This post could very well go under the Social Selling category, but as it is more about your career than selling, here we are. It’s more around your Journey than your Brand. So I thought let’s start with a definition first, and then with a few facts.
“A Career is an individual’s journey through learning, work and other aspects of life.”
Keyword there: journey. What I like about that definition is that it goes beyond work, and so should you. It’s not just about what you studied in college or after it. It’s not about your credentials or who you play golf with: it’s about fitting it all into what you want to call your “Career”.
It’s about how you mix them and what you do with the results.
Now lets move to the facts. These are just that, facts. Things that are out there and you can see them.
Fact #1: Not everyone likes their job. In fact, most people you know don’t like theirs.
Fact #2: That job might be related to what you studied, or to your passion. Or not at all.
Fact #3: If you don’t own your business, that means you have a boss.
Fact #4: You are the only person who can truly affect your career, be it by direct, indirect or the absence of action.
These are, as explained, just facts. It doesn’t mean they are present in your life right now though. They might have been at a certain point, or they will maybe. Great jobs don’t happen from day 1 till you retire. Bosses come and go until you become your own. Sometimes you study one thing but end up doing something different. You decide what job you’ll take or which one you’ll quit. That’s it.
But why are these facts and that definition important and how are they tied to that simple statement the title of this article is? Elementary, my dear reader: they are all the pieces you need to build your brand. Manage them right, and you’ll have a solid representation of who you are. That will help you get places. Do it poorly and there will no surprises on why you are not getting the job of your dreams.
The most common mistake I’ve seen in people trying to get places is thinking they do not own the power to make those things happen. If you listen to their stories, you will see that at least 2 of those facts listed above stand out at a certain point, together or separate. Some of them know it, some don’t. Of course those that do are the ones that are able to manage them and maybe use them to create something new and good: an opportunity.
I’ll offer just a few examples of how managing those facts will allow you to build a stronger brand or in other words, how to craft your journey.
An accountant that worked in sales, a guy I’ve known for some time. You know accountants, right? Maybe you are one. Their approach to things is basically designed by rules or rather, regulations. Some say that true accountants don’t live “by the book”, they “make the book”. Seeing this guy overachieve year after year was amazing, but I was only truly surprised when, after years of doing it right and being promoted more than once…he quit. He was a Superstar. His explanation? “I was just getting the money I needed to open my own practice”. He definitely owned it.
A Vice President that hated it, one of the most powerful women I’ve had the pleasure to work with. She managed HR and Communications for a Fortunes 500 Company, spoke 4 languages fluently and managed 4 career upgrades in 3 years…while giving birth to her two beautiful children. Never faltered. She once told me “I hate it, but it turns out I’m a good at it so what the heck”. It was a beautiful moment when she showed me her true colors. She knew she was good, she hated it but ultimately made a very conscious decision of staying there. She owned it.
Those are just two examples of very strong personal brands: an accountant that runs his own practice and had a plan, and a VP that does a hell of a job, hates it but knows she’s the best at it. That tells a story right there. It’s the story of who you are and what you’ll do, and only you can tell it.
Your Brand, your Journey. Remember that.