When life’s choices and challenges come our way, we easily get distracted and stop pursuing our goals. When we do this, we lose our mojo and feel purposeless or disenchanted with life.
I’ve talked about how clarity around your vision, mission, and values helps you identify what you want to do and why you want to do it. And I’ve talked about how setting goals and reframing obstacles are essential practices for creating a meaningful life. Yet, today, I’d like to look at this another way.
While personal development tools are vital to transforming life challenges into meaning-making experiences, when you think of yourself as your “personal brand” you’re able to make better decisions and make your challenges more fruitful.
Establishing a Personal Brand
There’s a lot of talk about “personal brand” in business. “Personal brand” refers to the practice of marketing yourself, your career, and your history as a brand. It’s often used as a method to increase your hire-ability or to grow your business. However, it’s as important to consider our “personal brand” for our private lives as well. In truth – if I had it my way, there would be a lot more similarity and synergy between people’s work life and their personal life.
You’re able to make choices, transform obstacles and create a sense of purpose when you have a clear sense of who you are and what you can and can’t do. This is not to pidgeon-hole you into a fixed personality or role. Rather, when you know who you are and what you can do, you’re able to use that information to guide you towards the achievement of your goals.
I would like you to ask yourself the following questions. These are taken from Tom Collinger’s presentation on branding for leaders. I highly suggest spending some time with each one and write down your answers. Consider these questions from as many angles as you can think of: personal, emotional, relational, work, and more.
What are you good at?
What are you not good at?
What do you like?
What do you not like?
These very simple questions begin to show you dimensions of who you are. They also give you crucial input on what you contribute to the world around you and what you need to feel fulfilled. So, for example, if ¾ of your life is taken up by things that you don’t like – even if you’re good at doing them – you will not be very happy.
Things that you’re not good at can be things you avoid doing or things you know you need to get help with. They can also be things that you need to practice and get better at.
The most important thing these questions point to is your skill-set. When you have a strong sense about what you’re able to do, you can begin to build out your value. If you’ve ever suffered from not liking yourself, critical thinking, or worrying about the future, then chances are you’d benefit from knowing your value.
When we know our value we’re able to adeptly work with whatever life throws our way. We feel more confident and more prepared. We make decisions that work for us and therefore feel better about our lives. We know where we “fit” in the scheme of things and can enjoy a sense of significance.