At a recent Women in Leadership conference that I attended, the female speakers made time to celebrate the men in their lives. One of the speakers went further and brought her husband on stage to discuss how they balance taking care of their family and individual professional responsibilities. Hearing them share their experiences, got me thinking of the great men that have contributed or still contribute to my life.
Although I did not grow up with a father, I have had some great men in my life. Starting from uncles, family friends, managers, professional connections to my biggest supporter - my partner. These men have played very different roles in my life ranging from being positive examples of great men to providing me with great work opportunities to believing in me and my talents.
This Father's day I want to do something different. If you have great men in your life, then join me in making time to appreciate them. And if you can't think of any great men in your life, use this as some inspiration for what to look out for.
In this blog post, I will share more about the men who have played a significant role in my life. I have created some groups to help me shorten the post.
To the great men who influenced me
Growing up, there were some tremendous male influences. Some of them were family, and others were friends that became family. I grew up mostly around women, so the few great men around us stood out.
To my Teachers and Professors
I have been fortunate to have some great teachers and professors that shared knowledge with me and instilled the passion for continuous learning in me. I think way back to my secondary school teachers and my university professors.
To my Professional connections
On my career journey, there have been some great men who have believed in my skills and abilities. I'm grateful to the men who offered me great opportunities that helped me start and grow my career.
To my Managers
In my career so far, I have had some great managers who were invested in my career growth and success. Especially in my early career, having great professional support was very helpful.
To my Partner
The other day someone said to me, "your partner is an amazing man," and I totally agreed with her. In the over ten years of our relationship, he has always been there for me. He supports me on my mission to leave a strong legacy.
To all the great men out there who are supporting their women as they chase their passions, Happy Father's day.
Thank you for being great men and role models for the next generation.
Call to Action
Who are the great men that have contributed to your life? Find a way to tell them you appreciate them.
My self-discovery Journey started a few years ago. I wanted to know myself better and work towards things that were important to me. Realizing that I am fully responsible for my destiny, not my family or my background helped me take action. I use the term journey because it is continuous; I don’t see this journey ending anytime soon. As I discover more about myself, I uncover other parts of me that I want to explore more of and develop.
In this blog post, we will explore the definition of self-discovery, some tools to help you as well as questions you can ask yourself to start on your journey.
What is self-discovery?
What tools can you use on your self-discovery journey?
Tool #1: Self-reflection
Making time to think about your experiences, your potential, and your future is crucial. There is so much you can learn from reflecting on past experiences and where you are now. Towards the end of every year, we get reminded to reflect on the past year and plan for the new year. I have found power in taking the time to reflect more often than once a year. Every Friday morning, I spend about 30 minutes reflecting on my week.
Tool #2: Journaling
Writing things down in a journal can be very therapeutic. While I reflect, I write down the highlights and the lowlights of my week. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed, creating a list of things you are grateful for helps adjust your perspective. Another benefit of journaling is offloading your heavy thoughts. This frees up your mind for new ideas and enables you to move on.
There are great tools out there that can help you discover the power that lies within you. I have taken some great assessments that have helped me either uncover my strengths or learn how to articulate them. The top two self-assessments that I recommend for everyone to take are Strengthsfinder 2.0 and Personality Types.
Tool #4: Learning
Interestingly as you learn new things, you discover more about your interests, your strengths, and potential. There are many skills that I did not know I had until I started learning something new or taking classes. Learning for me has not only helped me discover more of my skills; it has helped me improve them and do more of what I enjoy doing.
Tool #5: Community
Surrounding yourself with people who are also on a journey to discover themselves is very important. I value the ladies in my community a lot. Although we are all on our journeys, sharing our experiences encourages us. It's great that we don't have to be alone on the incredible quest to get to know ourselves better.
How well do you know yourself?
Some inspiration questions to ask yourself to get to know yourself better:
Call to Action
Have you thought about yourself lately? Make time to discover yourself.
Do you appreciate yourself? Celebrate yourself today.
