What if you were a product? What would you stand for ? Why would people be interacting with you and what would they expect ? What if actively choosing changes your experience, eliminates suffering and actually allows you to better create your dream life ?
The concept of an individual being a brand’able product sounds a tad odd, because only a select few (and normally famous) people are brands – the rest of us are just, well us. The concept of an individual as a brand is not new – in my almost 20 year corporate career I have heard it consistently, it just never made any sense. Why would I have a brand ? I never battled to stand out and be noticed based on how good I am at what I do,
Tthen again, I always worked in small companies where we were all well known to each other. Then I started to work in a super large corporate and quite quickly got lost. It didn’t really matter that I was good at my job – everyone was. Nor did it matter that I had a world record. In fact, none of the labels I had worked so hard to create mattered at all – which left me feeling very lost.
This whole lost thing talks directly to who we think we are and how we define ourselves. It is easy to define yourself with a label (super analyst, deepest, wife, mother) because along with the label comes a series of agreed behaviours and reactions – mothers are nurturing and patient, executives are no nonsense, unemotional and goal oriented. So labels can be good, they give us direction until we have none.
WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A LABEL
- You don’t behave consistently, which means people don’t trust who you are, which in turn means they avoid dealing with you
- You don’t consciously choose behaviours and responses so can not actively create what you want
- You feel lost and possibly frustrated, which can lead to non-constructive behaviour patterns (especially in the work place)
- You behave just like everyone else, so blend into the crowd – which is not necessarily a good thing if you are looking to be promoted in the workplace
In fact, in the whole search to find myself I have been actively REMOVING or REDEFINING labels, trying to separate the skills required (deepest is a good one) from the habits and behaviours that come with it. At work I was lost because I no longer had a vision of who I was, I no longer had a personal brand. I did not know what I stood for and because I had no clue, I had no way of choosing how I reacted.
WHY CHOOSE A LABEL AND SO A BEHAVIOUR SET
- It creates self confidence because you are no longer dependant on trying to fulfil what you think other people want from you and so worried that you aren’t getting it right.
- It makes you the ‘go to’ person because you have a a strong, recognisable ‘brand’ that people can easily identify and trust
- It can transcend skill sets allowing you to extend your reach into new areas and so break a glass ceiling
- It gives you a behaviour guideline that allows you to choose what is needed for that situation based on who you have chosen to be and what you have chosen to create
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking it sounds so artificial, choosing how you react but think about it. How do you choose right now ? Based on what ? The way you always have ? Why is that unconscious reaction better than a well thought out action that aligns to who you want to be and what you want to create. I am not talking about manipulating people here, I am talking about making a stand and saying something like “I create calm, deliver oriented cultures that respect diversity and allow all participants to excel and grow.”, which is very different to a stand that would consciously manipulate people (which if you are interested goes something like, “I say and do whatever it takes to get people to do what I want without any intention of following through”
My next blog will follow on this theme, looking more closely at how to create a brand (what to do, what not to do), but until then, take some time to really engage with the following questions”
- What labels do I carry and how do they influence how I react to people and situations ?
- Are my labels working for me ?
- Am I confident that I am reacting correctly or do I change how I behave to please the people around me ?