​WHY IS PERSONAL BRANDING IMPORTANT?

This article is not about making your career or boosting your business. Even though branding has always been considered a business topic – to me it is very personal. It is to believe who you are, what you want from your life and declaring it to the world in a way that the world starts relating to you differently. 

Branding is not showcasing you as somebody else. It is also not about wearing expensive clothes and driving expensive cars. It is all about how you want others to see you and relate to you.

Some 10 years earlier, I was involved in a course named “Landmark Education” and that course taught me a lot of things and one of the important ones was to learn how to confront others. We were given a task of taking interviews of people from different areas of our lives. We were given some set of questions that would make us aware of how we are perceived by people in that area of our lives. For example – I took interviews of one of my colleagues, one of my college friends, one of my cousins etc. 

What happened while taking those interviews was that I was so very surprised at so many things that people liked and disliked about me. I was very surprised to know who I was for them. Some surprises were pleasant and some were not, but they were all surprises. That was when I realized that if I do not consciously take care of maintaining my image/brand, it will just get built on its own. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I stop being myself and try to put on a false show – it just means that understand the consequences of your actions and take responsibility for them. 

That was the first ever time in my life when I truly understand the meaning of “Creating your own brand”. 

Who are you seen as? What do your friends talk about you when you are not with them? Is it positive or negative? Are they making fun of you or talking about the great things that you have done? Or do they even talk about you? Are people happy to have you in their group or they simply don’t care? Who are you to them? These are some of the basic questions that your “Brand” answers.

How do you consciously try to create your brand? 

Be true to yourself – Never ever put up a false show. It doesn’t work. If you try to be somebody other than yourself, people will see right through you in no time. It doesn’t work. Be your own self.

Be committed – It all depends on how badly you want to create a true brand for yourself. And it is not easy to do this. It takes time, energy, thoughts and a lot of work. Commitment is the key here. 

Define your aspirations – Who do you really want to be? How do you see yourself 10, 20 or 30 years from now? Be very precise of your aspirations today, they will keep changing and you will see that change in you if you define it appropriately now. 

Understand your strengths – As a culture, we are always asked to focus on our improvements areas. Sometimes so much that we forget what our strengths really are. Always play by your strengths and to do that you need to understand what you are good at. 

What are your brand attributes – What is it that you want people should relate to you as? What kind of adjectives you want people to use for you? Once you know what your brand attributes are, you also need to understand why those things are important to you. Again your brand attributes will also change with time. 

Once you understand how you want people to relate to you, you need to understand the current situation. Then start working towards creating the image or brand that is line with the attributes you defined earlier. 

Working towards creating your brand could include anything – your social media profiles, your display pictures, the topic of your conversations with others, your posts on social media, your attitude towards others, the work that you do etc. 

Few years back when I was talking to one of my colleagues in one of the interviews I mentioned earlier, he said that he doesn’t think I am as committed to my work as I ought to be and sometimes he doubts if he can really depend on me. This came as total surprise to me because I never thought of myself as non-committal. At that point of time, I made it a mission to create an image of me that is dependable and committed. It took quite a change of perspective to do that. I started communicating regularly what I was doing and how I was doing a certain task, I started being proactive in meeting small milestones so that big deadlines are never missed. And it worked.

On the personal front, I had an image of being a cry baby. Any argument with any family member used to end in me crying about it. I used to cry in a way that it would force the other person to just close the topic. I got this feedback various times and few years back I took it up to be more mature in my discussions/arguments with my family members. Every time during an argument I felt like crying – I would just tell the person that I am unable to control it and I need a break. That would give me some time to think about the topic and also come in right perspective. And it worked yet again. I managed to change the brand that I had created for myself.

So, think about it. What is your current brand? Are you happy with your brand? If not, then what do you need to do to turn it around?

IDENTITY QUEST, NOT CRISIS

Do animals reflect on who they are, and what they are doing here? Probably not. The question might arouse a mental image of a cow chewing grass obliviously. It’s not that animals, even the chimpanzee, the gorilla, orangutan, the dolphins and whales, but most especially your pet dog or cat aren’t extremely intelligent, because we know they are. But intelligence reaches a critical point, and, voila! We achieve self-awareness. We ask ourselves, whether we drop everything at the moment, or even continue with whatever it is we are doing at that moment (because we are driving in heavy traffic, or holding a baby or a hot pot of soup), “Who am I? What am I? How did I get here? If this world was made for me, if I am so special, then why haven’t I achieved greatness and the recognition I deserve?”

My answer is that, well, it all depends on who you are asking.

