Define or Be Defined
Your Brand Part 1: Define or Be Defined
How do others view you? What is their experience, and how do they wish to interact moving forward? Do you attract and inspire… or is it something else?
Our brand is our distinctive identity to others.
Whether we know it, like it, or are just too busy to care about it, we all have a brand. Understanding and defining our brand is a large part of succeeding in life and in the modern workplace. The same holds true for organizations.
Our ideal brand is our best and unique self. It is what we want to represent and stand for.
Unfortunately for many of us, our brand continues to be defined by our work and our busyness.
Defined by Work and Busy
Our brand is our story. Our brand develops over the course of our lives and takes into account the good and the less than good.
Many high-achievers – especially those of us who have had success over the first half of our adult lives – are looking for more of a life outside of the office.
We are looking to discover and define a brand that expands beyond our work identity. For some of us this is a more desperate quest either because of burnout or because we now realize there is more to life – and that we want it.
The default for too many of us high-achievers will be to live too long being defined by our work… and then too long having regret.”
-Peter C. Atherton
Our True Brand
Our true and ideal brand can only be known and refined through self-awareness, self-discovery, and self-mastery.
Beyond just “Googling” ourselves, one of the first steps to becoming more self-aware in terms of our brand is simply to ask.
An important component of my seven-year life transformation was becoming aware of my brand. Once I realized that major changes were afoot in terms of my interests, passions, and purpose, I began to document and reflect on them. Outside feedback from those I trusted was always valuable; however, it wasn’t until I came across Dorie Clark that I realized the value in understanding my personal brand.
Although a little intimidating at first, one of Dorie’s suggestions was to ask people around you in different contexts:
“If you only had three words to describe me, what would they be?”
I found that my brand was less reflective of what I had been doing and more reflective of how I operated.
Words like caring, thoughtful, self-motivated, reliable, hardworking, dedicated, committed, compassionate, organized, intelligent, and sincere served as a source of inspiration to continue me forward toward living the full life I now desired.
It was ideal for me to ask a cross-section of friends, family members, work colleagues, and others who had known me over the past decade. I initially got feedback from about a dozen people.
At the time of my “brand survey” I had been several years into better “mastering my life” after so many primarily focused on work success. However, had I known to do this earlier, I know I would have been able to close the gaps between the life I had and the life I wanted sooner.
Are you up for the challenge?
If so, ask at least 10 people close to you in different contexts to describe you in three words. The results are likely to inform and inspire you to move forward toward the brand and the life you desire.
Future parts of this series will focus on how to discover and how to realize our ideal brand for greater success individually and organizationally.
To your winning,
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About the Author
Peter C. Atherton, P.E. is an AEC industry insider with over 30 years of experience, having spent more than 24 as a successful professional civil engineer, principal, major owner, and member of the board of directors for high-achieving firms. Pete is now the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC, author of “Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners”, and the creator of the I.M.P.A.C.T. process.
Pete is also the host of The AEC Leadership Today Podcast and leads The AEC Leadership Mastermind.
Pete works with AEC firms to grow and advance their success through modern and new era focused strategic planning, executive coaching, leadership and management team development, performance-based employee engagement, and corporate impact design. Connect with him through the contact link below.