I am an insatiable reader + student (you may have guessed just by that statement that one of my Supporting Archetypes is the Sage). I have been known to read the ingredients on the back of the cereal box just to read something, although it is extremely rare for me not to have some book or reading material close at hand.

I went on a learning binge recently around influencer marketing + business and bought Mark W. Schaefer’s book KNOWN: The Handbook For Building And Unleashing Your Personal Brand In The Digital Age

I have followed and lurked around Mark’s blog for a few years (I don’t know Mark personally, but I feel like he would be ok if I referred to him as Mark rather than Mr. Schaefer) 😉

As a Personal Brand advisor and mentor myself, my ears perk up whenever he talks about that topic and I wanted to read about his take on personal branding in the digital age…which is a topic I find endlessly fascinating.

I was delighted to find that we share some of the same beliefs on what it means to have a personal brand today and the possibilities that it affords someone if he or she chooses to tap into the power and potential of it (and one point we most definitely agree on is that the phrase ‘personal branding’ has lost almost all worthwhile meaning). In this age of the pursuit of the perfect selfie, ridiculous expectations of what you ‘should’ be doing, and a catchy tagline we’ve lost sight of what it really means to have a personal brand.

The crux of what I teach clients and what Mark spends a great deal of time deconstructing in the book is the question of

what do you want to be known for?

This goes beyond the micro level of ‘pursue your passion’ or ‘do what you love’ battle cry we are so used to hearing. I love entertaining and throwing parties…love it, but I would very much dislike the other parts of pursuing that passion: working weekends, not being a participant, and living where I live, there isn’t a significant audience throwing soirees every weekend, so I’d be traveling and hustling quite a bit.

This would suck and I would grow to hate the very thing that brings me joy.

For personal branding to stick, you have to look at the question of what you want to be known for more at the macro level. In other words, what do I enjoy doing that is sustainable, have a natural gift for, and that the right people will care about what it?

Personally, I love teaching, not only do I love it, I identify myself as a teacher. I have a degree in teaching and taught for 15 years before jumping on the crazy train of entrepreneurship. At my core, I am driven by the idea of transformation, and I am endlessly curious about this juxtaposition of people as brands, doing work that matters to them, and creating a business.

So, I enjoy teaching, have a natural gift for helping others shift the lens, and my Right People are service-based entrepreneurs. I could teach anything, but I have found subject matter that I am curious about every day and it gives my work a purpose.

Mark calls this Place + Space= A sustainable interest and what you want to be known for and an uncontested or under-occupied niche with enough people to matter.

The key is find something that keeps you curious and combines that with your natural gifts.  I’m not sure about the finding an uncontested or under-occupied niche…I believe there is always room for you in whatever capacity you want to be known…you just need to find a way to show that your approach is different and own it.

The book is peppered with stories of people who have taken different paths to becoming known for specific work or a specific message.

One of the most important key takeaways (that most people either underestimate or discount entirely) is the idea that all of this takes time. You must be willing to be in it for the long haul, as consistency is the secret ingredient to becoming known. I have seen far too many talented, brilliant people struggle because they keep flitting to one idea to the next with getting clear on the core message and taking a stand for it.

My favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 10- Pivots and Grit. Mark covers some key questions around getting known and stresses that there are no overnight successes…or what I like to call “flash and dash”. It takes time to build a reputation and credibility for your work and what you want to be known for…that’s the bottom line. In my experience, there is usually a tipping point when your work gains momentum and it is directly correlated to the amount of action you take.

Known is a practical, grounded book that will have you thinking about your work and how committed you are to it for an extended period of time. This doesn’t mean you can’t pivot or take a different path, but the more aware you are of the progress you’re making (or lack thereof), the easier it becomes to know when you might consider adjusting or pivoting.

Assess your commitment to consistency and sustainable interest and apply the tips and strategies Mark outlines and you too can become Known.

 

 

 

 

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Without fail, every Tuesday night you can find people reaching for the tissues while watching NBC’s hit show “This Is Us”.

People can’t seem to get enough of this show and have fallen in love with the family of Jack, Rebecca, and their three children.

But WHY is the show so popular…what makes it a standout among the endless sea of shows that are suffering from mediocrity and ho-hum plots.

Quite simply….it’s the story telling.

Because not only is it that we are captivated by the lives of the characters, but we can see something of ourselves in the story of a particular character.

The extreme relatability of the characters within the journey of the story is what resonates with those who love the show.

Every character is given the freedom to show their best and worst qualities as the story unfolds.

Consider…

Rebecca’s inner conflict with pursuing a music career and being a mom

Kate’s ongoing struggle with her weight and wanting to accept herself the way she is physically

Randall’s perfect life and the juxtaposition as we discover he has an anxiety disorder

Jack being a great husband and father and his insecurity over his wife singing with the band

Kevin being a pretty boy actor and his desire to be taken seriously

Within a given character we can see ourselves.

