I made the point last time that brand is about crystal clarity — knowing how someone will act because of who they are. But, there’s another point about brand that I think is equally powerful — getting passion and energy from the world because you are living your brand.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to have many moments where my brand has been coming to life. It has given me the energy to push on with crazy workload and to feel that my life has purpose. It has helped me persevere.
But first, some background. Two years ago, I was able to attend a women’s leadership conference as part of my company’s commitment to development. It was a great event, but like so many similar efforts, coming back with a tactical tool was hard. One thing that I did come back with, though, was a personal vision statement. It has become a regular check-in document, something I use to confirm or reject defeating thoughts or new opportunities.
In it, I had to consider my values, in my mind those things at the heart of my brand. I came up with three things that I absolutely believe in:
- The Power of New Ideas
- The Imperative to Help Others Be Successful
- The Strength of Authenticity
At work, I was struggling with how to move the needle on something. It was weighing on me, because until I figured out how to reframe it, it was going to continue to be my boulder to roll. No matter how I looked at it, the same crappy answer came back: give up, there’s nothing you can do.
And then someone said, “I think you should look at it differently,” and someone else said, “We need a way forward,” and POOF the idea leapt into the open space and gave me possibility. I won’t bore you with it, specifically, but the energy that came out of the power of new ideas was electric.
No fewer than five people have reached out to me recently to talk about ‘what’s next for them.’ New jobs, mostly, or the possibility of new jobs. All of them felt that I could offer a safe place for reflection, someone who would have their best interests at heart. Even in a mid-year conversation, I was given feedback. A colleague told me that he thought — in our first six months together — that every conversation was a performance review. He followed up by saying that he had come to realize that every conversation is half tactical support and half coaching to make him better. He welcomed it and was thankful.
Every one of those conversations enriched me as much as it might have helped them. I came away from each dialogue happier and more balanced. It was feeding my core belief in the imperative to help others be successful.
And this blog. Taking the time to write — even now, grabbing a quick bite between crashing assignments — helps me channel the strength of authenticity. Being me, the same me, whether in the office, at a coffee shop or on the Internet.
Take the time to understand and honor your values, those things that make up the core of your brand. Write them down, in whatever way makes sense. Find people and activities that embrace and leverage those values to their highest potential.
Maybe, just maybe, it will give you the energy to make it past your hard times, too.