Have you ever heard people say "to get ahead you have to self-promote"? Initially, this statement made me uncomfortable. However, as I have progressed in my career, I fully agree with the importance of being able to promote myself. I recently attended an "Iamremarkable" training and it made me start thinking about the power of self-promotion. Making time to think about what makes me remarkable and sharing with people around me made me feel empowered and proud.
In this blog post, we will explore the definition of self-promotion, reasons to promote yourself as well as tips to help you learn how to promote yourself.
What does self-promotion mean?
Reasons why you need to promote yourself
Mastering the art of promoting yourself
Explore some questions to help you assess how well you promote yourself and tips to start self-promotion.
Do you know you are remarkable?
Let's start with the most important thing - you are unique and amazing. There is no one like you on this earth. I know we are not trained to love ourselves. There are many negative words used to describe self-love. It's time to break free from that mold and start loving yourself. It's ok that you're not perfect. You are you!
MC's Tip: Accept and celebrate your whole self.
How do you talk about yourself?
When people ask you the question "tell me about yourself," it can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you are not prepared with a response. Thinking of an answer on the spot does not come easy to most of us. The good news is that you can learn how to talk about yourself. Personally, thinking about the one thing I want people to remember about me after they walk away from our conversation helps me. There are many great resources that can help you perfect the first impression.
MC's Tip: Practice introducing and talking about yourself as much as you can. It will get better with time.
Do you know and talk about your strengths?
Many of us find it hard to talk about what we do well. A few years ago, I started my journey to discover my strengths. I found it easier to talk about my weaknesses but struggled to think about my strengths. Read more on how I discovered my superpowers in my post, "Know your strengths." Talking about your strengths is what gets you those great opportunities.
MC's Tip: Discover your strengths and talk about them.
How do you talk about your accomplishments?
It took me a long while to embrace the opportunities to promote myself. I believed that my work will speak for itself and that I didn't need to do anything else. Especially with my move to the US, that theory was proven wrong. Doing great work is essential; however, talking about it may be more important in some cases.
MC's Tip: Start tracking your accomplishments and celebrate them.
How can you learn to promote yourself more?
We all know those people who quickly talk about their skills and services in every conversation. Two things may happen when we hear them. We either dislike their approach or feel impressed by their ability to promote themselves. I want to encourage you to surround yourself with people who self-promote well. It will help you learn how to promote yourself.
MC's Tip: Observe people around you who promote themselves well and get ahead. Start promoting yourself.
Call to Action
What makes you remarkable? Think about three things that make you amazing and share it with three people this week.
What makes the people around you remarkable? Ask people about themselves and give them the opportunity to promote themselves.
Have you been thinking about doing something bold? What has been holding you back?
Earlier this year, the ladies in one of my Mastermind groups read a book titled "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown. Reading the book and sharing learnings with great women challenged me to take bold steps this year. I had started the year with my theme of "being bold," but now I knew that I had to dare to do greater things.
In this blog post, I will share some steps to set your daring greatly goal and my journey to do great things this year.
What is a daring greatly goal?
I define this as a goal you are working towards that seems impossible, but you are willing to take the risk and make it happen. It is typically a goal with high personal reward.
How to achieve your daring greatly goal
Exploring five steps to help you define your goals and take steps to achieve them.
Step 1: Think about the great things you want to do
While we were reading the book, this question stood out to me " What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?". Although I had set my goals for the year, I had to go back and review them to see if they were daring greatly goals. There were some bold goals on my list. However, I felt that I needed to challenge myself to make even more daring moves. Personally, the bravest things I wanted to do this year were, start my YouTube channel, share my content with more people and ask for a promotion at work.
Step 2: Identify what has been holding you back
Now that you know the great things you want to do, it is time to assess the challenges and potential roadblocks. Start by asking yourself why are you not doing the great things yet? Write down what comes to mind when you ask yourself this question. Take as much time as you need and be totally honest. Self-doubt has been one of my biggest roadblocks. I have good ideas, but I'm afraid to share them. Address those fears that are holding you back.
