- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘personal connection stories’
It’s January and it seems lots of us are goal setting. I remember setting goals. It was just awful. I was always at a loss for what goals to set. I had all sorts of thoughts swirling in my head, like: Should I aim for lofty goals or manageable goals? What if I failed at achieving my goals? Did I have to share my goals with my team/boss? How much faith was I supposed to have in my goals being “good”? What if my goals didn’t feel real for me- was that ok?
And on and on and on it went….just like a bad movie that never ended.
Until one day when I stopped setting goals. Here’s why.
Setting goals does two things:
1) You don’t achieve your goal and so you feel like a failure. Great. Just what you wanted, right?
2) You don’t achieve your goal because it wasn’t your goal in the first place. Your boss and/or team insisted on you setting goals. So you put down something that has no meaning or passion for you and you obviously don’t achieve it. Failure again.
Instead of goal setting, I decided to focus on stories and outcomes that made me happy. Why?
In my formal and informal research findings, I’ve discovered the higher your stress, the lower your self-confidence. The lower your self-confidence, the less your brand emotionally resonates with me and the less effective your brand. So why would I set goals if they cause me stress and reduce my self-confidence and emotional brand resonance?
Instead, I now envision what I want to happen and write the story of how it will play out. I encourage all my clients to do the same. This method puts you in control of your life and restores your personal power and creative vision for yourself. It’s also just fun to have a blank canvas on which to create your future- as you want to have it happen. It nicely follows my blog regarding how you want to be remembered.
What does this mean for you? Sit down with a blank screen. Ask yourself the following questions and start creating your 2016:
- What one or two things do you see yourself doing really well in 2016? It can be personal or business. Write it down and also write down why you do these one or two things well in 2016? These should be things that bring you true joy in your life. Don’t hold back.
- What kind of work do you want to do in 2016? Be specific. Type out all the details.
- What type of clients and colleagues do you want to work with? Again, specific details create results.
- How many hours per week do you want to work and play? Why? Write it all out.
- Do you want to relocate in 2016? If so, are you changing homes or cities or states or maybe even moving to a new country? Why? Write as much detail as you can.
- What are you going to do JUST for yourself in 2016? Why? With Whom? Creative use of our right-brain makes for great brands.
Don’t hold back. No one is going to read this but you. If at first this is too hard and you start to get twitchy, that’s great! You’re on to something. Keep writing. You’ll know when you are done.
I was working with a band last week and this issue came up again- so I thought I would address it again. The reason I love working with artists and musicians on their personal brand management is because I like to see them in control- of their music, talent and business growth. So often artists who “just want to make music” or “just want to sing” forget that they can and should be responsible for the entire brand they project.
So my question is always the same: who do you want in your audience? The initial response is always something like, “whoever wants to come listen to us perform”. That’s the same as when I ask lawyers who they want as clients and they respond with, “anyone who can pay me”. Wrong answer, in my book.
After all, do you really want to cater to anyone and everyone? Even if you did, do you really have the time and/or money to spend on marketing to every one of us on the planet? Where do you start and where do you stop?
The answer always rests within yourself. What do I mean? Well, in the example of the band mentioned above here’s how it went: after about 20 minutes of asking the same question, the lead singer finally said that he wanted himself in his audience. Bingo!
If the personal brand premise is to connect with people who like you, “get” you and want to be around you, then your target marketing/audience goal should be the same- you should aim at getting people in your audience who are like you or share your similarities and personal brand value. They can look different but in general be “like” you.
How do you figure out who is “like” you, so that you can market to them as your potential audience? Well, that’s why your Personal Connection Story is so important. Once you figure out your story- who you really are and why you are an artist (fill-in the blank with any profession), then it becomes so much easier (and more fun!) to get your perfect audience in place. I promise!
I’m a big proponent of everyone having their story (Personal Connection Story, is my terminology) down well as part of their effective personal brand. But this is always the hardest part of personal brand development for all our clients. For starters, no one appreciates their story- not just the significance of it, but the need for it, how to communicate it, etc.
People always ask me what parts of their story they should lead with because otherwise they feel overwhelmed by their own story. After all, if you know your story well enough and have developed it well, your total story should be significantly lengthy. I’m assuming you have all lived at least 25 years, which means you’ve got a lot to share with the rest of us.
