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October 15, 2011

The Labor of Brand Success

In my last blog post I mentioned the fact that nurses and teachers are my heroes, and it’s true. After giving birth three times, my appreciation of nurses has grown exponentially. Having a good nurse makes all the difference in the world when it comes to those times when you really need to rely on someone to help you push through. Most of my maternity nurses were very sweet, but there was one who was tough as nails. At one point I seriously wanted to slap her, but in all honesty she was probably the best nurse I ever had. This was my nurse for my first baby. I think her name was Joan. When I got to the hospital to deliver my first daughter I was understandably nervous and excited, but I was also a little bit cocky. I had read all the baby books, been to all the lamaze classes and had watched all the way-too-graphic birthing movies. I knew what to expect. I knew and had practiced all the breathing techniques and I definitely knew all my drug options of which I had fully planned to take advantage. However, when the time came during my labor to ask for my epidermal there was a mad rush of other […]
October 8, 2011

Find Your Path with Personal Branding

We live in a world where everyday there are more and more options available to us, especially for women. It used to be that as a woman your two main career choices were either nurse or teacher. Nurses and teachers happen to be my personal heroes so I’m not knocking those professions. Now, however, a woman can choose to be just about anything her heart desires. This is a great improvement, but it comes with its own set of challenges. With so many options it can be hard to choose a direction. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some magic wand you could wave that would just point you in the right direction? Well, there is and it’s call personal branding. At its core, personal branding is about clarity, clarity about who you are, what you have to offer, and how you want to express that in the world. When you are clear about what makes you tick and what your unique contribution can be, your decision process becomes infinitely easier. You start to recognize which opportunities will enhance your life experience and which ones will lead you further away from home base. You personal brand is always there for you to tap into like […]
October 1, 2011

Don’t Let Your Brand Goals Fall Behind.

Today is October 1st. As if on cue, the weather turned overnight from balmy to cool and rainy. It is a vivid reminder that things are shifting and that time is marching on. It’s been a great year so far for me with taking on new clients, learning new technologies, and creating new services. As you all know however, with any business there is always so much more to do. As October marks the beginning of the end of the year it is time to think about what still needs to get done. That list can get pretty daunting, so the question is how to prioritize? If you are anything like me, you have about 50 projects whirling around in your head at any given time. It can get very overwhelming trying to decide where to start and where to focus your energy. In her book Stop Saying You’re Fine, Mel Robins says that when you keep your ideas in your head “you are working behind enemy lines.” She suggests a wonderful tool called a brain dump. You simply write down everything, I mean everything, you need or want to get done from finishing your e-book to buying a new comforter for your bed. Once it’s down […]
September 24, 2011

Who are you singing to?

It may come a surprise to some of you, but not everyone likes opera. "How is that possible?" you say. Shocking, I know. There are actually people on this planet who would rather shoot a staple gun into their foot than listen to a soprano screech out a high C. It's just not their thing. This used to really bother me. How could not everyone love opera? Who wouldn't want to hear the most pure and powerful sound a human voice can make? And what about the sheer beauty of the music, the swell of the orchestra, the pathos, the drama, the spectacle? It was hurtful to me to realize that one of the things I love the very most actually revolts some people. I used to think maybe those people just didn't understand opera, that they had to be educated. Perhaps they just hadn't heard it enough times, or heard the right piece, or the right singer.  If they did, they would get it. They would see the light. You may feel that way about your business. You love what you do. You provide a great service, great value. You feel like you've created something beautiful that people will absolutely love, but when you […]
September 17, 2011

“It’s a Beautiful Day”

I recently read an article about the rock singer Bono where he talked about the process of finding his voice. Initially, he tried playing guitar, but he did not excel with it. Then someone suggested he sing, but he didn't think he really had a voice and he struggled to know how to do it. However, he gave it a second try and something clicked. He found his voice. It's hard to imagine a singer who has performed for millions and millions of people not thinking they have a voice and almost panning the idea of pursuing a career in music. However, I understand it because I've seen this phenomenon first hand. In music school we used to sing for each other every week performing the pieces we'd been working on or doing mock auditions for our studio. There would often be a young student who really struggled to sing well. One would wonder how they were ever going to make it as a singer. Lo and behold, a few months later their voice would start to bloom. So what happened for Bono and my music school colleagues? Why were they able to find their voices? First of all, they stuck with it. When you are […]
September 10, 2011

What are you waiting for?

