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July 2009
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September 2009

There's Always Another Way...

There was an interesting piece recently on Good Morning America about flowers, and how using a drop of ordinary bleach in flower water keeps the flowers fresher longer.  Who knew?  So, I wondered, did the first person who tried this do it by accident or by design?  It got me thinking about how there’s always an alternative way to get things done.  In other words, if the conventional approach is tired or no longer working, look for an unconventional approach that many times will accomplish even more.  You may surprise yourself!

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As Thomas Edison said, “I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000-step process.” 

He kept trying different approaches and each one sparked a new idea for the next approach.  

This most certainly applies when it comes to your personal brand.  After you’re solid on what your brand's core values are, look for the unconventional ways of building your platform and expanding your brand.

  • Make up your own rules as you go along.  Give yourself permission to stop and say, ‘let’s zig instead of zag.’
  • Be flexible and keep your eyes open to new ways to say and do things.  The inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources!
  • Be inventive.  Edison also said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”  Look at the 'junk," or the tossed aside ideas, as a pile of potential hidden treasures. 
  • Think outside the box within the box.  Lynda Resnick, author of Rubies in the Orchard, and the unconventional marketing guru behind brands such as POM Wonderful, says that in order to uncover the hidden gems in your brand you need to focus on the intrinsic values inside the brand – think inside the box. 
  • Step up and take on a project that scares you!  It makes you feel alive and can spark new ideas just because you’re out of your comfort zone.

So, start to look for and embrace unconventional ways of doing things, to set aside conventional structure and rituals and walk boldly and courageously into the unknown.


Your Crayons are Your Brand - What Color are They?

I recently took an on-line quiz that tells what color crayon you would be – if you were a crayon.  I was yellow.  Okay, it’s a silly quiz but it got me thinking about a person’s true colors.   Are you showing your true colors to the world or are you a chameleon, changing colors depending on the persoCrayonsn you’re meeting with, or because of a certain image you’re trying to project in business or at work?

The expression, “showing true colors”, stems from the time of the fighting sail when ship captains would fly the enemy’s flag in order to infiltrate their territory.  Then, before attacking, the offensive ship would change its flag to the true colors of the ship’s country.  In today’s social terms it means showing your true self and in some connotations where your loyalties lie. 

The same principle applies when it comes to your personal brand.  Your brand encompasses your points of distinction that make you uniquely you.  Think of it as a one-of-a-kind crayon box full of your specific true colors. 

A healthy brand continues to evolve and as long as you’re true to your values and philosophies the brand still projects your true colors.  Speaking from my own experience, I’m continually tweaking my brand, but the core values and philosophies behind my brand are resolute.  What remains fluid are new opportunities and changes in the marketplace.  Then it’s all about being flexible enough to allow those opportunities that align with your brand’s philosophies to expand your business or your brand.

Case in point, the re-launch of my website as well as the launch of new programs in my business are a result of exactly that – paying attention to the opportunity signs that can be seamlessly incorporated into my brand.

How do you know what your personal brand is?

  • Set aside some time to reflect on what your personal and business philosophies are – what personal code do you live by?  Examples: work/life balance makes for more productivity; great success comes from great risk; when you live your values the results take care of themselves.    
  • If money were no object how would you choose to do? 
  • What qualities and behaviors do you respect and consider essential?  These would help you determine what your core values are.  Examples: speaking truth; respect for others; humorous outlook on life.
  • Make a list of your distinctive descriptives – what sets you apart.  Be completely honest with yourself.

By answering these simple, yet thought-provoking questions a glimpse of your brand starts to emerge.  The true colors in your crayon box.   Your brand then becomes the barometer by which you make career and business decisions. 

As usual, the Bard said it well:

“We know what we are, but now we know what we may be.”  William Shakespeare