How do you know what to say yes to? I offer this exercise in Personal Branding that's found in my book Say Yes to No. This exercise is based on the guideline from the world of branding that a good brand must be described in three words. It applies this principle to our personal lives.
Begin by brainstorming. Write our every adjective, verb, or noun you’d use to represent you or how others actually describe you. (I’m stretching the rules of branding that call only for how others portray you.) What are those words? Intelligent. Self-starter. Stubborn. Funny. Spiritual. Caring. Winsome. Dynamic. Energetic.
Then chart those on the top half with words that you’d like to describe you and on the bottom half with words others use. Take a moment to observe what you’ve written. What does this say about your aspirations for yourself? How do the two lists line up?
I’m assuming you have about twenty to thirty words. So now comes the hard part. You start saying no. Remember that branding can only use three descriptors. Take a first whack at the list. Reduce your list to about ten words. Take time: Hang with those for a few minutes. Then let them sit, and come back to them later. Maybe even tomorrow. When you do, then prioritize them. Look not only for descriptors that apply today, but also for your preferred future. What you want to become. Let the priorities determine the remaining three. Now write out those three essential, goal-defining words.
Two pieces of advice: Use a pencil so you can revise and keep the entire first list. That way you can let yourself review and revise your list. Secondly, allow yourself to lament the descriptors you’re not going to concentrate on. It’s a hard truth that some dreams will in fact never be realized.
Read those three finalists. Meditate on them. Go back in a day or a week. You may want to make some changes. How does that “brand identity” really fit you? What will you do to deepen those characteristics? Do you need to make changes? What nos need to be stated now in order to realize these three yeses? What are the big yeses that you will work on each day? At this point, I like to recall the saying, "Some dream of success. Others wake up and do something about it." See how this branding identity defines what you do each day.
I came up with recalcitrant, out-there, and funny! Somebody help me!
Now it's time to implement those three! What happens when you do?
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