Step 3: Get excited about your daring greatly goal
Your daring greatly goal is usually bigger than your typical yearly goals, and it would take you being very excited to achieve them. Think about why you are eager to work on this goal. For me, one of the significant advantages of reading the book as a group was hearing the ladies share their daring greatly goals. Most of them were passions that they had for many years but never got to do. Thinking of working on my daring greatly goals that I sat on for so long excites me. I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing the results.
Step 4: Set milestones and define success
Especially when you are working on large goals, it is essential to be clear on what the definition of success is. I have been learning to focus on small milestones and achievements not only on the final result. This helps keep me motivated and excited because I can see the progress I am making towards the bigger goal.
Step 5: Take steps towards achieving your goal
Now that you have identified your daring greatly goal, it is time to start taking steps towards it. Especially if this is a goal that you have been sitting on for a while, now is the time to prove to yourself that you can do it. Continue making progress and never give up on your goal.
Call to Action
What are your big goals aka daring greatly goals for this year? Think big and start working towards your goals.
Are you settling in your relationship, at work, or in life? Have you given up your desire and will to fight for more? Are you accepting the status quo?
Recently, I had a conversation with a lady, and she expressed how she was not expecting more than just the average rating on her performance assessment. Her argument was, that's what the company gives new people irrespective of how good they are. Her response got me thinking, how is she ready to settle for that and not fight it?
In this blog post, we will explore what it means to settle for something and the reasons why you should not settle for less.
What does it mean to settle for something?
Why do we settle for less?
There are many reasons why women settle for less. Here are the most common reasons:
Five reasons why settling is not acceptable
Let's explore some additional thoughts on why it is essential for you to want more.
#1: You are destined for greatness
I strongly believe that we are all on this earth for a purpose. We need to do everything in our power to live out our purpose. There is so much power that lies within you. It's time to start sharing your gifts with the world.
#2: You are worth a lot more
You have worked very hard to be where you are today. By settling for less, you are taking your sacrifices for granted. Get comfortable asking for what you are worth. Great things come to those who ask for more and work for it too.
#3: You need to prove the "system" wrong
As women, we may face some systematic challenges and sometimes we have to fight an uphill battle. One of the biggest motivators for me is proving people wrong when they try to tell me what I can't do or put me in a box. We need to make it a priority to show people all that we can do when we put our mind to it.
#4: You are setting an example for the next generation
One constant thought in my mind is, what example am I setting for my seven-year-old niece and other young ladies around me. Showing them that they can be anything they want to be, is my life mission. Being great role models is a significant responsibility.
#5: You need to activate your dreams
A lot of the dreams and passions you have can only come to live if you stretch outside of your comfort zone. Think about all the great things you want to do in life and plan to take action.
Call to Action
What would you do if you were not settling anymore? Imagine if you started thinking that you have no limits and no boundaries on what you can achieve.
Let's start by celebrating all the things we juggle as women. We have a lot on our platter with work, business, family and life in general. It is normal to feel overwhelmed by everything we have to do daily. Also, it is sometimes hard to see what we achieved at the end of the day.
In my post, I will share five simple techniques that help me prioritize and achieve my goals. As a project manager, I am constantly required to prioritize tasks for myself, my clients and my team. Applying some project management principles to my private task prioritization has helped me master my task list.
What are the benefits of setting priorities?
How to make things that matter to you happen
#1: Identify your tasks
Start by making a list of all you do and need to do daily. Write them down on a piece of paper or a digital notepad. For me, I have noticed that every time I start feeling overwhelmed, there is a task that I have not planned that is currently taking over my time and resources. The act of writing or updating my task list helps me remember what I really want to be working on.
Tip: Use tools to track your task list. I use google keep for my task list as I can always update from all my devices.
#2: Prioritize your task lists
My favorite dictionary definition of setting priorities is "to decide which things are most important to do." To achieve your big goals, it is key to identify what tasks are very important and must be worked on before other tasks.
