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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’
If you recall from last week’s post, this is part two of or my four-part posting regarding stagnation in all areas of our lives. As I said last week, I have Oprah as motivation and inspiration for these posts on stagnation.
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’.
So last week we chatted about stagnation in our business lives. This week, let’s chat about how we tend to stagnate in our family life. For most of us, we are so busy that we tend to put our family lives last.
I know that for me, it takes constant and chronic effort to put my family first- or at least not last! I am somewhat embarrassed to admit it, but I have to “work” daily to overcome this nasty mentality (and I mean “nasty” because it never serves me well!) that my husband and family will just love me and understand me, and thus forgive me, if I’m (fill in the blank). The fill-in-the-blank ranges anything from “tired” to “short” to “mad” to “sad”.
One day I had an “ah-ha” moment and realized what I was doing. It was not pretty and it was rather shocking, I must admit. Since that day, I always have to force myself and stop and think, “is this fair to these people that I love?” The answer is always a resounding “no”. Just because people love me and will put up with me in the short term, doesn’t mean I can assume they will do so forever.
Long story, short: thinking your family will always be there and put up with you makes for a very unattractive personal brand in your entire personal life. Pretty soon, if we keep it up we will find ourselves all alone. Either that, or everyone walks on egg-shells around us and starts to whisper around us. They may as well be saying, “don’t disturb the nutty relative”.
If you can’t bring yourself to revive your stagnating personal brand in your family life, consider the impact it has on your business life. Anything you do poorly by way of a personal brand at home with your family follows you to work each and every day. I promise you this. I know when I have had a poor brand at home, it always impacts my work the next day. I then have to exercise a tremendous amount of self-awareness and control to reverse the impact.
Again, change is hard. No question about it. Change is also a bit nauseating, I have found. It is really hard for me to stop and take a long, hard look at my nasty ways at home. I have done so many times and let me tell you it is well worth the pay-off long term. It definitely takes courage.
So consider for yourself whether you have a dull and stagnate personal brand with your family:
-Have you stopped lately to notice how you come across to your family? If not, why not?
-What could possibly be the benefit of not bothering to change at home with your family?
- How can you take better care of yourself in order to feel better about yourself and pass that brand on in your interactions with your family? Perhaps you can try eating better, exercising more and sleeping a bit more each night.
- What is one action you can take to remind yourself to be self-aware of your brand around your family?
Here’s an interesting thought for you to consider: what if you don’t have to choose one or the other? What if you can be happy and as successful as you want/think you can be? Does that sound radical and crazy, or totally possible to you?
The truth is we often believe we have to be accomplished and get to the “top” then we can finally be happy. I know, and work with, many accomplished people who are not happy. So I’ve found that we have it backwards: We first need to be happy, then and only then, we can be successful, however you define your own success.
I was a happy, practicing lawyer until I realized that we didn’t have the best image as lawyers. I became fascinated with this issue and wanted to turn it around for lawyers. I also then realized that my natural gift was in personal brand management- that’s what makes me happy as a human- and guess what else? It also makes me successful, too.
Here’s the dilemma. I’ve discovered most of us don’t even stop and consider this distinction, let alone get to the possibility of “having it all” by being happy and successful. I believe it is because we have developed by being conditioned by society (your family, friends, etc.) to THINK this way.
I believe that if we started being aware of our thoughts; we could then be more in control of all our thoughts and in control of our happiness and our success and thus- our lives. This sense of control could and should be liberating- you would then have a focal point behind which to put your energy. And of course, a self-aware person is an effective personal brand.
To help show us how to be more aware of our thoughts with the right tools, I recently had the privilege and honor to interview the great Byron Katie (Katie, as she prefers to be called). In brief, Katie believes your thoughts are the cause of your suffering.
It was in the late 1980s when Katie experienced this belief first-hand. Katie is a best-selling author of numerous books. She has helped millions of people over the years and continues to do so with her process of self-inquiry called, The Work. The Work applies to all people alike. So how can it help you? To answer this question, let me ask another question: does the notion of looking at your thoughts seem scary, perhaps? If so, you’re not alone.
Katie has been quoted as saying, “[w]hen we are not fearful, we are unlimited”. I wholeheartedly believe in this. How often do you find yourself stuck and almost paralyzed by a sense of fear? My hope is you have the self-awareness to stop and notice. I remember how scared and stuck I was when I was initially leaving the practice of law. I often had dreams where everyone was swimming in a pool and I was standing there watching them- I wanted to get in but literally couldn’t move. Those nasty and telling dreams tapered off and gradually stopped once I worked to get past my fears and really embrace my unlimited nature and new career.
I believe when we are not trapped in fear then we can be so much more effective and kind and successful at anything we chose to focus on. This is an abundance mind-set. As I always say, when we know our uniqueness, then there is no competition, but collaboration. Being able to find your uniqueness rests in feeling abundant mentally, fearless and unlimited.
