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Happiness is a Warm Brand – Four Questions To Ask Yourself


What do you feel at the end of the work day? Exhausted? Exhilarated? Satisfied? Beaten? Happy?

Now, I am personally satisfied and wish there were more hours in the day. However that wasn’t always the case. I was flipping through my old blog notes and was reminded of a time that I knew at the time was profound. I knew because something happened that never happened before. I was sitting in a class in grad school and tears were streaming down my face. For those of you who know me you know that I don’t do that. I am tough. I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t stop. I knew this crowd was all very squishy and accepting of the right path. The truth about people is they are all in their own bit of the world. They are experiencing it in their own way which didn’t include looking at or noticing my tears. No one noticed. As I think back I smile with the sheer helplessness that I felt as I sat there paralyzed.

The topic was Coordinated Management of Meaning. Having been in marketing my whole career I was very aware of the concept of reaching your target. But this was different. This was personal. This is about how you and I coordinate our communication to ensure meaning between the two of us. In my understanding is it’s a combination of mutual understanding and being heard in a truly personal way. At the time I was building my coaching business doing a contract at a big corporate structure and in fact I was pretty isolated and out and out alone.

Those giant tears forced me to look at how I set up my life and how I really wanted to set up my life. I wasn’t in a position to do a 180 degree turn but I had to face the tears rolling down my face and look at doing things differently.

Uh…yeah… but what? Am I suddenly supposed to open up or share intimacy with a bunch of colleagues? I was from a world of MBAs who would throw their mom under the bus to do the presentation to the executive board and possibly get credit for team brilliance. Clearly I wasn’t with my tribe but I was in conversation and managed to coordinate meaningful communication. I was hiding behind a major brand doing their bidding and watering down my own secret sauce. In looking back now I realize I was scared to fully show my face and who I am. I was scared then and I am still a little nervous each time I write and show my passion for helping people thrive at work. But sitting there with tears rolling I knew I had to find out who I was and what the hell I was going to do to ensure that I was connected to my people.

Are you in a place where you don’t have your tribe? Are you connected? Questions to ask are:

  1. Who are my people? Your perfect discourse and hang time peeps.
  2. Where are my people? They have to be findable or there is no point.
  3. What is my particular flavor of value to the world? This is not remotely small…
  4. What will make me happy and connected? You know less tears more joy.

These questions are the similar to what branding experts go through, albeit much more complicated, to help you find and then buy products they made for you. That feeling when you find the exact right eye cream or the perfect software to help you track the value of your portfolio. These questions are deeply rooted in knowing you. The better you know you, not who your employer or family wants you to be, the easier it is to find your path. That path helps you find happiness. I know it sounds trite but, in fact, when you are aligned with your true north the rest is easy. Decision making is as easy as “on strategy or off strategy” and you know, in corporate, progress was made more quickly when the questions were asked. Get closer to living your true brand and then driving the decisions you make in your employment world (and all other parts) to will allow you to thrive.   For me when I got real and asked myself questions, I found that I loved teaching people how to be more powerful and bringing out the best in them. My gift is that I see patterns, process and strengths in people that they don’t see. Just ask those questions and see what you find. Just so you know, your super powers are invisible to you because they are easy for you.

There is a whole science camp around happiness. Knowing yourself comes from knowing what you’re good at and love doing and doing more of that. Truth be told your world doesn’t have to turn upside down you just have to know who you are in that world. Just add more of what you love and delegate what tortures you.

Sage4change – now taking applications for Personal Branding for Professional Happiness an on-line program of personal branding starting in January.

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