“Truly going after your dream can feel like rappelling into the Grand Canyon – enormous, overwhelming, breathtaking, and a very real feeling that you might fall to your DEATH.”
What does it mean to truly go after your dream? For a good chunk of my 20-something life, I tried on new career options like they were striped sweaters. From cartoonist to screenwriter to author to story consultant to blogger to marketing consultant….
Part of me had no clue what it was I wanted to do, and the other part of me was just plain terrified of picking the wrong one. But is there really such a thing as the “wrong one”?
There is always time to re-brand yourself. In Paul Angone’s new book for twenty-somethings, 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, Paul shares one “secret” in particular that really jumped out at me as being an important piece to the puzzle of any young person’s life:
“Build the brand that is YOU.
“Everyone has a brand — it’s simply who you are and who people
think you are. Sometimes those are the same, sometimes they are
miles apart. But intentionally knowing, crafting, and presenting
who you are is crucial, especially in a competitive job market
where a bachelor’s degree has become the high school diploma.”
So…how do I go about building my brand?
Just finding your brand can be hard, let alone building a brand that really fits you. But discovering your niche is really important to establishing your career and who you are in your chosen field. It’s like your own way of saying to the world, “Here I am, come and get me!” Which leads me to the first question you really face in building your brand….
Who the Freak Am I??
Who are we, really? When we’re young – whether we’re in high school, we’ve just graduated high school, or we’re college-age – seldom do we really know or understand what we’re all about. I’m not talking about interests or hobbies we could jettison into possible career choices…although those certainly matter in choosing a job or a career.
What I’m talking about is who we are as people. It’s not something we’re really taught in school, or really even asked to think about, is it? And yet it’s something we definitely have to consider when building our brand.
*Exercise: Get Out of Your Own Head!
“What’s your brand?
Have no idea? Email a few family and friends right now and ask
them what words come to mind to describe you. That’s your
~ 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, Paul Angone
Before you even start building your brand, what you have to do is let go of who you think you are. We have so many ideas in our heads about who we are, that we aren’t really free to be who we are. Sometimes it can help to add a little outside perspective. How do your friends, family, and peers view you? You might be surprised by what strengths, talents, and unique qualities they see in you that you might not have even thought about. Just be careful you’re asking people whose opinions and thoughts you truly value, and remember to be open to what they say.
*Exercise: Get a Website!
“Creating Your Own Website is the #1 biggest, baddest, and boldest
amplifier of all job searching, platform building, brand-bolstering
Your Own Website is what a resume and power suit were in
You need a website. Preferably a good one. Preferably something
that looks professional or creative, depending on what you’re trying
to accomplish, and is engaging the career field you want to
~ 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, Paul Angone
When you’re just starting out, it can be easy to think you’re all set with just an e-mail or phone number and your Facebook page. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it doesn’t cost a thing. (We may not be poor, but hey let’s face it, when we’re young we don’t exactly have a great big wad of cash to throw around.) But having a website or a blog isn’t even just about appearances or having a professional online presence….
It’s about deserving the best for yourself and your career.
In school, the focus is on completing assignments, rather than getting in touch with who we are and what we’re all about as individuals. In the early stages of our lives, often time isn’t really set aside for ourselves: time to really delve into our passions, develop our talents, and discover our strengths. We have to make that time. We have to choose to want the best for ourselves – and “the best” just so happens to include a website.
So “build the brand that is YOU”, and go out there and go after your dream, rappel into the Grand Canyon. Get that website. And remember to check out Paul Angone’s new book, 101 Secrets For Your Twenties.
Paul Angone also runs the blog, All Groan Up. Be sure to check that out, too!