As western societies continue to evolve, it is becoming imperative that you develop a thorough understanding of who you are and what makes you unique. Organizations attempt to differentiate themselves by developing and then living a value proposition that clearly defines (for its’ consumers) why its’ products or services are different from its’ competitors. The Incorporate You™ career advancement process believes that you are your own corporation and that you should also know and live your value proposition, or personal brand, every day.
I’ve heard it said on many occasions that your personal brand is what other people are saying about you when you are not in the room. Reputations are volatile and consistency in attitude, physical appearance, behavior, communication, color usage and how you generate value for others is crucial in cementing in others’ minds what makes you unique. This trust is earned by predictable behavior.
- Write Your Intention Statement – An Intention Statement is your never changing purpose, the reason you exist or more commonly referred to as your personal mission statement. Ask yourself, how will you better those around you? Also, how will you not just better who you are, but what you can become? Your statement should be short, succinct, meaningful and able to serve you for decades to come. Write the statement so that you can memorize it and easily recite it back to others in conversation. Write it so that you are proud to say it aloud in groups and that it inspires others to go through the process to write their own.
- Write Your Ambition Statement – An Ambition Statement is your personal vision statement. It helps to determine what you will accomplish and will be in 3 – 5 years from today. It helps to answer simple questions about the goals that you would like to achieve in the short-term that are perfectly aligned with your Intention. Ask yourself, what higher-order returns do you want the world to have tomorrow that it doesn’t have today? Whose wealth (intellectual, spiritual, emotional, relational, financial, etc.) do you wish to enhance? When you accomplish these goals, you will feel fulfilled intrinsically.
- Qualities of Your Ideal Position – Clearly identifying your desired career and the attributes of the position you hold assists you in more specifically targeting companies and potential jobs. Being in a position where you can be your authentic self will allow you to achieve goals faster, be engaged intrinsically and continually generate value for your stakeholders. In your ideal career, describe the following in detail:
- Location of Your Office – how long is your commute, in major metro area/small town
- Total Compensation – salary, bonus, benefits, retirement, travel, expense account
- Daily Tasks – sales calls, spreadsheet review, strategic thinking, team projects
- Responsibility Level – your title, size of budget, # of direct reports
- Growth Potential – promotion after X years, additional professional development opportunities
- Top 5 Interests – What are you doing when you lose track of time? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi conducted decades of research into what makes humans enjoy experiences and wrote Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience. Think back on experiences where you were challenged, you could concentrate, you had clear goals to achieve, you received immediate feedback, your worries about everyday life became secondary, your sense of self disappeared temporarily, you had a heightened level of control over your actions and you felt great when you were done. Reflect back on those experiences and write them down.
- Aggregate Content From Assessments – An additional method for determining what makes you unique is to review the results from assessments like TTI’s TriMetrix® HD, the StrengthsFinder, the Success Insights – DISC, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or CareerLeader. If you can take multiple assessments, review each carefully to determine common themes across each. Use the key words and phrases to assist you in understanding your uniqueness. Also, review the bullet points on your resume for skills that you used repeatedly.
- Similarities v. Differences – Take time to truly assess what you have in common with others in your peer group and also what makes you different. Through candid conversation with others and reviewing LinkedIn profiles, you can identify strengths, skills, interests or unique experiences that either makes you similar or different to your peers. Noting the differences will help you in detailing and being able to describe to others what makes you unique.
- Create Your Value Proposition – Take all of the ideas and content in steps 1 – 6 and write down the traits, experiences or vision for the future that make you unique. Craft a 1 – 3 sentence statement that can be easily memorized and shared with others in conversation. Write it so that you are proud to say it and that it inspires others to go through the process to create their own.
Again, trust is earned by predictable behavior. To be trustworthy, you must be open to connectivity, very transparent in how you live your in-person and online lives, and constantly turn your generosity into a currency. You are the maker of your fortune, there is no third party entity inhibiting you from achieving your goals and living the life of your dreams. So, exude your personal brand consistently and remain open to all possibilities.
I encourage you to stay true to you because what is interesting about you is you.