On the weekend we were presenting on Personal Branding at the annual Tennis Australia’s Coaches conference. It is a topic that always creates a strong level of creative tension because by definition it brings into focus the question of where an individual’s true passion and talents reside.
It is interesting how often Maslow’s concept of self-actualisation has come back into vogue as more and more people seek to find a greater level of meaning in their work. To establish a level of self-actualisation there is the need to have the wisdom not to simply accept the roles that others prescribe for you. It is about making conscious choices about what sorts of roles feed your soul. To this end there is a need to understand your passions and follow them. The potent territory for anyone’s personal brand is the intersection of ones passion and talents. It is the sweet spot where one’s brand has the potential to thrive.
However, it is interesting how many individuals find it hard to articulate where their true passions reside. It requires the need to become more in tune with your self, to pay attention to what makes you feel alive and energised – to what interests and excites you. It may also involve becoming aware of your feelings of discontent as a means of inspiring you to move beyond the status quo the surrounds your life. Martyn Newman in his book the Emotional Capitalists suggests that passion can be borne out of a sense of creative discontent when you compare your expectations of how things could be with the daily experience of how they are now. He suggests that by cultivating and enlarging your vision you fuel your passion.
However, Newman also makes it clear that capturing a vision for the future that inspires us is not enough. Who you really are is forged by your actions. Although your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour, it’s equally true that your behaviour affects your thoughts and feelings. In other words, what you do determines who you really are.
Personal brands are like all other brands whereby the deeds of the brand ultimately dictate what the brand (or person) represents or stands for. The fascinating thing about personal brands is that we are all in direct control of what those brand deeds will be or not be. There is no doubt that it is far easier to frame positive deeds/actions if they are aligned to our passions in life. Likewise the extent to which we are able to integrate our passions into our work means that the tension in the concept of work life balance disappears.
Personal branding is requires conscious thought, and a great starting point is to understand where your true passions reside. A brand built around realising those passions will always exhibit more engaging attributes than one built around living to someone else’s expectations.
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