Setting priorities helps you focus and get things done. The questions below can assist you in defining your priorities daily:
#3: Schedule your prioritized tasks
This quote by Stephen Covey summarizes a key principle "the key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
Scheduling your tasks increases the success rate of closing them. While you plan your tasks consider the following:
#4: Have a family meeting or talk to your friends
This one might be shocking, to be successful you need the people around you to be on the same page as you. People that care about you will support you and help you complete your tasks. Especially if you have to work on tasks with your spouse, friends or partners, it is essential to ensure that they are aware of your priorities and when you plan to complete a task. Make it a practice to keep your support group updated.
Tip: Create a family calendar or share dates with key people in your life.
#5: Adjust your priorities and track your progress
As things change and your priorities shift, remember to update your list continuously. Your ability to adapt to life's changes is crucial for success. When you set priorities, you work with the assumptions you have at that particular time. As new things happen, be open to change your priorities.
To check if the priorities you set are the right ones, track the progress you are making and the rewards you are seeing. This process also lets you know if you set the right priorities and are taking the right action.
Tip: Check your top 5 priorities regularly, at least monthly.
Call to Action
What are your top 5 priorities at the moment? Write them down.
Social media has become a central aspect of our lives. Often it is the first thing we check in the morning, multiple times during the day and last thing we check at night. Going through a social media cleanse especially during this time of the year seems like a vogue thing to do. Imagine if we learned to manage our social media use and were more intentional about whom we let influence us.
In this blog post, I will share some facts about the time we spend on social media and the effects it has on our lives. So you don't feel judged, I will get personal with my journey and the tools I used to have a more healthy relationship with social media. The motivation for this post came from a conversation I had with one of the great women in my community.
How much time do you spend on social media?
Let's start with some statistics on how much time we spend on social media:
Mediakix calculated average time spent per day on YouTube (40 minutes), Facebook (35), Snapchat (25), Instagram (15) and Twitter (one) and projected those figures out over a lifetime, arriving at a total of five years and four months.
The data shows that we are investing about 2 hours every day in something that does not yield any returns. This valuable time could be spent elsewhere, for example sleeping more or learning something new.
Do you identify with any of the following?
Why should you manage your social media "use"?
Some of the tangible benefits that you can enjoy when you manage your time spent on social media include the following:
Being that I was very far away from my family and friends, social media felt like the only way I could keep in touch with everyone and not feel too isolated in Germany. In the early 2000s, the social networks I used were Yahoo/MSN/ AOL messenger, Hi-five, MySpace and then Facebook came along.
I was an early adopter of all communication channels as I wanted to stay connected to my people. For about five years, my use of social media platforms was normal. However, with the introduction of smartphones my usage spiked and social media was taking over every free minute I had. As many of you know, I left Facebook for about seven years. I needed to take a break from Social media and learn how to make connections in different ways.
Let me start by saying - I came back on Social media in 2017, because I am ready and mature. I want to share the reasons I had to make a change and lessons I learned about using social media wisely.
Problem #1: I was comparing myself to others
Coming to this realization was shocking to me because I never thought I was that person. Growing up with my twin I learned to accept that although we were born on the same day, we were very different individuals on different journeys. However, when it came to seeing my Facebook friends progress, I felt very different. Everyone seemed to be graduating from university, getting married, having babies before me. I felt as if I wasn't making enough progress in my life and became very impatient.
Tool #1: Stop Comparing your life to others
Well, I grew older and more confident in my journey. I learned to appreciate and celebrate my achievements and where I am in life now. My journey is different, and it's great. I don't compare myself to what people chose to clean up and post on social media.
Problem #2: I wasn't sure what I wanted to share and what not
Especially in hard times, I felt the need to share my heart on Facebook mainly for other people’s reactions and comments. My approach was to complain and look for sympathy rather than have a more productive conversation sharing my learnings and experiences.
Tool #2: Share your deepest thoughts with people around you.
Social media should not be the first place you run to with your issues or thoughts. Facebook friends are virtual and far :). Confide in your support community and share your experiences.
Problem #3: I neglected making personal connections and relied only on virtual connections
Being that most of my social media friends were in many other countries, social media was the only way for us to connect. We kept our relationship very superficial and hardly discussed deep concerns or experiences
Tool #3: Invest more time in your personal relationships.
