One thing people often overlook when building a brand is the amount of moving parts in your life you have to manage in order to live the brand that you are. To go from where you are now, to where you want to be.
The focus of this post is to collapse your life. That’s not to be taken literally.
But the philosophy is to reduce the moving parts in your life, so that you can fall more naturally into a brand of distinction. It’s simpler than you think, but by no means easy. So it’s worth discussing.
The world fluctuates – how does your brand adapt?
Beyond all the “branding strategies” and the “how to” processes out there – people forget that the world fluctuates, life fluctuates, and unpredictable challenges are sent your way like waves in the ocean.
The question is – how do you still live your way in life, despite all that? This is fundamental. Managing those moving parts during your transition is actually part of the brand clarification process – rather than “something else” you have to do. It is an opportunity to understand how your brand holds its stand, despite the inevitability of a changing external environment.
Which is great news. Because we will explore how your life’s experiences during the process of crystallizing a brand of distinction, are key contributors to your brand. For me, a key event was transitioning out of a job, and more into branding, writing and philosophy. For clients of mine, the experiences also range from;
- Being a full time mother to a coach.
- Leaving a sales job and becoming a yogi.
- Quitting the path of being a coach and going into videography.
- Leaving an engineering job to become a pilot.
- Going through the hassles of attaining working visas or citizenship status to stay in the country they have come to love.
- Coming out of a divorce.
I’ve seen it all.
Building a brand shakes things up. So you must be equipped to manage the chaos effectively.
So in this post, I will attempt to shed some light on this. That way, you can gain insight and tools to manage transition in your life too – as you craft and sustain your brand of distinction.
If you want to be a brand of distinction, you have to be both congruent and consistent in your professional and personal life. Every thought you make, action you take, and interaction you engage in, is a brand building activity.
However most people, my past self-included – have this thing they call work life balance. A pleasant illusion. Where you believe that working is a means to a loving lifestyle; pay the bills, feed yourself, pay for entertainment, go shopping, and take a holiday. List goes on. Problem with this way of thinking is – it presupposes there is a difference between working and living the life you want. Where you have one domain you aspire to, and one domain you do by necessity, called “work.” Hence the term “work-life balance.”
The problem with this model is the more you work to fund your lifestyle, the amount of time you have to enjoy your lifestyle, or do more of what inspires you – lessens. You might end up working late nights and eating dinner in the office. The circle on the right therefore shrinks.
And vice versa – when you spend more time on you, the lesser funds you might earn from work to support that. For example, working less and travelling overseas and spending the limited funds you have. Living this way creates a tug of war between two parts of your life. It causes internal conflict. And a person that is conflicted, will have a brand that is confusing.
Give you an example – suppose your highest calling is to bake the finest breads in the world which are sculpted into unique shapes that symbolize different seasons. It is a combination between baking, and artistry. On the weekends, and in your spare time, you tell people about your bread baking ventures. As your eyes light up, people are drawn to your energy, and their mouths water at the thought of your bread produce. They can almost taste it, and they can’t even shake that thought until they really sink their teeth into your bread. It’s infected their lives.
“Sorry, I only do this part-time.” That’s your response after they try to pay you to bake some bread for them. The people you met on the weekend want more bread. Your bread. But you can’t even supply them the amount they need because “I’m still working a full-time job”. Bear with me – I’m not saying that one should immediately drop their job. Far from it. We’ll get to my point soon.
Now picture this – Monday arrives. You are at work in a legal administration job. You file papers for the legal department, arrange the calendars and schedules for two senior lawyers, and you answer the phone on their behalf. The work is draining. You feel like screaming. You procrastinate and get frustrated over the piles of paper work that build and build. And the worst thing is – even if the deadline is approaching, you don’t feel an inch motivated to get it done. All you want to do is go home and bake.
At lunch time, all you can think about and talk about is baking bread. That’s all your colleagues hear from you. They are amazed at your knowledge and passion about dough-making, dough-baking, and the rich history behind bread. And as you do, you can hear it coming from your legal colleagues. They are confused with what you are doing with your life.
- “What are you doing in this job?”
- “Why don’t you just start a bread business?”
- “….Why are you even here?”
Your colleagues are confused. They see in you, the potential and position to go out in the world and really “do your thing” and “own your space.” They think you are privileged beyond measure, to capitalize on a dream that they feel only the rare few have access to.
Meanwhile, your budding customers on the weekends are frustrated because for some reason or another, they can’t get a piece of your product! And they want you to get it together and get your product to the shelf!
So… How does collapsing your professional and personal lives brings you closer to your brand of distinction?
My point is – if you can relate to this, it is a huge opportunity for you! You already have a proof of concept. People are already buying into the brand that you are. And their confusion, is encouragement for you to confidently collapse more and more into the brand you are. By shedding what is not of the highest order to you.
And part of what makes that happen is collapsing the domains of professional life and personal life (see the diagrams below for an illustration).
The key question being – “How can I make what I enjoy doing personally, something that also pays me professionally?”
The more you answer this question, and the more you collapse the two circles, the closer you get to the brand called you. This is when you can prosper by being who you are. By sharing what is innate to you.
The tug of war is normal. It’s nothing wrong. You don’t have to worry if you are caught in this – we all are. Since we all have activities and things in our lives that we do, that don’t necessarily inspire us. The game is finding ways to reduce that. For example, if you bake, offer it to colleagues at work. Take pictures and get a breakfast group or community started. As that builds online, and you start getting weekend orders, you can earn enough money to then transition into your business, working four days a week.
The tug of war isn’t something you should seek to destroy. It is in fact, serving you.
I wish you tremendous force in your endeavours.
In my thoughts,