path. I’ve had this experience many times and the feeling is always unsettling, at best.
When we seek advice from an “expert” in any field, we need them to seem, or have a perception value for us as being, calm and centered. Otherwise, why would we take advice from them?!
In this day and age of running around, juggling family and work and trying to be optimal, we are often anxiety ridden. The truth is that everyone is anxious. The question becomes how do we handle it so that our personal brands are strong and most importantly, so that we can live happy lives.
In Berne’ Brown’s latest book, “The Gifts of Imperfection“, she addresses anxiety and anxious people. From her research, Brown has found that anxiety is a lifestyle choice we make. In other words, we get to choose whether we want to let our anxiety rule our lives. I find this profound, not only in terms of impact on our personal brands and business, but on our entire way of being each and every day.
Brown says that we have to pause between the stimulus that stands to make us anxious, and our response to that stimulus. Pausing to remain calm allows us to quiet our emotions and break the anxious reaction cycle we often face.
In our business brands, this manifest for the negative every time we hit a “problem”, “glitch”, difficult person/client/customer or “emergency”. If we don’t pause and remain calm, then we are setting off a vicious cycle of anxiety-driven business responses that are highly guaranteed to hurt the business brand and your personal brand.
The entire point is to have an intentional brand, as I preach. So next time you are apt to respond in anxiety, consider your personal brand value and try to:
– Stay calm
– Think quickly, yet be slow to react
If you meditate, like I encourage all my clients to do, this process will be easier for you.
When I left the practice of law many years ago, I went through a long, long phase of feeling lost and inadequate and confused. I never told anyone. I just sat with it all and wondered what I was supposed to be when I “grew up”. It took me really taking a long hard look at who I was, my passion and purpose for getting up every day and what came naturally to me (my gifts and talents) to really wake up and start the journey. This journey has culminated into a successful personal branding company where I am fortunate to bring this passion and purpose and natural talents to clients.
What it also took was becoming vulnerable. I had to let go of being a lawyer and allow myself to be a person. I then had to realize that I was good enough and didn’t need a label or a title. It felt much like being stripped naked. It was painful and raw.
But what came next was fantastic. Slowly, as I built up the company and started to see results for clients, I started to live into my new-found being and purpose. I began living with, and expressing, joy and love. I found my strength. I also realized that expressing vulnerability made me stronger and even more fabulous. As a result, my personal brand became stronger and so did the business brand.
The concept of vulnerability has been beautifully researched by the fabulous Brene’ Brown. Brene’ describes herself as a “researcher storyteller”. Her fantastic Ted Talk on vulnerability and shame has exploded the field wide open. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in person in June at the Inc. Magazine Leadership Conference.
Brene’ says that she was researching to expand perception- that a piece of her research fundamentally expanded her perception. She discovered that connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It is why we are here. Through her research, she discovered shame as being a fear of disconnection. Shame unravels connection and makes people unworthy of connection. Underpinning this concept was deep vulnerability. Brene’ holds that in order to connect, we must allow ourselves to really be seen.
Brene’ holds that what keeps us from connection is our fear of connection. According to her, people who succeed here and live full out, had a sense of authenticity, courage and connection and fully embraced vulnerability and believed what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful.
In a nutshell, Brene’ found that vulnerabilty is necessary. It is the birthplace of joy, belonging and love.
We live in a vulnerable world. As I’ve always said, successful personal branding means you develop a connection with others. This requires you to be open to others, share your uniqueness and story. Only then will you be living in the only emotion that sells your brand- joy. Only then will people want to get to know you.
It all starts with you being strong enough to do the self-discovery work we have you do. This requires you to be, and always stay, vulnerable. As a result, I feel safe and equal to you- as a brand and as a person. As I have often said, I have deep respect for my clients for working with us and going “there” with us. The results are always fantastic.
There is a balance between being vulnerable and owning your strength as a person and your personal brand. We only want to hire strong, well-rounded people with balanced personal brands.
So, as Brene’ says, let yourself be seen, love wholeheartedly, practice gratitude and joy and believe you are enough. Only then will your personal brand be so strong that it will convert masses to your side- always