Recently, I read a fun, yet thought provoking article by Steve Adcock, who blogs over at Think Save Retire. In it, he posed the question: What would you put on your personal business card?
More specifically, in Steve’s own words,
“What do you DO? What makes you tick? What would your personal business card look like…and say? What’s your personal job title?”
To me, this is such a great question. Often, when we first meet someone, one of the things they ask us about is, ‘what we do’. In other words, what we do for a LIVING. How do we earn our pay cheque week to week? It’s as engrained in ‘small talk’ as chatting about the weather. And for most people, the answer is easy. “I’m a teacher, an accountant, a civil servant…and so on.”
But we are so much more than what we do for a living!
As much as you may enjoy your 9-5, most of us have other passions, be it a hobby, side hustle or a cause we care deeply about. These are the things that propel us forward, help define who we are, and bring us fulfillment.
And it’s a very healthy way to live. Show me someone who makes career their SOLE focus, and I’ll show you a one dimensional person who lacks balance.
Our passions, as well as our various character traits, contribute to our personal brand. They define who we are to other people. In regards to character traits, they can be positive; think, leader, teacher, generous, caregiver, compassionate. But negative traits also contribute to our personal brand. Consider marks such as anger, or laziness.
For example, if I asked you to think of a person who is angry, does someone specific come to mind? It does for me. It’s because that trait has become part of their personal brand.
The GOOD news is that our personal brand isn’t static. If we’re not happy with how we’re spending our time or how we’ve managed life in general, we can do something about it.
*I should note that your personal brand has nothing to do with caring about what others think. It’s not about being a people pleaser. It’s about doing what you’re called to do, and being the person you’re called to be.
Have you ever thought of your personal brand in these terms?
Going back to my initial premise, here’s my challenge for you: Could you explain what YOU do in one clear sentence, let alone one or two words, to someone you just met?
When I read Steve’s article, I realized that I probably couldn’t. If I had to describe to someone in one word what I’m all about, AWAY from my 9-5, what would I tell them?
I decided to take some time to figure it out, to articulate what would appear on my personal business card.
Here is the general process I followed, as well as what I came up with:
MY PERSONAL BUSINESS CARD
My first instinct was to focus on what I DO, how I spend my time. For example, the words singer and songwriter, came to mind. As did writer, and blogger.
Which led to another thought. Remember what I said about your personal brand changing?
Often, when I talk to people who knew me when I was younger, they associate me with being a baseball player, and still mention it to this day. (Baseball was never my career, but I used to play at a high level). I get a kick out of that, because it feels like a lifetime ago, and to me has nothing to do with my personal brand today. But to some, it’s what comes to mind.
Anyhow….titles like singer/songwriter, blogger, and more significant roles like husband and father, seemed too specific to use. However important, none of these covered all of the bases.
I then began to think about character traits. I went through a list of positive ones, but were either too vague, or something I couldn’t live up to. A few negative ones crept in as well.
30,000 FOOT VIEW
From there, I took a step back to look at the bigger picture, from 30,000 feet, so to speak.
I asked myself, “When it comes to where I expend my energy, what do I value more than anything else? On what do I place the highest price tag?”
After tossing this around for a little while, I settled on 2 things: Relationships, and the Creative Process.
In other words, whatever the project I’m working on, I feel as though these are the two things I value most.
This led to my one word. The one I would place on my ‘personal’ business card.
I love this! It’s got a sense of “action” to it. Collaboration is closely linked to relationship, and is vital to the creative process. In short, it reflects a personal brand I would be proud of.
Taking it a step further, here’s how I decided my personal business card, plain and simple, would read:
If you can read the fine print below the title “Collaborator”, I’ve listed the three creative pursuits that I’m currently focusing on: Digital Marketer/Blogger/Music Producer. These may change over time, but you get the idea.
To me, collaboration is crucial to success. I’ve tried to be the lone wolf, and while it might work for some, I’ve had far more success when I’ve combined my talents with others. Whether it’s with my music, my writing, or my burgeoning digital marketing side hustle, I will always be looking for ways to work together with others.
For me, being a collaborator isn’t a destination. It’s not something I’ve arrived at. Rather, it’s a quality that I continually strive for, an ongoing process. Which is another reason it appeals to me.
So, my question to you. What is the one word or sentence that describes your personal brand, that would be on your personal business card. What do you want to be known for, outside the 9-5?
I challenge you to give this some thought, and I’d LOVE to hear what you come up with. : )
Oh, and one more thing! When you have a moment, please head over to Think Save Retire, to check out the post which inspired this one.