Not only do we see ourselves, but we also see how we would hope to be.

The imperfections, the vulnerability, the desire to be validated and accepted for who we are.

It is simply great storytelling.

So, what can this great show teach you about the elements of a great story that can be applied to your Brand? Here are some tips:

You Are Identifiable 

In other words, your audience can relate and identify with you. We all have a character that we feel a strong pull towards on This Is Us…it’s because we can see ourselves in that person. This is at the core of your Brand Story…your Right People feel a kinship with you…they see themselves in your story.

 

There is a Conflict/Challenge/Struggle

Every great story has overcome (and may continue to overcome) some conflict/challenge/struggle. People have the mistaken belief that their audience expects them to be perfect. Not so, people want to know about the messy middle, they want to see your imperfections and vulnerability, they want to know that while you have some things figured out, you don’t have it all figured out.

 

What You’ve Learned

This is not about the number of certifications or letters behind your name. This is about the scars of being in the messy middle. This is where you show people that in spite of the struggles and challenges you’ve gone through,  you’ve come out on the other side…wiser and battle-tested. Here is where your Right People start to see the possibilities for themselves. The character is flawed, but is the stronger for it.

 

Connect The Dots

More than anything else, a great story has the ability to connect with dots. The human brain seeks patterns and a good storyteller is about to make use of cognitive dissonance (what doesn’t make sense or contradicting thoughts) and sort out the jumble in a way that makes sense to their audience.

When you apply these elements to your Brand, you have now magnetized your audience to you. You’ve created emotional connections that allow you to differentiate yourself simply because you can tell your unique Brand Story.

Telling your Brand Story can’t be done in a vacuum…it takes an outside perspective to show you where the hidden gold is in your Brand Story.

I can help you with that (and much more) in the 90 Day Brand Accelerate Program.

I’d love to see you there…tell your story and make an impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/badass/

In the online space, there are many words that are tired and overused.

You know…those words that for whatever reason, cause you to grit your teeth and immediately make you tune out to the rest of the message.

I’ve got a couple in mind for myself, but today I’m taking aim at the word ‘badass’.

For some reason, I have felt like I am seeing the word everywhere lately…the fact that it’s a new year may have something to do with it I’m sure.

Errrrybody and everything is badass nowadays.

I poked around to see what definitions I could find for the word…what does it mean to be a badass anyway? And here’s what I found:

 

/badass/

a tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person

the epitome of the American male…an ultra cool mofo (seriously??)

difficult to deal with; mean-tempered, grouchy

ready to cause or get into trouble

of formidable strength or skill

a person whose extreme attitudes, behavior, or appearance are admirable

 

Of all of those, my favorite one is “of formidable strength or skill”

Most of the time, when I see people use the term ‘badass’ it’s in reference to hustle, grind, take no prisoners, or to be a badass business owner. It’s become a word that makes your eyes glaze over…after you’ve done the obligatory eye roll at yet another reference to a program, business, or mindset that describes itself as ‘badass’.

When I refer to Seasons of Your Brand, the ‘badass’ season is one we all go through…in the archetype world, this would be the Rebel, the Revolutionary, the Maverick, the Lone Wolf…the challenge to the status quo. At some point, we want to identify with being a badass….there’s an appeal of wanting to have a ‘badass brand’ or a ‘badass business’…hell yes, sign me up…and then you realize that that particular definition of ‘badass’ doesn’t fit you at all.

So no, I don’t want to be a ‘badass’ in 2017 by any of those definitions, thankyouverymuch.

In fact, here’s what I’ve noticed about women who really are badass:

 

She would probably never call herself that, and yet…

She is the woman who is clear on her Core Values and doesn’t waver from them

She is the woman who has strong beliefs and isn’t afraid to stand on them, despite peer pressure

She is the woman who is willing to do what others aren’t

She is the woman who believes deeply in her work and ability to make a difference in the world

She doesn’t need to be extreme in her attitudes, behaviors, or appearance to be admired…nor is it something she focuses on

She is the woman who believes in herself unconditionally

Her inner strength and resolve are unwavering…even when she is scared to death

Her definition of ‘hustle’ is one she defines for herself

And the irony…a true badass doesn’t consider herself one.

 

She goes about the business of doing her great work, sharing her message, serving her Right People, and making the impact she knows she is here to make.

 

And that my friends…is very badass worthy

 

 

 

 

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Tuning In When You Want To Tune Out

January 26, 2017

At no time in my memory of the age of social media has the current circumstances of our world divided so many. Insults, name-calling, derision, and ugliness abound. Focusing on the ‘good’ or ‘positive’ is being seen as having your head in the sand or not being realistic. Focusing on the problems is an open […]

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