Identity crisis is merely the tip of an iceberg with foundations that reach deep in the misty darkness of time and consciousness. Even though our questions seem of the moment, really we all go through a lifelong struggle to reconcile social expectation with individual expression. The very signposts of personal growth must change from infancy to old age, or don’t bother asking at all. If you puzzle over your life’s meaning, then you’re probably accomplishing your purpose without even realizing it.

We want to be recognized by society, not for what it expects of us, but for what we believe to be our endearing attributes. On a sliding scale, perhaps on one end we think of ourselves as sexually exceptional specimens, with impeccable physical beauty, as I’m sure Kim Kardashian does. And on the other end we are selfless servants of society, with such a great connection to our spiritual foundation that poverty and obscurity pose no threat to our ego, like Mahatma Gandhi. It is natural to feel we have failed at life’s calling, whether our butt is still not as big as we had hoped (Kardashian), or not having yet liberated an entire country from colonial oppression (Gandhi). Expectations, they’re relative!

Speaking of relatives, some of us have experienced being infantilized by our family. That is, our parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and the people we grew up around still and always will treat us like little children, just as if we had never aged past nine years old. Even though we each grow older and wiser, there’s something about gathering together on the holidays at the dinner table that brings out the infantilizing riposte in my family. I could be the first man to walk on Mars, and my mother wouldn’t take my word for what’s happening in outer space: “Is that right, Jim?” she might turn to the opinion of my brother-in-law, who for some inexplicable reason would be endowed with greater knowledge than I, the only person to have walked on Mars. It’s humiliating, a real whack to the ego. All that work of being an astronaut and Mom still has to verify my professional opinion by asking my brother-in-law (a successful business man)!

I digress, but not too much. You see, we define our worth on the basis of the opinions and judgments of the wrong people—we can actually make ourselves sad and insecure because we are infantilizing ourselves! Sure, we are supposed to love our family. We don’t throw them away just because we have grown (and they haven’t). Just as civilization accumulates and becomes increasingly sophisticated over the millennia, it is possible we have exceeded the boundaries of the understanding of our ancestors in matters of who and where we are in this jigsaw puzzle of society. Better to just pass the potatoes, and let brother-in-law Jim expound on the rarified atmosphere of Mars, a place he has never been. Trust that the right people will comprehend our significance at the right time and at the right place.

Author’s Bio: Gregory G Lewis, is a psychologist, a social scientist, and a web programmer. He has learned more by watching the waves than from any book.

HOW GOOD IS OUR MASK OF PRETENCE?

Few days ago I was listening to an audio clip of my favorite Christian Preacher Rev. Dr. Ravi Zacharias. There he shared a beautiful story, which goes like this –

Once a man was in the search of a job. He was walking by a zoo when he saw the advertisement of a job vacancy. He spoke to the zoo manager and was appointed as a monkey. His job was to reach the zoo before sunrise and to put on the costume of a monkey. He was to be fed peanuts & bananas the whole day by the people and his work would be to entertain the children. On the first day while the man in monkey’s costume was entertaining children by swinging from branch to branch, he fell down inside the cage of the lion. The man looked at the lion and screamed in fear & shouted “Help!! Help!!”… Immediately the lion started speaking, “Shut up! Don’t shout or else we both will lose our jobs.”

The greatest lesson I learned from this story is that like those two men every one of us in this earth is wearing a mask. We are exactly the opposite of our looks. What others see is just a mask, not the man behind the mask. When I looked for the reason of this act of pretence the Bible answered me that we are simply imitating the patterns of this world, rather than being transformed by the renewing of our minds. We think that to sustain and succeed in this fictitious world we need to wear the mask of pretence. We have failed to discover our real identity. Even though man has reached the peak of success and knowledge he is still struggling with the issue of “Identity Crisis”. This crisis has ultimately made ‘India’ the global capital of suicide cases.

The biggest question of this generation is, “WHO AM I?” All our worldly achievements have failed to answer us. Our true identity is that we are created in God’s IMAGE and God’s Spirit resides in us. So with an unveiled face before the mirror we ought to change into the godly image by accepting all our sins and seeking His godly power to live a life which can reflect God’s glory.

Our IDENTITY is that we are the IMAGE of God to reflect the exact proportion of His character.

Be blessed & stay tuned!   

Avinash Das

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

In the mid-2000s, one Indi-pop chartbuster became one of my all time favourite songs.

The song is called “Bulla Ki Jana Main Kaun” – and it was by the Indian musician known as Rabbi Shergill. The song itself is based on the poetry of Muslim Sufi mystic called Baba Bulleh Shah.

If you listen to the words carefully, you will realize that the entire song talks about “who exactly IS Bullah?” Does Bullah know who he is? The stunning poetry is evident in the lyrics of the song, but the hidden pain, not so much.

In today’s fast-paced life, we all want to identify with something or someone. But how many of us really know who we are, and what are we called for? What is our purpose in this life? What is our identity? 