When I started making more local friends, I felt much better. Real friends whom you share your real life with are worth more.
Problem #4: I was spending too much time on Facebook.
Facebook became a distraction for me. I checked my feed when I woke up and multiple times during the day. It didn't stop there; I also shared updates, made comments and interacted with other people's posts for extended minutes. Working a full-time job and studying for my Master's degree, I had to use my time wisely and be more productive.
Tool #4: Remove social media apps from your phone and switch off notifications.
I want to be able to go on social when I feel like and spend the right amount of time. Being conscious of how much time I spend on social media is a priority for me.
Problem #5: I didn't feel joy from Facebook
It took me a while to realize that I felt negative emotions when I spent time on Facebook. I hardly came away feeling empowered. Although I felt down, I still went back.
Tool #5: Be aware of the emotional effects social media has on you.
Guarding your mental health is essential. These days when I check Facebook, I'm happy to reconnect with people, share what I want but it doesn't define the way I feel about my life. Be intentional about whom you follow and the groups you subscribe to. As you watch the people, you surround yourself with in real life also be careful about whom you surround yourself with online.
Call to Action
Explore your relationship with Social media
How has 2019 been for you so far? Have you been working towards achieving your goals?
As a practice, I like to talk about achieving your goals when all the other articles and conversations are over. It is already March, and some of us may be starting to doubt that we can achieve the goals we set for this year. Let's start with the good news - we still have nine months to make things happen.
In this blog post, we will reflect on where we are with the help of some questions, plan steps to achieve our goals this year and I'll wrap up with a summarized reflection on my journey so far.
Status Quo – Reflecting on where you are now.
Let's start with a quick review of the progress you have made so far with the help of some reflective questions.
#1: Do you have a plan for this year?
"Stop setting goals. Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them." Stephen Covey
This quote sums it up perfectly. With a plan of action, you know the necessary steps to take to achieve your goals. Understanding the steps, you plan to take is crucial.
#2: Did you take action?
"Achieving our goals takes more than good intentions. You have to take action and then systematically measure your progress." - Michael Hyatt
Having a plan is a great start. Taking a step and making progress on the planned activities is what gets you results.
#3: Were your goals too "crazy"?
There is a thin line between setting aspirational goals and crazy goals that you can't achieve no matter how hard you work. Setting aspirational goals is important to get you out of your comfort zone.
#4: Did you set goals you really care about?
In talking to women around me, I noticed a trend of setting goals because other people are working on them. The pressure to set similar goals is real. Reflect on your goals and get clarity on why you chose to work on them.
#5: Did you surround yourself with people who were working towards their goals?
Being around people who are focused on and achieving their goals increases your success rate. Look around you and evaluate if you have some great "achievers" in your support network.
#6: Did you equip yourself with the necessary tools?
Especially if you are working on new goals, it is important to find tools that will help you achieve your goals. Some examples of tools include trainings, books, webinars and any additional resources that provide you with knowledge.
#7: Are you setting goals in all important aspects of your life?
To achieve balance, it is crucial to set goals in all parts of your personal and professional life. Setting goals in the following areas have made me more successful - self-care, finances, career, personal growth as well as my business.
Action Plan for the next months – What can you do differently to achieve your goals?
We have nine more months to make this year really count. Explore five simple tips you can apply.
Tip 1: Write down your goals
Being able to read your goals often is essential to achieving your goals. Writing your goals down makes them real. If you don't write your goals down, please start now.
Tip 2: Create a plan
Documenting the concrete steps you plan to take to achieve your goals, helps bring clarity into what it would take to meet them. Having a plan provides you with a way to measure and track your progress.
Tip 3: Start a routine
To achieve your big goals, you need to be committed and consistent. In my experience when I dedicate time to work on my goals, things get done. Make it a habit to invest time and resources in things that matter to you.
Tip 4: Share your goals
Talking about your goals with your trusted friends is a great thing to do. Having accountability partners is a proven way to stay on track while you work to achieve your goals.
