- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Stagnation’
When I was a practicing securities lawyer, I had a very particular notion of what it meant for me to be a success. Being successful for me meant to either be a high-salaried employee, meet and exceed my billables each month and/or get promoted or find a new and better job within my industry. That’s it, I’m sorry to say.
As I always say, branding is a marathon with many iterations. We are never broken or “need” anything. We choose to see things differently and then grow and change. Dynamic brands that are open to change succeed.
Looking back on my previous career and life, I feel sorry for that iteration of me. I truly was “Version 1.0” of my brand. I wasn’t really open to change because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Until one day I wasn’t happy anymore as a securities lawyer.
That was the day I opened my eyes and was ready for change and growth. That was the day I decided to be truly successful. Was it easy? No. Change is never easy. Was it worth the ride? Heck yes!
As I look at the definition of “success” as a brand and as a person, I’m reminded of something I heard at Sunday service once at the Unity Center here in San Diego. “Success” is defined as a) continued happiness and b) reaching for worthy goals. In looking at what are your worthy goals, we were told to look for i) what are your longings in life? and ii) where do you come alive in your life? This really struck me as a healthy view of success.
Looking at it from a client-facing perspective, if you believe my premise that a great client experience is based on each and every employee having a great brand (having their values in hand, having empathy, knowing who they are), then a successful and happy employee MUST lead to a great client experience and higher revenues for any organization.
In life and at work, we put up such resistance. We fight the norm, we fight the establishment, we fight our boss, we fight our colleagues and we end up fighting ourselves. The result? Unhappiness.
All of this leads to so much friction and negative effort. We exhaust ourselves and leave others looking away from us. Our brand is spoiled.
At that Sunday service, I was reminded that the word, “Affluence” comes from the derivative, “to flow with”. So what if you let it all flow naturally? I guarantee you that you would be happier and more successful.
What does this mean for you?
Stop and consider:
- Are you happy? If you hate my question, there’s something really great for you in this query. Stay strong and be brave enough to look at it.
- Are you reaching for worthy goals? Stop and question your goals. Looking back, my billables were NOT my worthy goals in life.
- What are you longing for in your life?
- Where in your life experiences do you find you really come alive? Why?
- How are you nurturing happiness within your employee pools’ brands?
- Where can you give up resistance in your life and go with the flow towards affluence?
If this article resonated with you, please pass it on. I’d love your feedback.
Before you think I’m asking you to make a new year’s resolution that you won’t keep, think again and choose to see things differently. Yes, a new year is here. With it can come the drudgery of the past or an opportunity for you to develop a brand for yourself that will leave you happier and more successful. Each of us has a choice.
I personally don’t get the concept of a new year’s resolution. I believe I need to always be resolved to be better and think differently. Otherwise, my brand stagnates and, in a way, so does everything I touch. Besides, resolutions sound kind of scary to me. It feels like there’s no turning back — if I don’t keep my resolution or do it “good enough”, then I fail.
Deliberate brand creation is a marathon, not a new year’s sprint. That’s what I always tell all our clients and also why 99% of our clients are in some sort of maintenance program with me once we have developed their initial brand. The process is never “over”, your brand is never “done”. The good news is your brand just evolves and grows with time as you grow and change. That’s exciting! That takes time, effort, deliberate thought and deliberate action and of course, a plan.
So let’s look at it differently and have you develop your brand from a new perspective. Close your eyes and picture yourself on December 31, 2016. An entire year has come and gone.
How is it that you are remembered by the world on 12/31/16? As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded”. Barbara Stanny said in her fantastic book, Sacred Success, “All that matters is that your legacy reflects your purpose, makes you proud, brings you pleasure, and inspires or improves something or someone else”.
The memories others have of us are our brands. Think in terms of memories. It’s then easier to relate to branding as a concept.
To get started, ask yourself:
- What’s been my contribution in 2016? In answering this look at:
- Did I have a particular cause and/or purpose greater than myself for which I stood?
- How do people remember me emotionally? As Carnegie once said, we are all creatures of emotion, and not logic. Emotions go farther than any of us want to believe. Positive emotions leave us with positive memories.
- Did my contribution leave joy in the hearts of others ? Notice I did not mention leaving joy in the mind’s of others. The emotion of joy is captured in our hearts.
- Did I choose to see people’s differences only, or was I compassionate towards others and towards MYSELF choosing to see our similarities?
- How can my contribution continue to grow (and my brand develop) in the upcoming year?
Here’s to a 2016 filled with all the wonderful memories that leave you as the brand you want to be remembered by.
I recently took to reading the Tao Te Ching. It is known worldwide as The Book of the Way, which is really a guide to the art of living. It was written by Lao-tzu, said to be a contemporary of Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.).
In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu insists on the concept of “doing not-doing”. What this means is doing less that is forced and allowing life to just flow. How often have you experienced the situation where you kind of “gave up” trying so hard and did less? Did you end up seeing/getting better results? I am guessing so.
In this concept of “doing not-doing”, Lao-tzu does not mean being passive. Unfortunately, that’s what we all seem to think it means to sit still and let life happen.
I remember in my practice as a lawyer, I was always “busy” doing things. If it wasn’t the active practice of law, it was something else: teaching yoga, running, reading, other appointments. My list was endless. I used to think I had to be a certain way as a lawyer. This left me very rigid and blocked so much of my creativity as a lawyer. One thing was for sure: I wasn’t going with the flow of anything in life. I was unhappy a lot.
As I shifted professions, I realized that the end was not my goal. I had no real “end” I was shooting for anymore. After all, I no longer cared to make partner in a law firm or to be General Counsel somewhere. Been there, done that.
