Imagine being kidnapped and locked away from civilization for years and years. Imagine being mute, so that you cannot say anything to the world. Imagine coming to the end of your life sensing that you did not impact others as you would have liked to.
Then imagine being given an envelope. In the envelope is a lottery ticket and a code. The code gets you out of your prison. The lottery ticket buys you not only wealth but also access to speech, so that you can shout your message to the world.
Are you trapped inside a script that you did not choose?
We may believe what our parents, or teachers, or people in our lives have told us.
They may have rejected or criticized us. Or they may have affirmed us, but in directions we did not necessarily choose for ourselves.
I’m about to hand you your lottery ticket and your code, so that you can break out of your prison of limiting beliefs and into a fresh new world of exciting possibilities.
But you will have to apply yourself.
If you want to truly make an impact in life, you’re going to need to stand out. Branding Yourself is both the lottery ticket and your code. It will set you free from small thinking, limiting beliefs, and will help you give voice to your true purpose in life.
By branding yourself, you will differentiate yourself from others.
So….What are the ways to go about doing this?
A) Embrace Your Style
You personality, talents, and strengths that are unique to you.
1) Discover and Record Your Strengths
Dr. Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, has a site with a short strengths questionnaire. It’s a good place to start. You’ll have to create your own free account. Once you do, you’ll have access to the questionnaire.
Use the time frames method to uncover some of your passions and abilities. You can read more about this method in my article, Discover 7 Steps for Finding and Living Your Purpose.
Purchase a copy of Strengths Finder 2.0 . This book opened my eyes to some unique strengths I had not considered for myself. My top five are Harmony, Connecting, Empathy, Input, and Learning. There are 34 Themes and Ideas for Action in the book. Once you buy the book, you’ll get an access code to the Strengths website where you can take your own strengths assessment to name your top five Strengths.
2) Clarify and embrace your unique vision and mission
Adam Baker of Man Versus Debt podcast expressed so well that we often live lives according to scripts we may be unconscious of.
For example: Work hard. Go to College. Collect stuff. Buy a house. Have Kids. Retire. THEN, you start living life.
As Adam well points out, if we don’t write our own script, there are other people, governments, or corporations happy to write the script for us.
It’s like being kidnapped: trapped, bound, gagged, in a dark, dank room.
C) Ask Yourself These Questions
Rich Horwath, in his book, Strategy for You: Building A Bridge To The Life You Want, provides great questions for helping us find our personal brand and differentiate ourselves.
- What are the activities I perform that are truly different from those others perform?
- What are the similar activities I perform in different ways than others do?
- What characteristics or traits do I have that are unique to me?
- What resources do I have that are different from those of others?
- How does my purpose differ from that of others?
- How do my family, friends, and colleagues describe my differences?
- How do my purpose channel themes differ from those of others?
- In what ways can I express my strategic themes differently from that of others?
- What is the primary differentiated value I bring to people in my life?
D) Use the Different Value Matrix to further refine your unique value proposition.
Rich Horwath introduces the Different Value Matrix in his chapter, Differentiate.
I’m not computer savvy enough to reproduce the matrix here. But I’ll share the different headings from the matrix.
- List your knowledge, skills, activities, characteristics and traits (you will also want to include material from your purpose channels [see my article on Finding Your Purpose for more information on purpose channels])
- List the above knowledge, skills, activities, characteristics and traits under the following headings:
- High Value Low Differentiation
- Low Value Low Differentiation
- High Value High Differentiation
- High Value Low Differentiation
- Pay attention to the items in the highly different, highly valued header.
- Consider which items not under that heading could, with an investment of your resources, be moved there.
E) Consider which target audience has problems that your high value, high differentiation items can help.
Consider what group or groups of people you want to serve.
I want to serve people on the autism spectrum (see my other blog). I also want to serve men who are 35-50 years old. I also want to speak to people from these groups who are Christians.
Here are some other demographic considerations when thinking about who you want to serve:
• Age• Location• Gender• Income level• Education level• Marital or family status• Occupation• Ethnic background
F) Consider These Final Two Ways to Differentiate Yourself
Rich Horwath is the man of the post for today! He points out two different ways to stand out from the crowd:
- Performing activities that are different from others
- Performing similar activities in ways that are different from others
It’s one thing to free yourself from unconscious adherence to a script not your own, playing a part that you did not choose.
It’s quite another thing, having defined your purpose, vision, and mission, to Stand Out as a unique person of value to those who are looking for what you have to offer.Free yourself! Take action on these steps! I look forward to hearing your stories!