All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘self-confidence’

Part III: Deliberate Brand Creation- Are You Quirky?

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The leaves keep changing in deliberate nature this October.  So we, too, continue our Deliberate Brand Creation process this third week of October.  As I’ve written in the past two blog posts, I’m continuing to put my own spin on Oprah’s October 2014, “What I Know For Sure” column in her O Magazine.  I have a lot of appreciation and respect for Oprah’s presence.

This week, let’s explore how your quirks and oddities are the stuff of your deliberate brand.  As Oprah wrote in her column noted above, when she was younger she would go to parties.  She would feel compelled to stay at a party even if she had enough of being there and would rather go home. Why?  In part, Oprah says it was because she considered herself quirky to want to run home and be alone.

Perhaps the biggest “why” question here is why we can’t “own” our quirks? I think the short answer is partly lack of self-awareness and partly fear.

No one wants to be different and stick out.  We all strive to fit in. If I think back to a time when I really tried to fit it, I am taken back to high school.  I hated high school. I was always so different and didn’t really fit in.  It was hard being me.

I stuck out for so many reasons: I had olive complexion when it seemed everyone else had blonde hair and light eyes;  my first and last name was hard to pronounce (it wasn’t like my name rolled off the American tongue like “Jane Smith”); while my parents were very flexible with me and tried to “go with” the culture and mentality of midwestern/Indiana thinking, we still had different customs and rituals; and we lived in the most affluent suburb of Indianapolis, making it harder to be “cool” and fit in.   Most importantly, I always felt quirky because I could never ever understand why all those other high school kids rebelled all the time- drinking, smoking, sex, parties.  Were they suffocating at home, somehow?

Regardless of what I thought and how hard I tried, I was hiding who I really was.  I wasn’t even self-aware enough to know why I was hiding.  Looking back at my list above, I’m now really relishing my olive complexion, my first and last name and my background and nationality. I use it as part of my unique selling proposition and story to stand out and be genuine and different.  It works!  

However why do we, even as adults, try so hard to deny our quirks and eccentricities? What if you decided for just one day to really “own” your quirks, be proud of the eccentricities and not deny any of it?  Would the world stop?  Who cares if someone doesn’t “like” or “accept” you?  Do they matter more in this world than you (and your happiness) do?  I doubt it. 

I get the fear factor. I lived it and live it every day.  However, our personal brand growth is grounded in being self-aware enough to feel the fear and doing “it” anyway- whatever your “it” is.  

So just for one day, I ask you to be self-aware, own your quirks and see what happens. If you love to eat licorice, go for it! If you like to decipher license plates, go for it! If you love the Smurfs, go for it!  Just remember to tell us all about it so we can be your biggest champ, respect you and get to know your real personal brand.

Part II: Deliberate Brand Creation- Extrovert or Introvert?

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As the seasons continue to shift deliberately this October,  we continue our Deliberate Brand Creation this week.  As I said last week, I’m putting my own spin on Oprah’s October 2014, “What I Know For Sure” column in her O Magazine.  As I’ve said in the past, I have a lot of appreciation and respect for Oprah’s presence in this world.

This week, let’s explore how being genuine or “real” about who you are is such a big part of your deliberate brand creation.   I like to call it “owning” who you are.

I am not a fan of labeling people as introverts or extroverts.  However, once I read Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet”, I became a fan of the concept of introverts and extroverts.  Let’s explore these concepts with your brand.

As Oprah said in her October column, when she was younger she used to go to parties even when she didn’t want to be there because she didn’t want to miss anything.  As I’ve often said, this desire to be at a party or to run home could be a function of who you are as an extrovert or introvert.

I suppose I am what you would call an extrovert.  I get energy from those parties and enjoy being there meeting new people.  I know it and can count on it most often.

As Cain explains, it is natural for extroverts to want to stay at the party and get energy from being there.  However, the introvert would want to fly out of the party and head home to be alone.

Neither is right nor wrong.  The point is you need to know what works for you.  If you are an introvert and you force yourself to stay at that party, then there are issues to deal with as a result.  Not only will you be miserable, but your personal brand will be poor, as well.  If you ain’t happy, no one else will want to be around you at the party, either.

