This is the last Personal Branding Blog post for me in 2016.

Over the last few weeks I have written a lot about finding a job through the holidays and a few of the things I’ve learned thru the process of searching for a job myself.

This post and the Gives and Takes below were partially inspired by the job search efforts and by the people I have encountered along the way. They have given me so many ideas and so much energy. I want to share the ideas and the energy with you.

Making better choices takes work.
There is a daily give and take, but it is worth the effort.

~ Tom Rath

I hope a few of these tips help you to kick off 2017 with a bang. You’ll notice I am referring at times to some of my previous posts. I hope you have already read them and this serves as a nice connection point and refresher. If not, I hope they open your thinking to get you reading all of my posts (yes, that’s a Give and a Take from me).

Please feel free to add any more that you like or have found beneficial to your career or personal life.

7 Gives and 7 Takes

What I mean by Gives and Takes is just like it sounds. These are things you should be looking to give away in 2017. And, while it might be perceived as selfish you do deserve to Take a few things in 2017.


Give today to get better tomorrow
~ Ashish Patel

  1. A book – A favorite book you’ve liked and especially one you have read is a great choice to give away. Ideally, with an inscription from you for why you liked it and how it helped you. But, it could be just a verbal comment.
  2. The gift of time – They aren’t making any more of it … use what you’ve got wisely. When someone asks for your time … (and it makes sense to offer it) … give it freely and wholeheartedly. You may be surprised how much more you learn when you are fully present.
  3. Your attention – Again, this is something you can offer someone else. You get to decide when and where you combine points 2 and 3. But, when you do … Be Fully Present! Consider: 7 Tips for Hearing More and Doing More
  4. Time as a mentor – Yes, this takes time. Yes, this takes practice. And, yes, you can learn as you go along. You KNOW something. Share it.
  5. Credit where it is due – This is fairly obvious, but when you see someone doing something right … tell ‘em.  And, be specific. Don’t just say “Good Job!”
  6. Back. Meaning just what it says … Give Back. This can be anything that is listed above or anything else you can think of as a way to give back.


Take Risks:

If You Win – You Will Be Happy

If You Lose – You Will Be Wise

  1. Yourself less seriously – Too often we get caught up in our own day-to-day drama. Sometimes you just need to take a step back, look at the big picture, take a deep breath … then smile. Laugh if you want.
  2. More meaningful breaks – Whether it’s to stretch at your desk, take a walk around the office, or to get away for a few minutes of fresh air … Remember to Take 10 Minutes a Day to Do NOTHING
  3. On a passion project – You have may been working on a side project for a while. If you have been … great. Keep it up. If you aren’t yet this is the year to find a new one and really sink your teeth into it. Smart companies and enlightened managers are encouraging Passion Projects as I wrote about in Stoke Your Passion and Elevate Your Career
  4. Better care of yourself – This is my commitment for myself in 2017. I’m going to TAKE the time to workout, eat right and regain some of the flexibility I’ve lost over the years. There are always areas that can use improvement. We don’t need to take them on all at once. But, with the help of a calendar and some friends to hold us accountable (or a personal trainer) we can take .. better care of ourselves in 2017.
  5. Take credit when it is due – As mentioned above in the Gives … there is also a take component to credit. Do this gracefully and with tact, but make the effort to insure your efforts get the credit that is due. It doesn’t have to be a big banner or an airplane towing a sign. However, when you poured your energy into something you should expect and accept the recognition.
  6. A trip to somewhere you’ve never been – This can be anything, but I suggest you consider something local. It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. By local … consider going to a place that is effectively in your backyard, but you never find (make) the time to go. For me in 2016 it was to attend a beach party with a fire pit. I look to do more of these local, low-cost, fun things in 2017. If you find yourself in Seattle … join me.
  7. The time to do ‘that thing’ – You’ve been promising yourself you’d do it for years now. This is the year to do it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a passion project like mentioned in point #3. It could be something that you’ve been putting off or something you’ve always wanted to do. 2017 is the year to do it.

7 + 7 = 14

Not that you need to follow any of this guidance, but consider there are 7 Gives and 7 Takes. If you wanted to you could alternate Gives and Takes every day and repeat the cycle every 2 weeks for a twice a month cadence. Think about that … 26 weeks of Gives and 26 weeks of Takes. Imagine what you could do.

Take your time and go at your own pace.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop
~ Confucius

The goal with these is not to follow the explicitly. Make up your own that work for you. Yet implicit within these Gives and Takes is that you get to make choices and commit your time where you see fit. When you do this consistently you will stand out in your career and begin (or continue) to carve out an exemplary reputation for yourself.