Always keep in mind that you are looking for a connection with whoever is in front of you. What do you have in common with them? Why? Once they know this information, people extrapolate an assumption that you “get” them. Connections come once I think you are on my team.
In other words, people want to know if you are on their side. WHY do you do what you do and how can you help them? So look at when and how you are an ADVOCATE for your clients and/or customers. Then convey that part of your story to prospects/whomever you are trying to connect (i.e., network) with. That’s what I need to feel/know from you when I meet you.
I was at the American Bar Association (ABA) annual meeting last week in San Francisco where once a year it seems all of us lawyers descend on a major city. I was having a conversation over drinks with a litigator friend/client of mine.
We were chatting about the diversity of my clients. We work on the personal brand development of clients ranging from lawyers and accountants to entertainers and rock stars. So she asked a very interesting question, wondering if the personal brand development dilemmas of lawyers and rock stars/entertainers were the same. The answer from my experience is that professionals, such as lawyers, have different personal branding issues than rock stars and other entertainers.
In the professional services world and personal brand development, we are aiming at developing, positioning and marketing a personal brand and story that resonates with clarity and consistency to as many people as possible within a target market range that’s right for you, as the professional- lawyer, accountant, CEO. The tough part is making sure you are memorable and visible, yet always credible in your substantive work. The resulting tough part is making sure your target market is aware of you at all times so you stay top of mind. After all, there are tons of lawyers and accountants!
In the entertainment world, the personal brand development has the same construct, but plays out differently given what entertainers do. For example in developing the personal brand of a rock star (take for example Adam Lambert), we are still aiming to develop, position and market a personal brand and story that resonates with clarity and consistency the real Adam Lambert.
However, our main concern and issue is not to make sure the entertainer is visible and top of mind to his/her target audience. When the entertainer is known, his/her target market is aware of them at all times. There is only one Adam Lambert.
The problem for rock stars and singers often times becomes having too broad an audience and fan base. This is often because the messaging of the rock star and who he/she is gets diluted, thus capturing too many fans who now expect (and want!) different things from the star. This creates a marketing nightmare and an inconsistent personal brand because there is lack of clarity about who the star really is and what his/her story really is/should be to the best audience for him/her.
So this may be the only time you see an article comparing lawyers and rock stars. As humorous as it may be, remember whether you are a lawyer or a rock star, you still have a personal brand to develop and own! Enjoy the process.
Making the decision to change careers and then taking the big plunge to actually change careers is hard enough. I know what it is like. I remember it all too well. Sometimes I look back and wonder where I ever got the nerve or the courage. I have even asked myself if I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now. The answer is always a resounding “yes”.
Changing careers is scary because there are so many unknowns. We ask ourselves all sorts of questions, including:
– Will I like my new career better than my current career?
– Will I be a success?
– Will I make enough money to live comfortably?/ Can I pay the bills to survive?
Part of the difficulty in changing careers is the unsettling notion we have about how we can conform who we are, as individuals, to the new job. The problem is that most of us identify ourselves with our careers and jobs. If you asked me 15 years ago who I was, I would have told you I was a lawyer.
Clients often say to me that they do not know how to represent themselves (ie, position their personal brands) in networking events, on business cards and in front of others in general. For example, one client practiced as a CPA for twenty years before switching careers to go into the mortgage industry. Not only did she have a challenge with what to verbally say as she introduced herself and her new career, but she also had reservations around her visual brand- how does a mortgage industry specialist show up in public? Is it the same as a CPA or not? More conservative or less? The list was endless, understandably.
The hesitation and confusion is understandable. There is a very real loss of self followed by self-discovery in this process. You have to go through the journey of figuring out how to distinguish yourself and your new personal brand within the context of the your new industry and career. This requires you to know your uniqueness and your story around it. Then you need to find the overlap in your uniqueness, talents and story between your two careers.
So ask yourself: 1) are you ready for a change? 2) would a new career make you happier possibly in the long run? 3) do you have a contribution to society that fuels your passion and purpose? 4) where are the commonalities and differences in your two careers and your skill-set and offerings- ie, where are YOU the same in each career?