Reinventing Yourself in a Time of Transition

By Susan Chritton, Author of Personal Branding for Dummies

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is situational – the new site, the new boss, the new role. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”  William Bridges 

If you’re facing a transition in your life, here are some tips to help you with your reinvention:

  • Be inspired and trust the process. Allow a sense of wonder and divine timing to enter your life. Remember all of the times when you’ve heard someone say, “That was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
  • Don’t be afraid to learn new things. If you’re behind in learning how to use current technologies as an example, take a class or ask a friend for help. Start with a beginner’s mind. Embrace the idea of starting from scratch. Most people have to learn new things all the time; it’s just a fact of life.
  • Take responsibility for yourself. Life is an adventure. Embrace your role in the creation of your new self.
  • Set up a daily schedule to give you structure. Having a schedule provides a sense of stability.
  • Stay social. Be open about your reinvention. Share your stories with your friends. Don’t isolate yourself.
  • Maintain your sense of humor. Remember to laugh often and to be able to laugh at yourself.
  • Ease up on your perfectionism. You need to start somewhere, and you may not be very good at it in the beginning. Believe in your ability to learn and grasp new concepts.
  • Examine your finances. Cut back where you need to and give yourself the gift of time to try out your new role without the financial pressure. Now may be the time to sell an extra car or drop a club membership.
  • Remember your core values and stay true to your personal brand. You may feel less sure of yourself during transition, so believe in yourself and live your values.
  • Seek help from a counselor or coach to support you in your changing identity. This is a good time to get the support that you need to help you get clarity on your path.

The Heart of Your Personal Brand

PossibilitiesIt is February – the month of love. Love is actually the most important ingredient of your personal brand. Self-love that is, which means self-acceptance. You need to be able to look closely at yourself and be willing to grow and change so that you can align who you are on the inside with who you are on the outside.

As you get clarity about who you are, you’ll be able to demonstrate your authenticity, knowing that you’re coming from a place of strength rather than trying to practice the chameleon life. This clarity helps you live more consistently, which is vital to living a successful life.

If figuring out who you really are seems a bit overwhelming, know you that it doesn’t have to be. You already have an inner voice that can guide you toward your true identity. It’s the voice that tells you “Yes, go for it” or “Stop, this is a big mistake.” Your own best answers are there if you pause to listen to that wise inner voice.

It is freeing to let your guard down and open up to the authentic you, the one where your true strengths, talent, and personality lie. As you start to pay attention to what your personal brand is, you may want to pay more attention to your inner voice so that you can notice the choices that you make and move forward in a purposeful way.

Being able to identify what matters to you might sound obvious, but most people don’t think very much about it. Many of us go about our daily lives making split-second choices (often subconsciously) rather than trying to make decisions based on whether it aligns with what is important. Developing a personal brand requires being more aware of yourself and your choices.

Practice self-love this month. It is the heart of your personal brand and invites you to become everything that you’re capable of becoming.

Personal Branding during the Middle Years

During the middle phase of your career, it’s important to re-examine your brand on occasion and look at what you need to do to spice it up a bit. Don’t let your brand get stagnant or else you may soon be forgotten. Keep it fresh and keep it evolving!

Personal branding done well requires an implemented strategy, especially at mid-life. It keeps your career current and exciting at a time when many others are happily hanging out in routine. Setting a strategy to continue to grow in your career and continually evolve your personal brand takes courage, insight, and vision.

Begin by observing yourself in your current position. Your personal brand is based on your authentic self so don’t be afraid to let your differences begin to show as long as those differences are appropriate for your situation.

In our world today it is likely that you will need or want to reinvent yourself professionally. Your personal brand can support your reinvention by reminding you that at your core you are still you and need to be your authentic self. Your reinvented self may be wearing a new outfit, but in all that you do, no matter what you call yourself, you are still you. Your personal brand helps you identify those core pieces of yourself that you want to express and use in the world.