Tip 5: Track and celebrate your wins
Make it a priority to celebrate your small and significant accomplishments along the way. Especially if you are working on a big goal, it helps to appreciate the progress that you are making.
I want to take time to review the first three months of my year.
A strong focus for me this year is taking bold steps. The journey so far has been gratifying. Being brave is not easy, but it has provided me with opportunities that I would not have had if I did not take a leap.
An area where I want to do better over the next months is to prioritize self-care more. With all that I plan to achieve this year, I need to be fully healthy.
Finding my place in a new large company has been my focus for the first three months of the year. There have been a lot of learnings gathered from experiences and conversation over the last months. Not all my experiences have been positive, but they have all taught me a valuable lesson.
I want to learn more about navigating my new company and achieving my career growth goals.
Growing my finances is an area that I continue to take very seriously. I have been meeting my savings and investment goals.
Over the next months, I am planning to make a substantial financial investment that will teach me other skills about money. For someone like me that enjoys having a safety net, this is going to be a learning experience.
2019 has been a good year so far for me business-wise. I have been focusing on building on the foundation that I built last year and also expanding in new areas. Some of the ventures I developed this year includes getting more life coaching clients, starting my YouTube channel and growing our Mastermind groups.
My focus for 2019 is to grow my income streams more and have a profitable business. This is definitely a bold goal that I'm working towards.
Call to action
What goals are you planning to work on over the next three months? Identify your short-term goals.
What are you planning to do differently to be more successful? Increase your success rates by making a small change
A few months ago, the 10-year challenge was all over social media. The concept was about posting pictures of yourself ten years ago and where you are now. It was nice to see photos of people who participated in the 10-year challenge. The different approach that I would like to take is to go deeper and reflect on our journey over the past ten years. For me looking back at myself ten years ago brought back a lot of memories and changes that have happened in my life since then.
In this post, I'll take you on a reflection journey comparing my life in 2009 vs. 2019. A lot happens in 10 years. I'm very proud of the woman I am now and my journey so far. My story is definitely a glow-up experience.
Who was I in 2009?
Looking back ten years, I am not the same person I was back then. If I had to choose three words to characterize that phase in my life, they would be afraid, insecure and alone. When I look at my 2009 pictures, I can see that there was no sparkle in my eyes. It felt like I was always carrying a heavy load on my shoulders. Back then, I could never have imagined that I would be where I am today.
Where was I professionally?
2009 was the final year of my long college journey. I struggled very hard to finish my first degree. At this point in my life, I decided to give my all and complete all my classes as fast as I could. I had some internships that helped refine my view of the career I wanted to pursue - Project Management. The choices I made set me up for a great and successful career.
Where was I relationship-wise?
Thinking back, I had just come out of a toxic relationship at the end of 2008, and I felt even more alone. The lessons I learned about myself and what I want in a relationship have been monumental. However, it didn't stay that way for long; I got beauty for my ashes. It marked the beginning of my relationship with my special man. I can't believe it's been ten years of our journey together. Learning and growing through our long distance relationship set us up for happiness together.
Where was I mentally?
Mentally, this was not one of the strongest phases of my life. I felt very lonely, not because of my relationship status but feeling alone with my challenges and fear of the future. I always asked myself if I was ever going to be able to live the life I wanted for myself. The uncertainty made me worry a lot, and I found myself unable to enjoy my life.
Where was I financially?
Money worries were a big part of my life as a student in Germany. I worked multiple jobs while I studied full-time because I needed the income. As building my savings was a priority for me, I tried to save 25 to 50 Euros monthly. The discipline that I learned in this phase of my life definitely paid off. I am now a disciplined saver and have the opportunity to discover investing.
Where am I now?
Fast-forward to 2019, I am at peace and living my best life. Being able to say this is huge for me, after spending a lot of time worrying about my future. I can confidently say that everything worked out for my good. I am where I need to be in this phase of my journey, working towards my dreams, developing my career, surrounded by a great community and excited about my future.
What am I looking forward to over the next 10 years?
