Recently, I have been having the absolute best time, writing my first ever self-development program. My whiteboard, butcher’s paper, markers and I have taken up permanent residence in our front lounge room. I have spent many amazing hours trying to develop a program that demonstrates creativity and thought, whilst also helping people to achieve their goals around self-confidence. My family has spent many hours kindly not noticing that my whiteboard – my most prized possession – is not leaving the front room any time soon. They have also learned not to touch any butchers paper trails, regardless of how unloved those butchers paper trails may appear to them.
In addition to spending time with my whiteboard, I have also been spending time with Google. The experts all say that it is important to understand the people who would be most likely to enrol in a program such as mine, and so I have spent numerous hours, trying to understand what self-confidence means to other people, what they would want from a self-confidence program, what they have tried, and so forth.
It was while researching on Google that I randomly started to think about my personal brand in the domain of my programs. What am I aiming to be when I deliver these programs? If a participant in a program was to describe my program and my approach to others, what words would I want them to use? How do I live to this brand?
This curiosity is not about defining the marketing that goes on a business card. To me, it is much deeper than that. It is about who I want to be as the presenter of these programs. It is about what is at the soul of my work: What message do I want to be sending about myself and my programs when I take action around designing, developing and delivering these programs?
Twelve months or so ago, when I first started to think about my brand as a coach, I arrived at the assessment that I wanted to be compassionate, creative and courageous. And so, when I reflect on conversations with clients, I always ask myself how I lived my brand of compassionate, creative and courageous. At the end of a coaching conversation, I may not know what my client’s views are on how I met my brand. I will, however, know how I met my own standards for the brand. This helps me to hold myself to account for maintaining my brand. It also removes self-judgement, because all of my assessments are around how I live my brand, and not about how I think I performed as a coach.
As I reflected on the relevance of my coaching personal brand to the programs that I am developing, I realised that there are some similarities. I do want to be compassionate, creative and courageous in the delivery of my programs. However, there was something more, and what occurred to me is that I also want curiosity (and wonder) to feature heavily in my brand. This turned out to be quite a big discovery for me, because it wasn’t only about my own level of curiosity. Yes, I want to be curious about how I deliver programs that meet the needs of others, about how I can use my own experiences to write those programs, and about how I can learn from delivering the programs. However, even more importantly than that, I want to create a curiosity (wonder) in those who are exposed to my work. Whether participating in a self-confidence program, following this blog, or receiving coaching from me, I want to be encouraging a curiosity in people that helps them to look within and to find the answers that work for them.
While I want my work to resonate with others, I don’t want people to feel as though my work is “the answer” or a single “truth”. I want people to feel as though my work is an interpretation, and I want them to feel curious about what interpretations would be helpful for them.
As an example of this, I previously posted about how I used gratitude to manage my grief. However, that is not the only way, and I would be devastated if people got from my work that I think my way is the only way. Instead, I want to help people to create a curiosity that has them wondering how gratitude could help them in any aspect of their life, or what moods would be useful for them, or whether they feel that their grief is serving them, or whether they give themselves permission to be with their grief, or whatever question is going to help them in that moment. I want my work to encourage people to wonder and reflect and work out what works for them. This is not about me giving answers to the world. It is about me helping people in the world to become curious about what answers lie within them, or even about what questions they are trying to answer in the first place. I want to give the world a different way of thinking; a way of becoming curious.
So, my personal brand is now undergoing a change, as I work to understand what it means to operate with compassion, creativity, courage and curiosity. This was huge for me; and I am now reflecting on how I can really make this so. It feels as though it is going to be an amazing place to be.
My final thought is that our personal brand can relate to everything that we do in life. We don’t have to only have a brand for the domain of our work. What brand do I want to live as a partner? As a mother? As a colleague? As a member of the community? Am I currently living to the brand?
Points to Ponder…
With my newfound insight into the personal brand that I am living to, I would like to stress that my “Points to Ponder” is about providing ideas that might be of use to you in becoming curious about the world in which you live. They are not something that you must consider in order to have a great life. They are simply my attempt at creating curiosity. These points are not provided in judgement; they are points that were useful for me, and they are provided purely in case they trigger a reflection in others that might also be useful.
- What is your personal brand?
- What are you doing to ensure that you live your personal brand?
Who am I?
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.