WEEK, I’m welcoming a colleague, Dr. Rob Pasick, an author and leadership coach
among Fortune 500 companies. Here’s a link to Rob’s own Web site. And — here’s Rob’s thought for today …
“You’re branded, branded, branded, branded.”
That admonition by marketing guru Tom Peters gave us all a hard slap in the face in his now-famous 1997 cover story in “Fast Company.” In today’s world, he argued, everyone needs to shape a personal brand — because we all are going to be “branded” anyway! Tom’s idea now is everywhere. Self-branding is the basic appeal for millions of us at Linked-In, Facebook and Twitter. Career coaches warn us that if we don’t brand ourselves, we won’t find good jobs.
Tom argues, for example, that we all ought to calculate our “GQ” — Google Quotient. What comes up on Google when you type in your name? (Try it — and add a Comment about your reaction to the exercise.)
Is there any way out of this? What if I don’t want to be a brand? What if I want to be a complex human being with multiple parts and multiple names?
For myself, what if I don’t want to be known as “The Balanced Leadership Guy” or “Oprah Man” (as I was called after an appearance on the Oprah show some years ago). What if I like the names: dad, husband, friend, sport, Robbo, Doc, Dodo, pal, Ropportunity or Buddy?
Here’s the problem: Trying too hard to “brand” ourselves can split us even further from our real selves. Most of us acknowledge that we are not our work. Yet the pressure to succeed in an increasingly individualistic marketplace pushes us more deeply than ever into that work brand.
How sad. We all play multiple roles. We exist within a personal ecosystem with five spheres: Family, Friends and Community, Our Body, Our Moral-Ethical Sphere and lastly — Work.
For most of us right now, that work sphere dominates, doesn’t it? Ironically, if we think of each of these spheres as a ball that we juggle, work is the most resilient. If we drop the family ball, our marriage and our children suffer. If we lose our moral and ethical compass, our reputations are ruined forever. If we are not connected to our friends and community, we are isolated, lonely, and unhealthy. If we neglect our body, we risk compromising our health and creating long-term and potentially life-threatening conditions. Yet, if we lose our job, no matter how uncomfortable, most of us can find our way back to some sort of work after a relatively short period of time.
So, let’s accept Tom Peters’ challenge: What’s your brand? How do you plan to take control of your whole life — to find “Balance … in Unbalanced Times”?
What’s Google say about you already? And what names do you really want to be called?
Please, add a Comment, even if it’s brief.
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