Don’t be a brand; be brand new

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Why your personal brand may be limiting

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. May 4, 2016

At a young age, we created an identity for ourselves. This identity follows us like a shadow throughout our academic, professional, and even romantic endeavours. We become this persona of what people see us as, and we measure ourselves by our accomplishments within that scope.

While establishing a personal brand for yourself may be useful if you are marketing your services to employers, I don’t believe it should be a strict guideline for you to live by. As human beings, we should be allowed to have the freedom to explore. This exploration nurtures growth, a type of metamorphosis that can only happen when new experiences are injected into our lives. You cannot experience anything new if you live your life as a brand.

Let’s say you love rap music. It’s your thing. It’s your brand. Everyday you wear your headphones and you listen to rap. People know you for that and you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to anything else. That sounds like a pretty limiting life, doesn’t it?

It’s important for us to put aside our preconceptions once in awhile and be open-minded. Your brand shouldn’t be rap music; it should be music or art. While you can specialize in rap, you will have a more diversified understanding of music if you listen to the whole range. Rap can be your passion, but if you want your brand to grow and mature—and not just be a pretentious shadow that throws shade at other people who don’t like what you like—you have to broaden your horizons and explore.

It’s easy to establish a brand for yourself and live within those boundaries. People expect you to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and act a certain way. We like when things are predictable. After all, that is why McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart are so popular: you know what to expect. However, unlike billion-dollar corporations, we as human beings need to have the flexibility to shift gears without upsetting the shareholders.

You are not a brand. You are a person. You might have followers, you might have employers, and you might have friends that will expect you to behave in a way that fits their branding, and that’s fine. You can wear a persona like a uniform. You can be professional and friendly, but you must also be pushing yourself beyond those that are already around you. While those within your vicinity will influence and support you, they also act as a black hole that is pulling you deeper and deeper into a character that is merely their expectation of you. Don’t be that character. Don’t be a brand.

When you wake up tomorrow, be someone who dares to do something different.

Unhaggle | How to Measure Your Performance and Gain More Success in Life

Researched and Ghostwritten by Elliot Chan for Unhaggle.com| April 09, 2014 |

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There are many ways to measure success in life: By the money we have, the people we love, the accomplishments we’ve made or even the car in our garage. If you have a Lexus, then maybe you’ve achieved something! Every person defines success differently, but what matters is that we continue progressing, striving to be better.

It’s human nature to become complacent over time, but our laziness can be tamed. Different stages in life yield different results for success. So, whether we want to improve our career, marriage, academics or simple social skills such as haggling, we can achieve it all with a bit of planning, a few progressive implementations and of course, proper evaluations.

Here are a few steps to get your started on your way to success, whatever and wherever it may be.

Set Key Goals for Yourself

Because we all have different values, it’s hard to determine what success means from person to person. Take this hypothetical example: would a middle age, unmarried CEO be considered more successful than a newly-wed entering the job market? Maybe… maybe not.

Before we can become successful, we must understand our own values. These pillars of success are often associated with personal life, health, finance, etc. So, we ask ourselves what our dreams and aspirations are? Once we’ve decided on what we want, we can begin setting goals.

Focus on both the big picture and the small picture. If the long-term goal is to have a high-paying job, drive a Jaguar and have a happy relationship, then the short-term goal must be to develop a skillset, apply for work and get your butt out and meet someone. Small achievable goals will keep your morale high, while the larger achievements such as graduation, promotions and first dates can be inspirational and motivating.

Make a list, prioritize and stay true to what you want. Picking your battle is the first step to success.

Create Deadlines for Yourself

Now that you have your goals in mind, be sure to set some deadlines—after all, life is short.

Every once in a while, you’ll step into an interview or be caught in a conversation where someone will ask you what your five-year goal is. You should always be prepared for the answer; after all, nobody else can answer it for you.

Carrying on with the relatable example of being rich and loved: You have recognized that you need a skill set, therefore you must get an education. Say to yourself, “In five years time, I’ll be graduated from an institution with hireable qualities. A year later, I’ll get an entry level job. After putting in a few more years, I’ll climb the ladder to upper management. In 10 years time, I’ll be able to afford that luxury vehicle I wanted.”

Give it a try. Create your own deadlines. And take care of yourself in the future, as well as the present.

List Your Accomplishments

After you have put some focus on your tomorrow, be sure to take some time to remember the yesterdays.

For each milestone reached, you should reward yourself—celebrate! Take a break to look back at how far you’ve come and assess everything, including your follies and what you’ve learned from them. Be honest with yourself and recognize the errors as well as your triumphs.

Share these momentous occasions with supporters and peers. They understand where you’re coming from and they are cheering for you to get where you are going. In other words, they are your little fan club. If they were there for you during the rough times, be sure to invite them to the good times. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate ceremony in your honour. A nice dinner at home or a night out at the bar will absolutely suffice… for now.

Remember that life is like a mosaic. You’ll lay some dark pieces and some bright pieces in a seemingly random fashion, but be sure to step back occasionally and see your progress.

Always Plan for Success

Before the big game, athletes are taught to visualize success. The same positive thinking can be implemented in all sorts of situations—it doesn’t have to be sport-related.

Imagine yourself doing well in an exam, an interview or a date and it’ll give you confidence to do so. The possibility of failure hasn’t changed, but your mindset has.

Alternatively, to visualize failure is to demoralize. It’ll zap all your energy and leave you weak when comes time to perform. So, always plan for success! The reason you set goals for yourself is because you’re aiming to achieve them, not so they can knock you down and defeat you.

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it many times—and I guess you’ll hear it from me again: As long as you’re persistent, then you’re well on your way to success. You’ve set your goals, you’ve made deadlines and you’ve taken the time to appreciate your journey, and not just the destination. So, with all that being said, it’ll be a matter of time before you’re riding off into the sunset in your sleek new car.