Katie has also found, “[w]hen people take a fearful or rigid stance, they often bring about what they are trying to prevent.” The bottom line is our thoughts lead to our suffering. Katie says we always prepare for winning and losing in our minds. We put so much upon ourselves to win and be right and be a success.
So our thoughts can be stressful and torture, if we believe them. However, listening to our thoughts and being aware ultimately makes us kinder and less aggressive. We are then more aware of all the possible solutions to our problems that we perhaps weren’t aware of before we actually sat still and allowed our own knowledge to flow through and guide us.
When I first started to do The Work, I remember how disgusted and shocked I was with my thoughts. How could it be, I used to think (and still do, but less!), that I am thinking this self-defeating thought?
In fact, The Work is actually meditative in application. But are you open to meditation and sitting still? Or are you stuck in your own ways and can’t even consider anything new to try? Is it just “fluff” to sit still and be with your thoughts? Or is it just too scary?
In actuality I believe, and know to be true, that being self-aware/self-realized makes you: 1) a better person: more positive, more grateful and happy AND 2) even a greater force in other areas in which you want to succeed. The more I practice self-awareness the more I relate to others and find gratitude each day. This is particularly true for my second career- I find I am so much more “in the flow”, in harmony with my ultimate purpose and on the path to big, big things.
So I asked Katie, how can we move past our self-limiting blocks and patterns using The Work, thus trying new methods and being open to methods that may seem like “fluff”? Katie believes if we believe it is fluff, it could cost us something that could really expand and grow us as people. After all, we can’t know for sure that The Work, or any other process, is fluff without trying it. If we don’t try, then the door is shut to new ways and ideas and really, creativity as I see it. So Katie’s advice is to stay open to The Work, stating, “[y]ou don’t have to do it now, but there could be a time in your life when you need it and want to do it. …. We hold all the power to make changes in our lives.”
Here’s another reason to try The Work or some other way of growing. I have found through my research that everyone suffers from some sort of self-confidence issue. My research shows that low self-confidence is directly inversely related to high stress. When we have low self-confidence we have a poor personal brand that doesn’t “sell” us.
My research shows we often end up comparing ourselves to others, perhaps feeling victimized and even like an outcast. To make ourselves feel better, we project how we feel outward onto others so that they are the problem or the cause for our sorry situation. All this rings of a low self-confidence issue, which is true for all humans in one way or another. I know for a fact that every time I sink into low self confidence, everyone around me is well aware of this shift- they may not consciously know so, but so much of what I’m talking about is subconscious processing of information.
In one of her books, Katie states that we all have this unspoken belief that unless people approve of us, we are worthless. Katie also says that defending anything is the first act of “war” or a war-like mental state of aggression. It seems like this is exactly one of our challenges that can hold us back – many times we feel worthless and go into self-defense mode.
So how can we apply The Work to not compare, not defend and have higher self-confidence?
Katie finds that when we feel low in self-confidence, then that low self-confidence is what we think we have to sell. In that instance, we don’t like ourselves, and we don’t expect others to like us. As a result, we can’t attract anyone. If we didn’t defend ourselves and looked at constructive criticism with an open mind, then maybe we’d learn something about ourselves that we may have missed. In that way, we could also connect with another person. Katie holds that every time a person does The Work, they come out as a kinder, caring, enlightened, fearless person, which reeks of high self-confidence because we are on solid ground and we are not defending ourselves to the world.
So where should you start, you ask?
Katie recommends we fit The Work in gradually by perhaps getting up a little bit earlier than the rest of our household each morning, getting quiet and getting still to sort life out. Katie recommends doing so in the early morning because in the mornings our minds are clear before the world bombards them. Even 20 minutes a day helps.
Katie advices that this is not just one more thing on your list- you DO NOT have to do this. But, Katie promises, if you try it, you will have such a shift in your mindset and ability to produce results. To me those “results” are being happy and successful.
I myself am a testament to this process. For years now, I prescribe to “slow start” mornings. I get up early, work out and then spend at least 30 minutes sitting still and focusing inside. Years ago I heard Richard Branson does the same- so I kept it up. I figured he must be doing something right and this just felt like one of those things to keep doing. It brings me so much calmness and clarity every morning. Plus I have something to look forward to every morning.
What should you do in the 20 minutes? Katie recommends you close your eyes and contemplate a thought that you have that is stressing you. This will allow you to get clarity on the issue and how you feel and view it. Katie says that doing this will change the way you see everything for the rest of your life. I totally agree, as I have been doing The Work for some time now in addition to my slow morning routine.
Will it be do-able? Well Katie advices that you just try it on with an open mind. Even if it is hard, be gentle and kind to yourself. As Katie put it, it is all about your own world peace. I agree. I find that it is our job to take care of our peace in this world so we can be of service to others.
As Katie says, doing The Work will sharpen our observations and leave us in balance. Who wouldn’t want that?
