I’ve recently enrolled in an online course through University of Virginia about personal branding. I thought it was going to give me methodical insight into developing a brand, as I have my hand in a couple of “brand” cookie jars at the moment, but I was surprised to learn this class is not as much about the technical skills recommended to build a brand and more about developing yourself, your personal mission and goals, before building a brand. Your brand will stand stronger if you’ve fleshed out, identified, and live the mission of your brand on a daily basis… so I got thinking, what’s my personal brand?
I’m a storyteller (that part’s easy), but why am I a storyteller? What is the ideal response to one of my stories? It took me a while to identify the reason for my storytelling nature, but in the end, I believe I love telling stories because I want my listeners to learn something from the story I’m telling. At the bottom of every story there’s a moral. Story about a crazy night drinking? There’s a moral there. Story about the time I ran through a class door? There’s a moral there, too. I tell stories to impart knowledge, but more importantly, I tell stories to inspire people. “Here’s a crazy story about something I did, and you can do something crazy like this, too!”
I’m an artist. I’ve gone on at length about my art. My drawings, my paintings, my writings, my photography, my podcasts. They’re all art, no matter how you break them down. But beyond that, I’ve tried to embrace the philosophy of making “art” out of every moment in my life. Making an egg. Sealing an envelope. Writing a blog post. If you treat everything you have to do, from sweeping to spreadsheets, as an opportunity to create art, those tasks take on new depth and new meaning. If everything you touch becomes art, wouldn’t that be an amazing life?
Make art. Check.
I collect unique experiences. One of my favorite quotations is, “There is no preference for the average.” Nobody wants to be average, especially me, so I’ve spent my life following my interests into some of the most enriching (and unique) experiences in my life. Law school in Santa Rosa. Blackwater rafting in New Zealand. Saving bees in Portland. If life presents me with an interesting, life changing opportunity, I feel it is my personal (and moral) responsibility to enrich myself by saying “yes.” Go! Experience! Don’t put it off until later! Embrace the chance and grow!
Unique Experiences. Check.
I seek emotional fulfillment. This one is by far the hardest to accomplish on a daily basis, but it may the most important one on the list. We’re only here for one life (contrary to what you may believe), so I want to make sure that I am happy. Surrounding myself with positive people. Diving into projects that I’m passionate about. Supporting my friends and family in their endeavors. The fulfillment I gain from these interactions are true, emotional happiness. This is what is living, and loving, is all about.
Emotional fulfillment. Check.
So how do these four major parts of my life converge into my personal brand’s mission statement? This is a work-in-progress (and it’s recommended that you update your personal brand’s mission statement yearly) but so far, this is what I’ve come up with: To create and inspire art through living an eclectic life of unique experiences and emotional fulfillment.
What’s your personal brand mission statement?