By Felicia Shakespeare
We’ve all heard the phrase that “it’s never too late to get started” and that statement will always hold truth to it, but in this hour when the world is sitting on its heels looking for hope, answers and solutions, this same phrase has taken on a more urgent meaning. More than ever before we must understand why we were created to be who we are and how to present that best version of ourselves to the world. If you’re not feeling a sense of urgency I want you to start and I encourage you to start right now!
As I think back to being a young girl, I can always recall in my circle of friends, there were some individuals that knew very early on in life what they wanted to do as a career or be (or some semblance of it). My very best childhood friend Nicole was one of those people. Nicole wanted to be a teacher! We literally were best friends from Kindergarten until our careers started. She knew early on and has remained “contently” in this field her entire career until now.
Recently I came across a story in the news of a one year old Instagram star, Kobe Wian, who’s mom has him cooking in the kitchen as a baby chef (outfit and all). He’s mixing dishes, tasting food and more importantly thoroughly enjoying himself. It’s one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.
Another example of seeing this in motion early in life is when I saw the documentary of the life of a well known priest / community activist in my home city. What stood out the most for me in his story was seeing a photograph literally of him reenacting the sacred duties of a priest at around the age of five years old; wearing a robe, clerical collar and all other sacred pieces. Who could ever know they could be a priest at such a young age? Somehow Father Mike did.
LIVE WITH URGENCY
I was not the kid that knew right away, but I did become that adult. And not only did I, my sense of urgency to live out my purpose is with me every single day I rise up. This is how I believe we should all take on life even as we create our personal brand journey. I don’t understand why sometimes we seem to believe we will have forever to live a life that has a start and ending, of which we have no control of either. Even more so now, I am often reminded of a particular quote of one of my favorite teachers:
“The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.”
― Myles Munroe
We are literally in a race against time! If you value your brand you will value all of your time, why? It’s the greatest gift you’ve been given, so use it well.
Fast forwarding well beyond a childlike mindset, it does become a point in time where one must have a sense of urgency about why they were put on this earth in the first place and what should be done with the time you’ve been given
IDENTITY IS KEY
Knowing who you are or your Identity is critical whether a younger or more seasoned adult. The sooner you know your purpose the sooner you can develop and present your personal brand to the world, that is the “total package” of who you are. The power of who you are is undeniable when you know it for yourself. “Studies have linked a sense of purpose to not only slower cognitive decline but also to lower rates of disability and even death,” according to alziemers.net. How powerful is that! Knowing who you are can potentially and literally SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Identity is critical to any form of personal development. The number one thing that I continue to see holding most individuals back from achieving their goals and dreams in order to evolve into their own unique brand more than ever are their personal struggles with various types and levels of fear.
One type identified fear I would describe as fear at its worst is “debilitating fear.” This type of fear is what I would refer to as a disaster on steroids. This type of fear is so cruel because it puts one in a cycle of paralysis, where you start questioning or second guessing yourself. When someone is paralyzed, what happens? Nothing! There is no movement. I know some when they see me now may find it very hard to believe that there was once upon a time that I was a very timid, quiet and fearful person. I held it all up inside of me as a youth and it trickled over into my pre-teen, teenage, and some of my young adult years (the worst set of feelings I have knowledge of about myself to date). When did this change? When I recognized my own self worth and began to accept and love me as I am. This I believe is critical to branding yourself, self acceptance and self. I say this should all be in balance and in a healthy context, like everything else we do in life, but how you envision your own life directly impacts your personal brand.
BRANDING IS BELIEF!
“You must believe in yourself and what you have to offer the world.”
True branding is belief and purpose combined. You won’t know your brand if you don’t know your purpose. As was mentioned, fear can come in many shapes and sizes. The sense of inadequacy will manifest in several different ways. Whether it be in the area of ‘self doubt’ which is you not having the confidence to move forward. Belief and confidence in your own capabilities is a key part of branding. Solid belief in your brand’s vision dispels fears and self doubt.
LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE
Do what you enjoy in your life for the rest of your life! This is what I have been working towards my entire life and many of you will likely agree you’ve been on the path doing the same. How we choose to live affects every part of who we are; our bodies, mind and soul. Because each one may possess similarities, yet and still NO ONE can possess YOUR unique set of talents skills. Alll of this put together represents you as a brand.
“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”
Becoming prone or ‘lax’ about our lives and futures is no longer an option (this is how you must think). Have you ever heard the phrase “ there is no better time than the present” ? I have and I’ve found myself in a posture of urgency especially observing the daily happenings in and around our world today. It’s never been a better time than now to understand what a brand is, but more importantly, the time is now to know what your personal brand is!
There is no way that you can understand your brand if you are unclear on or not willing to take the necessary measures to identify what you are great at and the things that bring a burning sense of fulfillment and passion to your life’s existence. These are many times the very natural skills that you already have and can choose to use with little to no effort. When you have the mixture of identified purpose in the world with your brand put in the mix, this is how you will be seen, portrayed and introduced to the world. You are indeed your brand!