For my full audio interview and highlight video with Byron Katie see here: www.purispersonalbranding.com
The full video version should be available through Byron Katie’s website, www.thework.com soon. For inquiries regarding the video, please contact that site.
I have the same conversation at least once a week with a client. It goes something like this: they tell me they met a wonderful potential client OR they tell me that they got a great new client. Fantastic, right?!
So I always ask them what they did to get that client, i.e., how did the referral come to them? Why do I ask them this basic question? I often find that folks don’t stop and really think and assess how they retained business. All they care about is that they got new business or met a “hot lead”. While it may seem to make sense to focus on the final outcome and move on with business, it’s really not ok.
Why? Because you need to figure out how the client came to be. You shouldn’t be hoping and praying each time you meet someone who can possibly be a client. You must have a plan and thus, be in control of the outcome – and your brand. There is absolutely no sense in recreating the wheel each and every time a new lead or referral pops up in front of you. When I say ‘have a plan’, I mean a branding plan where you know who you are, what you do and how you can tell them all this about you in a compelling way.
In my world, knowing who you are is key because if you don’t know yourself and your brand well enough, then how can you tie it well into what you do? If you can’t get that far, there’s no way you can tell a referral or lead all this about yourself and “how” you can be of service to them- at least not in any compelling way for them to remember you and want to get to know you better and then hire you.
So next time you get a client or connect with a great referral, stop and think what about:
- Who you are is clear and concise?
- What you do is tied into who you are in a compelling, rational manner?
- What about your overall brand is communicated well and with emotion to move me to get to know you and hire you?
Several years ago I wrote a post on treating your clients like you treat your pets. I still get requests and inquiries about that post, including one just two weeks ago.
So here’s a post along the same lines. This post came about as a result of a conversation with a client last week. She was pointing out that she’s not sure how her brand comes across at work. New in her position as General Counsel of a major corporation, she is working on developing a brand that works for her and for others in her organization. Part of that brand is making sure she is seen as competent, yet warm and caring.
The dialogue then turned to the fact that she is not a particularly “smiley” person. In other words, her natural tendency is not to have a smile on her face. I appreciate this tendency, as I’m not a naturally smiley person either. Many people are not naturally prone to smile, and thus do not have an open and inviting face, during interactions with others during the day.
So I told her what I tell myself all the time. You have to practice and have self-awareness around how you are coming across. You have to practice putting a smile on your face- regularly! I asked her when she finds herself the most animated and smiling the most. Not surprisingly, when she goes home to her kids she is most animated and smiling in an effort to connect with them and show them her affection for them.
I told her the same mentality needs to, and can, apply at work. She needs to approach her staff and colleagues the same way she approaches her kids- with a mentality of connecting with them via animation and smiles. In my mind there is no difference. Sure, the audience differs. However, the end goal is exactly the same.
So stop and think to yourself:
- Are you a “smiley” person or not?
- How often do you smile at work? As much as you smile at home? If not, why?
- How animated are you with your clients and colleagues? Do they connect with you and “get” your communication and affinity for them and your work?
If you answered any of the above questions in the negative, then you’ve got some work to do. Get busy practicing that smile and remember, clients respond to smiles and attention just like kids.
In this world where we are all running around in a hurry trying to get who-knows-where, stop and think to yourself: what’s the best thing you have to give? If we look at what we know to be “for sure” in life, we’ll find that besides death and taxes, time is a sure thing.
What do I mean by this? We only have so much life to live. So how much are you giving to your life and where? Your time and where you choose to put it really are in your control. If you think otherwise, then you are getting sucked into the game of “there is never enough time”. You may be out of balance.
If you look at your career and aspirations, there are certain things that are very important for you. For instance, if you are a lawyer, then becoming a partner is valued because not everyone can achieve it, only the “elite”. If you are looking to get promoted within your company or get a new and better job, then that is valued because your new title/job signals something to others- that you’ve made it.
But what have you really “made” it to? Put another way, what are the costs of your success? Maybe your success costs you your relationships? Maybe your happiness and joy in life? Or maybe both? It really can be very lonely on the top. Is it just too painful to step back and observe? Is that why you read this and subconsciously think it is non-sense and “fluff”?
I believe all great personal brands (and thus successful people) have balance in their lives. Unfortunately, because of the stressors and demands of particular careers (i.e., lawyers and doctors), we are out of balance and oftentimes, not even aware of it.
Balance means that we stop and assess our lives. As Byron Katie said when I interviewed her, we stop and “sort out our lives” by sitting still. Then we can find that we want our time to mean something. If all we have is our time and how we give to others, allow yourself to do things that you love to do- things that nurture, enrich and balance you. For instance, doing community service that actually and truly enriches the community nurtures and enriches you, too.
If you stay out of balance long enough no one wants to be around you, much less hire you. That’s the sign of a failing personal brand. Eventually anything out of balance succumbs to natural forces and tips over. Don’t let that be you. Find your balance and center. Now, that’s a great brand.
TELL US WHAT YOU DO TO STAY IN BALANCE.