“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates
I am often asked to help professionals develop and maintain their personal brand. I often think that the best answer is “Follow your bliss” and the rest will follow. And that is largely true. However, the workplace has become so competitive that personal branding is critical. So, when asked, I like to begin at the beginning.
Many business schools offer courses focused on Self-Assessment and Career Development. These can be most useful. The premise of these courses, from alumni research, is that those who most loved what they did succeeded the most, regardless of what it was that they did.
Define who you are
It turns out that self-awareness is your responsibility. Don’t wait for the boss, the teacher, or your friends to tell you who and what you are. All of these important people in your life may be well meaning. But you need to define who you are.
People ask me how to go about this process of self-awareness and self-examination. Let’s put this in the context of self-discovery and talk about identifying the framework an individual might use in their personal and professional life to measure success. I’ve used all kinds of tools over the years and all are good.. Anything that encourages growth is welcome. Here’s a simple exercise that is the very tip of the iceberg in terms of “becoming aware of self”.
Right where you are – sitting in a chair, reading on the beach, lying on the bed, start by becoming aware of:
1. Your surroundings (what are the weather conditions, sounds, light?)
2. Your physical responses (is your heart beating faster?)
3. Your psychological responses (is your thought process fast or slow?)
Pay attention to these things every day. Tune in to yourself and your surroundings. This is the beginning.
Next, consider journaling as a way to document your journey of self discovery. I supplement this with self assessment, personal brand statement development, etc. Journaling questions would include the following:
- When have you felt most alive?
- When have you felt most freedom of creative expression?
- What is your “ideal situation”?
- What has had the most profound impact on your life? Why? What has it changed in you?
- What was your fondest childhood experience? Describe it in detail.
- Who do you admire most? Why?
People who commit to this process become more radiant and authentic human beings. They attract to themselves what is best for them as defined by them.
I wish you best success in branding yourself.
Beverly Macy is the Managing Partner of Y&M Partners and teaches a social media class at the UCLA Extension. She also co-hosts Gravity Summit events.