- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Perception’
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.
While getting business and making a sale is great, I find that most of us miss the fundamental reason WHY we get business and make a sale. In my world, your brand is about all the actions and perceptions you create BEFORE you get to the sale.
I remember as a lawyer in my previous career, it was very easy to fall off the mark and forget about the human interactions behind business. I would get so involved in the substantive work I was doing as a lawyer, that there would be no time for the human element. It was almost as if there were no people operating behind the business.
As Dale Carnegie said it best, “When dealing with people, remember we are all creatures of emotion and not creatures of logic”. If you keep this quote in mind, your personal branding development will come with more ease and be more effective.
It all boils down to a much more fundamental concept when we stop to look at business and sales from an emotional level and not logical level. I liked the way Oprah Winfrey put it when she was being interviewed by Barbara Walters. Oprah, in addressing why she used being on television as a means of being of service, said, “when you see what you offer the world, your world shifts”.
So what does this mean for you? Well, stop and think:
– What do you really offer the world with your work?
– What fundamental human need do you serve?
– Do you get the reality of those you serve?
– Do you emotionally resonate your brand with your audience? You’ll know you do so when you see sales go up, business increase and you do it all with ease and have fun, too.
If you are unsure, email us and we can talk about your strategy.
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.
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’.
As such, this blog is part one of four in which I look at the different ways we all stagnate- in business, in friendship, in family and in our spirituality.
I’ve discovered one of the hardest things for humans is to deal with change. After all, no one wants to deal with the uncertainty and fear of something new and unfamiliar. Maintaining the status quo is so much easier and predictable.
The 1998 best-selling book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson addresses the concept of change versus stagnation. The book is about two mice and two mouse-sized humans confronted by change because their supply of cheese in the maze is dwindling. Thus, they can only survive if they are able to go out to other parts of the maze and find new/more cheese. This practice takes bravery and courage. Dr. Johnson found that people respond to change in four ways:
- Deny or resist it
- Anticipate it
- Recognize and respond quickly to it
- Learn to overcome a fear of change and appreciate its benefits
When the recession hit, I felt deeply for people who got laid off and displaced. All of a sudden the Universe had forced people to shift and change and it was scary for everyone. By the time the recession came about, I had already quit my career as a lawyer two years prior. My same colleagues who had thought I was nuts leaving my career all of a sudden became victims of the same fate- except they had not chosen to leave the profession with free will.
You better believe that for the first several years of quitting I often felt like I was nuts for leaving my high-paying career and job: voluntarily. I had plenty of moments of doubt and confusion. I felt like I was out of my mind.
It was rough and scary and confusing. Change was not easy for me, either. However, I never felt like I had a choice to go back. It was like something was calling to me and I had to listen- or bust!
All l could do was trust that my intuition was right. The best way I can describe it was that it felt right to be running this new business.
Another gauge I had was in paying attention to my audience (clients). It was amazing to see how many people cared about my message and took it all in like a drowning man drinks water. My audience motivated me to keep going.
I kept thinking to myself, “wow, this can’t be wrong if I am striking a cord with all these people”. Plus, while the business development end was more complex to develop, the rest felt so easy- like I was exactly where I was meant to be. It was exciting and scary- I had become addicted to it and could never turn back.
I believe the recession was a wonderful reason for people to not stagnate in their careers and as humans, but rather grow and change and evolve. I’m not saying it was easy, but my experience with my client base and colleagues has found it has gotten easier and more exciting.
However, even if you have been through change in your career, odds are you have possibly settled back into your new ways and are no longer looking for change. This mentality becomes dangerous because it stunts your growth and evolution as a professional.
As humans, we are not mean to stagnate by not changing. In fact, we are created to constantly transform and grow. The most often cited goal my clients have when they come to work with me on their personal brands is that they want to be thought leaders and get more exposure and business.
Owning and exuding a personal brand of a thought-leader requires you to be creative. Being creative requires you to try new things. Trying new things means you must be open to change.
How can you start to embrace change in your professional life and have a personal brand that is not stagnate, but in fact dynamic and vibrant? Here are some ideas to get you started:
– Go out there and meet new people in and out of your industry
– Go to lunch with a colleague AND with the person you report to directly (ie, your boss). You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you can learn from them outside the work setting.
– Talk the walk first: tell others you are “open to change in your business/career growth” and “look forward to new ventures”. In this way, people start to see you as a vibrant, dynamic person and professional. You’ll start to believe it, too.
– Find a hobby: something you’ve never tried, but can give one hour per month to explore.
– Exude a different visual brand: start dressing in more vibrant colors. Leave the black and gray in your closet- they are dull.
– Find 10 minutes a day, at least, to sit still and not think so much. Your world will evolve and your mind will expand in ways you never imagined.
– Track how often you laugh out loud or allow yourself to be happy and act happy. Increase these numbers each week.
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.