This reality freed me up to just “be”. That’s right. Just sit still and do less. Now, I’d be lying if I claimed to be in perfect mastery of just “being” and not running around thinking I have to do so much. I’m working on it. I’m a work in progress. I’m proud of myself for even having self-awareness around the concept.
Here’s what I have learned: strong brands do less and “be” more.
No where was this clearer to me than watching the finals of American Ninja Warrior the other night. The final challenge, on the road to being the winner of $1,000,000 and the title of American Ninja Warrior, was to climb a 30 foot rope in under 30 seconds. When they interviewed the winner and asked him how he mentally was able to achieve this amazing act, he said, “I became one with the rope”.
Now you may think this is cheezy or crazy. Fair enough. But consider, what he was really saying was the same thing Lao-tzu said: he was being and not doing so much. He was finding his rhythm and groove with the rope instead of fighting against the rope to climb it and conquer it. He wasn’t resisting life, but flowing with it. Resistance leaves us tired and unhappy. That’s a bad brand.
Effective brands that resonate emotionally with their audience have certain magic to them. To do less, is to be more adaptable, flexible and go with the flow.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying to sit around and be passive and lazy. Strong brands also have conviction, drive and a purpose to be of true service to others.
What does this mean for you? Stop and think:
- How much do you take on in any given day?
- How does it make you feel when you don’t cross off everything on your list? Do you consider yourself a failure?
- How do you come across to others when you take on so much and are constantly “doing”? Do others see a flexible, happy brand or a rigid, tired, stressed and unhappy brand?
So we finally got some real rain here in Southern California over the weekend. I mean rain that soaked everything and caused flash flooding. Yay, I say!
We don’t get rain very often in San Diego. We’ve had a drought advisory for a long time. Grass was no longer green, but brown dirt. I mean 24/7 sunshine is great, but it brings about its own set of issues.
So why do you figure that when we finally got rain over the weekend, the response was not absolute joy from everyone?! Don’t get me wrong- there were lots of grateful and happy people like me. However, I interacted and saw lots of people who were less than happy. They were grumbling about getting wet, having their weekend activities ruined, etc. Some of them were talking about the unfairness of it all. The unfairness of rain- really?
As we’ve all heard, variety is the spice of life. Without variety and change, things get stagnate. So what does rain and variety have to do with your brand? Good question.
Climate can say a lot about the residents that live there. I grew up in Indiana, lived in Washington DC for many years and now live in San Diego. I travel a lot. Over time I started to notice that those people living in four season climates were generally very different than those living in tropical climates.
I remember growing up in Indiana how much fun the change in seasons brought for me. We used to gear up for Fall- raking leaves, bobbing for apples, getting our costumes ready. We used to rejoice as Spring arrived. We really looked forward to the warmth and sunshine and appreciated the Summer heat and fun. We prepped for winter by sealing the deck and driveways and getting the car “winterized”. We got our sweaters out and got our sleds out of the garage.
I’ve discovered people living in four season climates are usually more adaptable and resilient in life. They tend to go with the flow and are more “prepared” for life, shall we say. I believe it has to do with the fact that the change in seasons brings about the mentality of change. Change is about variety and requires us to adapt and grow and stretch ourselves.
In brand development, the goal is to be a creative thought leader that people remember and are emotionally attracted to. Creative thought-leadership comes about when we access our right-brain more often. If you don’t like variety and change, then odds are you are not using your creative mind as much as you could be. Odds are you are using your left- brain more. This leaves you linear and analytical, but not as creative and dynamic and memorable. People tend to remember your brand much better if you are dynamic, flexible, and creative.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
– Do you live in a climate that promotes change and variety? If not, stay extra vigilant in exercising your creative side. Try painting, writing poetry or fiction, or singing.
– Where in your life are you stagnating and not open to change or growth? What’s one simple change you can make to today?
Today we come to the final blog in a four- part series in which we look at the different ways we all stagnate; in business, in friendship, in family and in our spirituality.
As I said in all three of the other blog posts, 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.
So I took her topic post and went deeper, 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 what the heck do I mean when I say, “stagnation in your spiritual life”? Most of us avoid the topic of spirituality for similar reasons. We don’t want to be seen as tree huggers, fluffy, not taken seriously or perceived as not credible.
The list goes on and on. But if we are not even addressing our spiritual life, then how could it stagnate and impact our brand value poorly!?
I’ve found the main reason we don’t venture into our spiritual life is because of fear. This fear triggers all the reasons/excuses I listed above.
I know I personally was afraid for a long time. At first, I was afraid of looking at the concept of spirituality in my life. The definition of spirituality is different for everyone, as it should be.
I got over that fear as I evolved and changed careers from law to brand management. In fact, my spirituality and growth as a human was what helped me transition careers and be stable.
But my fear did not end there. Now that I was finding my spirituality, I found that I feared sharing what I learned and knew with my clients. In other words, I was afraid my business audience and clientele would not take me seriously if I wasn’t just talking to them about using their brand to get business and sell themselves well. I was afraid of not being taken seriously and seen as fluffy and nutty, I dare say.
Then one day not too long ago, I just got tired of flying under the radar and bringing ‘stealth spirituality’ to my work and clients. I got that I was stagnating in my message and purpose as a personal branding expert. I was only sharing and giving up half of what I knew. It wasn’t fair to me – I wasn’t self-expressed. It certainly wasn’t fair to my audience.
Since my “awakening”, I have started sharing my personal branding expertise and know-how completely differently with my audience. I share from the heart and share from my own experiences and issues. I’ve found they are applicable to everyone somehow, so everyone can relate and learn and grow and also teach me something new!
What does this mean for you? Stop and think:
- What areas of your life are you afraid to look at? Why?
- Where are you stagnating as a result of this fear?
- How can you take one small step today to be dynamic in your entire life and personal brand? What would be possible as a result of that one small change?