Have you ever wondered why some people are successful while others are not? What is it that separates the haves from the have nots? While some people toil away at unfulfilling jobs, linger in overweight bodies or struggle with difficult relationships, there are a select few who seem to sail through life. They write the great American novel, create wildly successful businesses or strut their rock hard abs. What is their secret? Successful people take action. You may be saying, "Wait, that's the answer to the great big secret to success? That's too simple." Yes, it is simple, however, simple does not mean easy. Take for, for example, weight loss. Loosing weight is not rocket science. We all know to lose weight you have to eat fewer calories and expend more energy. Of course, there are different methods to this process, but it all pretty much boils down to calories and energy. So if it's so simple why are we not all walking around in super svelte bodies? It's because knowing something and DOING something are completely different. You must take ACTION to see results. You must get your ass to the gym! If we know what to do, why are we not all racing out of our houses to get to aerobics class? Because it's […]
September 3, 2011

Feel Good Branding

If you've been reading this blog, then you are probably somewhat familiar with branding and some of its benefits. Good branding can create a loyal, excited following. It can increase your sales. It can differentiate you from your competition and establish you as an expert in your field. Wow, those are all fantastic benefits of branding!  However, I think the very best benefit of personal branding is not often talked about. It is the FEELING YOU GET from living and working from and with those parts of you which feel most authentic and exciting TO YOU. If you are in business, you are in business to make money. If you were not doing business to make money, you would be dabbling in a hobby. So of course, when you think about branding you will focus on the financial benefits. You are not going to waste your time and marketing dollars on frivolous, touchy-feel-good gimmicks. However, what could be more valuable than your own happiness. I know it sounds pretty grandiose to talk about personal branding that way, but that's the way it is. When you are really in touch with what makes you tick, what you are good at, how you best express yourself in the world and […]
August 27, 2011

Go Deep Young Brand, Go Deep

"Every great man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel." –Orison Swett Marden Does that quote sound limiting to you? It may. We often bristle at the idea of being boxed in, of being labeled one way or the other. We do not want to be pigeon holed. It seems contrary to the American ideal of more is better. We are always striving to break down barriers, go beyond the horizon, grow and expand.  And while all these endeavors are worthy, they don't necessarily translate effectively to branding. Successful branding is about narrowing and focusing. People with great personal brands don't try to be all things to all people. Instead they spend time discovering and honing those skills and attributes which resonate most deeply with who they are and where their strengths lie. They go deeper, not wider with their efforts. The result is they become more easily recognized and well-known by their target audience. This is not to say you can never expand or grow your brand, but in order to do so effectively you first have to establish yourself and what you stand for.  Your audience has to become familiar with […]
August 20, 2011

Do you give up too easily?

This is the last week our au pair will be with us before she goes back to her country for school. We decided to have a special waffle breakfast to say good-bye and thank you to her. As usual, my youngest daughter was the first one up the day of the big breakfast and she was super excited. She wanted us to make waffles NOW. Now happened to be 5:45 a.m. and everyone else was still asleep. Of course, my explanation that we had to wait until everyone was awake went over like a lead balloon. It also had no effect on her insistent asking if we could start the waffle-making process NOW. Here's how the conversation went: Her: "Now, Mommy, is it time now?" Me:  "No, Honey, not yet, not everyone is awake yet. We'll have to wait a bit more." 2 Minutes later… Her:  "Now, Mommy? Now?" Me:  "Sorry, no Honey, not yet.  We have to wait." Her:  "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi.  Ok, now Mommy." And so it went on every two minutes until I just gave in and started making the waffles with her alone while everyone else slept. I figured I could just make some more […]
August 13, 2011

Brand Your Edge

For the past several months I have noticed that I have been feeling a little bit blue. I wasn't sure why I was feeling this way. My family is great, I feel healthy, I love my work. So what was the problem?  I realized that I was feeling down because I was feeling frumpy.  I don't think most people who know me would consider me frumpy, however, what I was seeing in the mirror did not excite me. I bought these clothes, I even liked these clothes. So what the heck was happening?  What I finally realized was I had lost my edginess which is a really big part of who I am. It's the part of me that gives me zing and energy. It makes me feel alive and slightly dangerous.  So why on earth would I give that up?  It wasn't intentional, it was more by default. In an attempt to appear polished and pulled-together, I had checked my edginess at the door. I was guilty of a big sin which was giving in to a "should" way of thinking. I had an idea of how a professional person should dress and act. The only problem, which it turned out was a big one, was I ended up […]