Reinventing yourself means you are ready to take responsibility for your life and work. Life is an adventure and as scary as it is, embrace your role in the creation of your new self. Don’t be afraid to learn new things. In order to build your confidence, you first need to shift your mindset. Start out expecting great things for yourself and having faith that the changes you are making will turn out well. Transform your negative thoughts into the positive actions that will help you move to where you want to be.

Here’s the great news: Studies show that most workers who change careers at older ages say they enjoy the new job more than the old job. So look at this time of change as a new opportunity to follow the dream you’ve always wanted to achieve. Ask yourself how can you combine your wealth of experience, knowledge, and personality to deliver something that the younger workforce can’t. Brand yourself to stand out, regardless of your age.

Ten Ways to Sink Your Brand

Here is a recent video that I did for a Vlogathon where I discuss some of the basic ways that you can sink you brand.

You can spend years building your reputation, so remember to protect your brand by taking the time to notice these important behaviors.

Personal Branding and the Hollywood Gig Model

Casting for the Hollywood gig model

Are you ready to be cast in the workplace as you would be cast in a Hollywood movie? A huge workforce trend is the movement toward a gig economy, one that resembles how the movie industry works. Think about how a film is made:

 1.  Someone wants to make the movie and finds the money to fund it.

 2.  The key players are secured: the director, producer, and lead actors.

 3.  Everyone else is hired, each person bringing special skills to the set.

 4.  The whole crew works on the movie for as long as it takes to complete the project.

  5.  All the people hired for the movie say their goodbyes and move on to look for their next gig.

Many workplaces now function this way, and many more workplaces will do so in the future. As a result, workers need to be agile and able to clearly communicate what they can do and who they are.

Having a strong personal brand will serve you well in the gig economy. Instead of hoping that someone notices you and offers you steady, long-term employment, you must be prepared to take your personal brand on the road and leverage your skills. Chances are, you may not be an employee in the future; you may be a free agent.

The workplace has become project-oriented. More and more work is being organized into smaller segments that are facilitated by project teams. Projects are a great way to grow your brand because they have a beginning and an end, have specific deliverables, and often have measurable results.

Start thinking now about how you can take on more project work, and you’ll be taking a crucial step toward becoming more employable. Toward this end, stop thinking like an employee and start thinking of yourself as a company of one offering your clients the best service that you can provide.

Consider an example of how a project gig might work: You join a project team and work on a project for two years. That project ends, and you take what you have learned and join former coworkers at a start-up business. You work really hard to build the company, and it’s sold to a larger company. You leave and go to work for a competitor where you settle in for three or four years. That company merges with another business, and you leave to set up your own consulting firm. This type of transition goes on until you work fewer and fewer hours — not necessarily retiring, but at least modifying your work to fit your older lifestyle.

Managing Personal Change

Having colleagues and friends for support makes managing change so much easier. Last March I received a call from Wiley Publishing asking me if I would be interested in writing Personal Branding for Dummies. I consider myself an expert in the field but had only written articles, never a book. While working with clients in my role as a Career and Personal Branding Strategist Coach, I had mastered guiding people through the process of change. Now it was my turn to go through a huge change – becoming an author. Writing a book was a completely different experience and put me in much the same position as my clients – having to adapt to a new role and a new way of working.

One of the first things I did during this time of change was to pause and think about what knowledge and techniques I used to guide my clients through career and identity changes. I then began to write my ideas in the “Dummies” style, with easy to understand language in a how-to book that smart people could use to develop their own personal brands. I wanted to be true to my own brand of creating community and putting people at ease as they read the book, so I gathered some of my favorite personal branding experts and asked them to contribute their specialized expertise. The book takes the reader through a step by step personal branding process. It is filled with exercises and practical examples of how others have been successful in uniquely building their personal brands.

I’m very proud of Personal Branding for Dummies as it hits the shelves at the first of June. It is an easy to use, practical guide that can support just about everyone in his or her career.

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