The last few days of 2017 is a good time to consolidate all the things you do into WHAT you are for people. Your brand is your identity, values, passion, and posture…all braided into the what of what you do. Let 2018 be a year where you work your brand through the things you do.
Why? Well, when I talk with people and their organizations about their often dreaded mission, vision and values, we get caught up in the muskeg of actions over existence. They want to do things and make things, not live on abstract clouds of organizational design jargon. But we are human beings, not human doings. And while many in the world are overwhelmed with or outright offended by brand ubiquity, we fail if we cannot communicate our existence to others. Beyond the things we make and do.
So, I often use the word posture. Our posture is how we stand, boldly and resolutely, to assert who we are. Our brand, our posture is The Thing that makes us do what we do. We cannot accomplish anything if our stance isn’t credible, strong, confident and facing the right way to do and say the right things.
Along with posture is intentionality. Too often we are caught up generating revenue, meaning, Likes, followers, and various other KPIs that we forget that the theme of it all is who we are and what we want to accomplish in the world, for the world.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, volunteer, employee, SMB, social enterprise, person who comes up with more ideas in a year than you could possibly pursue, student, in career transition–we all want to make meaning. If we get lost in the things we do instead of investing in self-awareness and converting that into an intentional posture, or brand, we’ll be more scattered than we should be. And more scattered than others are. And they will defeat us.
Emma Watson has moved from Hermione Potter to incredibly deep and meaningful films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, to helping launch the UN’s He for She program [frankly, if you’re a man and haven’t signed on to this, why are you still reading this?]. And she picked up a university degree somewhere too. And she runs an online feminist book club with over 200,000 members.
She’s got a pretty clear sense of herself, her intentionality and her posture. Her brand is pretty coherent. It’s also pretty reflective of her public values.
Everyone has role models we respect and sometimes try to emulate. Consolidating our understanding of the values and coherent intentionality in our role models helps us define for ourselves what we stand for and what we want the world to look like when we’re finished with it.
Path Consulting is all about optimizing [not maximizing anything] our work-life-vocation-volunteering balance. There is no room to optimize if we are not consolidated, not intentional, not self-aware, and not firm in our posture. Basically: if we have a scattered brand.
Your products and services are supposed to manifest your mission and vision and values. And if you’re lucky they always will. But if your brand and posture are shaky and scattered, you won’t be aligned well enough to really succeed and making the world richer because of your existence.
We have 4 days left to 2018. Many of the pieces I’ve posted in my 18 day countdown to 2018 start with the premise that if we wait 4 more days to start new things, we’ll get hip-checked by the minutia and intensity of the day to day to day of 2018.
Spend some time in these last few days having a hot chocolate [with or without Baileys] with someone who knows you, either really well, or just well enough to see at least a little bit of WHO you are.
And get all self-indulgent and have a chat about your brand or posture. We aren’t all Emma Watson or Nelson Mandala or Malala Yousafzai or Terry Fox. But if you give yourself some time to dig into what you really want to change in the world through your vocations, you will certainly have devotions and passions as significant as theirs.
And I will not say you can’t be as significant as those 4 people. Why would I. We all can. And 2018 is the year to start accelerating that.
But don’t wait 4 more days to get into it.
Book time with yourself and your people and create your posture for January 1.