When I think of where I want to be in 2029, I have many ideas and dreams. In summary, I want to continue being my authentic self and living out my dreams. I am looking forward to learning and growing through my experiences. The thought of being able to get to places I never expected, excites me. Watch this space for more on my journey.
The greatest lessons I learned over the past ten years are:
Call to Action
Reflect on where you were 10 years ago. How have you grown over the next 10 years? What are some of the biggest lessons you learned?
MC's Journey 2009 vs. 2019
"Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room – remember that."– Chris Ducker
Personal branding has been a hot topic lately. In early 2016, I kicked off work on my personal brand. The need came from me living in a new country and having to re-introduce myself. I took a holistic approach to build my brand by covering my personal and professional brand as well. It included working on my online presence, offline activities, networking, joining groups and most importantly self-discovery.
Today, I'm writing from the perspective of someone who has tested a few personal branding strategies and is continuously learning. As a starting point, your journey will be different; these are some ideas that you could add to your list. In this blog post, I'll share top strategies I used and some tools I use to keep my brand fresh. Check out the "Great Resources" section at the end of the post for more tips to help you build your brand.
What is your personal brand/ personal branding?
Who needs to work on their personal brand?
You. Me. Everyone
Why you need a personal brand?
How to build your personal brand
Be clear on why you want to build your personal brand
As with everything we do and want to be successful at, we need to be clear on why we are working on it as well as the results we want. Building your brand takes work and requires a clear direction. When I started building my brand, my objective was to create a platform to build deeper connections, share my experiences and promote what I care about. Looking back over the three years that I've been developing my brand, I can confidently say that I have seen great results.
Tools for your Toolkit
Get to know yourself more
When I started writing this post, I reflected on the most valuable exercises I did with my life coach. Getting to know myself better was the first. Self-discovery has been a key pillar of my branding journey. For me, it all began with discovering my strengths through self-assessments. Being clear on what I'm good at, helped me frame my message when I talked about or presented myself. I also spent time getting clarity on what my values are and what I stand for. My journey to discovering myself has been very rewarding.
Tools for your Toolkit
Own your narrative and tell your story
One of the principles I heard that helped me understand the importance of my brand was "If you don't own your narrative and your story, others will own it for you." The realization that I am the best person to tell my story helped me take ownership and think about how I want to be seen or heard. Growing up in Nigeria, I was not taught the value of talking about yourself in a positive way when you present yourself to the world. After going through my learning journey, I can say that we all have unique experiences and a great story to tell.
Tools for your Toolkit
Share your knowledge and ideas that help you stand out
Your co-workers, potential teams or clients should know your expertise and what they can come to you for. Create content and showcase yourself as an expert in your field. It is very easy to start this. Be mindful of what you share as it represents you. One of the great benefits of having my blog is that I have a great way to introduce myself and what I care about. There are many ways to go about it; you can start with gathering insights on topics you care about and sharing on social media, supporting causes that you care about or sharing ideas with your community.
Tools for your Toolkit
Have a consistent message across all online and offline platforms
Does your online presence tell the same story as the one you share when you are meeting people in person? Your social media and professional platforms like LinkedIn should represent you the way you have chosen to present yourself. What you post, like, share and subscribe to, is a clear indication of where your heart is. Be intentional about what you put your name on, especially online. Imagine the great opportunity you have to associate yourself with good causes and things that help you grow.
Tools for your Toolkit
Keep learning and developing your brand
As you progress on your personal branding journey, take the opportunity to tweak and improve your presentation. Track what's working and what's not working to help define your path forward. I want to emphasize this point as it allows you to start with something small and keep expanding as you progress on your journey. Your brand is built one step at a time. This is the same approach I've been taking for the past three years.
Tools for your Toolkit
Build your community and join productive groups
Interestingly, it is in my nature to build a community and look for them. However, I never considered the importance of how my community influenced my brand and vice versa. Especially professionally and in my business, my affiliation with certain groups helped me build and grow my brand. While you search for communities, keep in mind that you want a community you can give to and gain knowledge from. Remember the people you surround yourself with are a reflection of who you are.
Tools for your Toolkit