There are several milestones throughout a year when we find ourselves reflecting on what’s working for us and what’s not working in our life and business. It might be on a birthday, anniversary, end of financial year or maybe the obligatory New Year’s Eve. As we face a possible divergence on the path we are currently on, we have choices to make.
We look upon our life through a different set of filters and questions as to what is bringing us closer to our goals and what is steering us further away. The same happens with brand positioning, marketing and the type of people we are choosing to serve in our business. We invest all of this energy into the establishment of our business, and then throughout the life of our work we will reinvent, refocus and rebuild different parts of our brand. We stretch into new opportunities, and we grow out of situations that were once abundant (or not).
In the past 15 years of being a business owner, I have personally experienced four significant redirections of my brand and the focus of my passion and purpose. My current redirection brings with it new “Future ME” Personal Branding photographs!
Each time is like the needle of a compass coming closer to heading north and realigning my course. This is a natural part of growth in business and is a powerful way of finding your edge as a brand.
The Edge of You
In all of my 22 years of working closely with people and identity work, I have seen this epidemic of people blending in, toning down, apologising for or even chastising themselves for being different. The desire to belong is so strong, that people become less of who they are and more of what is appealing to others. On an instinctual level, it is a necessary part of human survival that dates back as far as your beliefs take you. Way back at the beginning of time, we all had to fit in so we could stay with the group to survive very real dangers like starvation, weather, or predators. Fast forward to the current day and for most of us in our cosy homes and safe communities, the most dangerous thing that might happen is being unfriended by someone on social media! Fitting in is a primal response, and I see that playing out in brand positioning where people choose to be more conservative. The problem is that everyone is doing the same, so everyone looks and sounds the same. They end up diminishing parts of themselves and losing the edge that makes them unique.
As we start to round out the edges, we chip away at all those funky bits of ourselves that really are magnetic, magnificent and help move our clients from acquaintances to enthusiastic fans! Fully self-expressing the edgier version of you helps attract your tribe of fans, igniting your message and making a much bigger difference in the world!
It’s kind of like those cookie cutters that are in different shapes, like stars or moons or teddy bears. They usually have rounded edges to them and they all produce multiple copies of the one cookie cutter design.
That’s how we often first start a business. Wanting to attract as many people as we can. We tend to position ourselves with photos and logos and our website copy in a way that will help us fit in with our ideal client. We choose to be less polarizing. The thing is, most clients aren’t looking for a carbon copy of themselves. They want a message and brand that is aspirational, to be motivated by, to be challenged. To be a leader is to lead, and leadership is an integral part of business success.
I remember when I went to see the Twelve Apostles landscape down in Victoria on the Great Ocean Road. You walk down onto a cliff edge. A fence separates you from the steep cliff edge and the ocean below. Some people go right to the fence edge to take in the view and others hang back and stay well away from the cliff edge.
Are you positioning your personal brand as though you were right at the fence and peering over the cliff edge? Or are you hanging back in the safety of the group?
To reach everything you want to achieve in 2020, you need to get closer to the cliff edge and stretch yourself beyond comfort. You need to be different to the cookie cutter copycats!
- Take stock of how you are choosing to conform to those around you. Closely look at how you are ‘sitting on the fence’. Make a conscious effort to disrupt this.
- Find the edges of your brand, your personality and your individuality. It ranges from how you serve others, your boundaries, your brand message, how you speak about your passion, and even your clothing.
- Experiment. Change will only happen with action. Become the observer in real time and redirect yourself in the moment. Be prepared to fail, to make a ruckus, and to turn a few heads! The more the better!
- Identify a ‘Future You’ muse. Find someone who embodies who you want to be more of, preferably someone alive who you can grow with. This muse will change at different stages of your journey. For me, my current muse is Lady Gaga! Love her creativity, discipline and full self-expression!
- Get comfortable with full self-expression. The quickest way to find your edge is to become more animated, more relaxed and real in front of the camera and video. No one else is like you when you are fully self-expressed. We are all unique.
Are you ready to find the edges of you that will make you more noticed?
You don’t need to be 100% ready.
You just need the willingness to make the choice!
Add your comments below!
I DARE you to make the choice to find your edge.