Sunday, February 26, 2012

What is Your Personal Brand?

What is your personal brand?  Did you know you have one?

I didn't.  And I'm working on getting one.

It hasn't always been possible for me to brand myself as just one thing.  In the words of an insightful university professor I had about 10 years ago, I "have a runny personality."

But now, at the not-so-tender age of 30, things are hardening.  My personality is not so runny anymore.

Call it entering a new life stage if you will.  

Now that I'm a mother, am now working back in Sales Admin (after 4 years sitting on a reception desk), am now living in one place indefinitely, am a homeowner and member of my neighborhood (parks, school, church), and will be married for 9 years this June...I would say things are solidifying in my personality well enough to begin to build a Brand.

Some advice on personal branding I've encountered lately:

1.  Clean up your Internet profile.  Make sure all of your pictures are of professional quality and that you never leave any comments or incriminating blog posts on the internet.  Ever.  Something called spiders will come and eat this information and ensure it is regurgitated into Big Brother's spy ware forever.  

2.  Do a personal inventory.  Make a list of all of your skills and qualities.   And be sure you can spew a clever impact statement to everyone you talk to about how you're a "Highly motivated, revenue growing, adventurous risk-taker, who can not only think outside the box, but can also play the piano and ski."

3.  Dress the part.  Dress like the person you want to be.  Otherwise, who will take you seriously?

OK, so how am I doing so far?  Right now, I haven't changed my underwear in 2 days, am NOT wearing any make-up, ate way to much cake today and have not done much exercise.  I'm indecisive and impulsive and so highly energetic that I start doing so many things at once that nothing gets done!  There are some very unflattering pictures of me on the internet, well most of them actually.  Nothing incriminating or compromising, but certainly not brand-worthy.  And if you asked me who I am, what I have to offer?  I'd say I'm a creative person who does administration.  Because in my mind, that's what it boils down to.  

Branding may not work so well with me.  Because I'm not sure who I'm marketing myself to?

What I'd really like to do:  Is not to Brand myself, but to BE myself.

I'd like to have a studio in Montreal (or Amsterdam) where there is plenty of sunlight, plenty of space--a big long table right in the middle with a few lines of string running across the ceiling.  I will have a couple baskets of clothes pins so I can put up images or words that I find inspiring that today.  I would like there to be a desk where I can write, a canvas and dropcloth where I can paint, a little kitchen where I brew coffee and open wine bottles, and have a lot of plants around.  

There would be a piano and a microphone and a recording system in place.  There'd be a sound system with a record player and always something playing.  I'd always have a suitcase packed and ready to travel.  

In this space, I could work 10-12 hour days happily.  Moving my body, using my brain, my voice.  Being tactile and creative.  

And for what?  To get to what bottom line?  

Expression.  Evolution.  Questioning.  Understanding.  Compassion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Family Day and the Boy Who Liked to Dance

Yesterday was a provincial holiday in Ontario designed for people to spend more time with their families. The Beaches had a petting zoo and blasted some music at Kew Gardens, which Henry liked almost as much as the ambulance and street cars.

It is very convenient that Henry loves public transit considering we don't have a car and it is cold. If he's not in the mood to put on his snowsuit, the magic words "do you want to go on the bus?" brings him into full compliance very quickly.

As we strolled East on Queen East (yes, that is sacrilege to some natives of this city's west-end), we were given a balloon by a bakery, which Henry was entranced by. It ended up tied onto my backpack hitting people behind me in the face for most of the day.

When we arrived at Kew Gardens, Henry began to dance when he heard the music, never mind being alone on the sidewalk. Love the enthusiasm.

We then saw a couple of llamas, some goats and children riding camels near the library. Henry stomped around in the playground a bit, making his slide circuit about 125 times. He is very good at the slide!

Because it was almost lunch and mommy's feet were cold, we stopped off at a cafe for a hot drink and a snack.

By this time we needed to head home for Henry's nap, but first stopped off at a bookstore to get the boy some new books.

We were pretty tuckered out by now, and so was Henry. However, after 90 minutes of trying to put him down for a nap, we finally conceded the boy was not going to sleep! So we gave him the gentle treatment for the rest of the day.

All in all, a wonderful day.