Most people live their entire lives not knowing the answer to this question.  I want to tell you, you were born for a purpose; your life is not in vain. Your identity is set. Let us all go on this journey of finding ourselves.

Just as Bulleh Shah asked in his poetry, ‘Who is Bullah?’, let us ask ourselves the question today.

Here is the beautiful song for you – listen to the words carefully.

 

 

Identity

HAVING A SELF-IDENTITY

Each person is unique in his or her own way. Even though everyone lives together in a society one would react differently from another in a number of situations. It has been evident that the provisions of similar physical environments have also resulted in different individual patterns. This is what we call Individuality. “The outstanding characteristic of Man is his Individuality”, thus emphasised by American psychologist Gordon Allport. The realisation of this individuality can be referred to as having a self-identity.

Basically, a person who has a self-identity is aware of his or her purpose in life, can justify own existence and act according to situations keeping in mind his or her ideals. He or she is said to be consistent and therefore maintains own equilibrium in matters of importance.

I would just like to emphasise on the characteristics of individuals with a healthy self-concept and identity:

  1. They are able and willing to take up responsibilities appropriate to their age.

  2. They participate with pleasure in experiences belonging to each successive age-level.

  3. They willingly accept responsibilities pertaining to their roles in life.

  4. They enjoy confronting and eliminating obstacles to happiness.

  5. They make decisions with a minimum of worry and conflict.

  6. They abide by a choice they make until convinced it is a wrong choice.

  7. They get satisfaction from real rather than imaginary accomplishments.

  8. They learn from defeats instead of finding excuses for them.

  9. They do not magnify successes or apply them to unrelated areas.

  10. They know their work and leisure timings.

  11. They can say ‘no’ to situations harmful to their best interests and ‘yes’ to situations that will aid them.

  12. They can endure pain and emotional frustration when necessary, while showing affection appropriate in kind and amount.

  13. Most importantly, they accept the fact that life is an endless struggle.

     

 

 

Identity

‘PICK’ YOUR TRUE IDENTITY

‘Who am I really?’

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I had asked that question to myself a few years ago when I was struggling to find the purpose of my life.

Let me explain the FOUR basic pointers that determine our identity. I call them P I C K in short, so that it can be remembered easily (though the pointers are not according to the right order).

P – Purpose of Life

The understanding of life’s purpose reveals your true identity to yourself as well as to others. Let me explain what I just said for you to understand.

The web definition of  ‘Identity Crisis’ is “a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”

According to psychologist Erik Erikson, “an identity crisis is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself.”

In Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, the emergence of an identity crisis occurs during the teenage years in which people struggle between feelings of identity versus role confusion.

When a person knows and understands his / her purpose of life he / she gets clarified what to do and what not to do in life. He finds confidence and peace in what he does or decides to do further. During the adolescence or teenage stage he/she goes through difficult periods of finding his/her own role to fit in the society and struggles with the issue of identity crisis.

We all know the purpose of life drives a person. Our purpose in life drives us to pursue a certain kind of career and follow a certain profession to earn our living.

Our purpose determines our identity through our profession. For example, our identity becomes ‘A Teacher’ when our purpose in life is to build the foundation of the children by teaching.

I – Image we are created in

“So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.”

We need to know that God, our creator created us in His own image and that itself becomes an identity for all of us. Before we judge somebody for being beautiful or ugly we need to know that we are shunning the image of God. Although we have been soiling the original image or identity of ourselves because of sin and self gratification but we should always remember this fact that we all humans, men and women are created in the image of a Creator God.

C – CharacterIsTICS we possess

The characteristics we have and the characteristics we develop in us as we mature also determine our identity. Our characteristics are like our face through which people identify or recognize us. For example, if I possess the characteristic of helping and serving all the people around me then people identify me as ‘a helpful man.’ Like wise when I lie to everybody in everything then people identify me as ‘a liar.’

K – Knowledge WE acquire

As we grow in health and mind we acquired knowledge through our education and our interests. We discover the talents we have and sharpen it with the knowledge we acquired from different sources. And our knowledge gives us an identity too.

The children who are good in studies are reckoned as ‘very intelligent.’ The same way we identify and name others as ‘idiots or fools.’

If we arrange the pointers in the right order then it might be “I C P K” because our Image will come first, Characteristic second, Purpose third and the Knowledge will come at the end. But for easy remembrance let’s call it PICK.

Are you confused about who you are?

Think about your purpose in life, acknowledge that you are created in the image of the Creator God, understand that the characteristics you possess & the knowledge you acquire will make you known amidst the people around you.

So are you ready to P I C K your Identity?

Keep reading, keep commenting & keep sharing…

Stay Blessed!!!