Why would you want to do that to yourself and others?  I suppose it is because we compare.  An introvert will look around at the party and see the extroverts having “fun”.  The introvert will assume something is “wrong” with him/her because she is not having fun.  In order to fit it, the introvert stays at the party- stays miserable.

As an extrovert, I can actually say I’ve walked in the introvert’s shoes at some parties.  There have been plenty of times when I haven’t wanted to be somewhere but forced myself to go.  Each time I did so, I paid the price: my confidence was low, my stress was high, I was bitter and angry at myself and thus, bitter and unfriendly to others at the party.  It was awful and so was my brand. I suppose I assumed that just because I am an extrovert, I should WANT to be there.  People expect it of me, right?  Wrong! I wasn’t being real and “owning” myself in those moments.

So stop and ask yourself, how well do you “own” your tendencies as an extrovert or introvert?  Once you can “own” it for what it is and who YOU are, then you are well on you way of creating a deliberate brand that is real, genuine and attracts people naturally to you.

 

 

 

Part III- Stagnation In Your Friendships. Is Your Brand Dull and In Need of Change?

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www.oprah.com

www.oprah.com

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.

 

Can’t Bill Enough? Is the World Over?

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billablecartoonA common conversation I have with attorneys revolves around the almighty billable hour.  Depending on how long they have been in practice and where they are in their career, they are either wondering how to monitor the hours (i.e., hire/fire others who don’t meet them) or trying to figure out how to meet their own hours.

One thing applies to all of them across the board when it comes to billable hours- they are all stressed out. Many are to the point of obsession about their billable requirements.  This obsession leads to all sorts of nasty things- like paralysis, I dare say.  According to my research, there is a direct inverse correlation between your self confidence and stress.  The higher your stress, the lower your self-confidence and thus, the poorer your personal brand for others.

So what, you say?  What does this have to do with my billable requirement?

Tweet:What if there was a peaceful,productive atmosphere-less angst around the almighty billable?

Well, I believe that the pressure to bill X number of hours leads to higher stress and less productivity.  In other words, lawyers produce worse and less.  The other detriment of this is of course that lawyers are angry, anxious and perhaps at the point of desperation where they’ll compromise their integrity to bill enough….all leading to a bad public brand perception of our industry.

What if there was a peaceful, productive atmosphere and less angst around the almighty billable?  I’m not disillusioned when I suggest this- I’ve been there, done that.  It didn’t work then, it hasn’t worked for others since.  And it is only getting worse.

If you are “in charge” and reading this consider creating a work atmosphere that is less tense and focused on the billable hour.  Try something new and be daring. It can’t fail.

If you are reading this and you are identifying with my message because you “must bill”, then what about trying something new.  What if you work it the other way: set your PERSONAL weekly billable goal lower and exceed it. Watch the stress go down and your productivity and happiness go up.  Also, consider what’s the worst that can happen if you don’t bill “enough”? If the answer isn’t “death” then I think you know what to do.

Your Thoughts, Your Personal Brand- Prequel to Byron Katie Interview

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Ever stop to think about how much your thoughts shape your world?  Most of us tend to never even stop and think about our thoughts.  We are too busy doing our “thing” in life.

Consider the fact that on the Internet I read we have anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day.  How in control of your thoughts are you?  Do you think it matters to the overall scheme of your life- to make money, get rich, retire wealthy and then finally “be happy”?QMpx

In this post, I ask you to consider that your thoughts impact your everyday behavior and interactions with others.  As such, your thoughts impact your personal brand tremendously.

For instance, if you are running around like crazy because you have so much on your “to-do” list, the odds are you have random (and maybe not so random) thoughts flying through your head.  If you never stop to assess the situation here’s what we likely see- a frantic, out of control, less-than credible person running around trying to get their life in control. On top of it all, odds are you are likely cranky or unhappy- with friends, family, colleagues, with yourself and with the world.

So  try this challenge on for size: For an entire day try to be as aware as you can of every thought you have.  Then quickly assess:  if you met someone who didn’t know you, would they want to get to know you and then hire you based on your thoughts?  Put yourself in our shoes and try to imagine what we all see when you are “thinking” and running around.  Is it a personal brand you want to own?

For more on this topic, stay tuned for my interview with Byron Katie on June 19, 2014.

 

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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.