Monday, April 25, 2011

Brand You

Your name is a brand name.  It represents the kind of experience you offer. Whether you intend to or not, you have a brand. In the same way that the products and services you avail of have brands, so do you. Some brands are more well known than others. Some are preferred more than others because they are known for delivering on their promise.

When you avail of products or services you consider value for money depending on your need. Do you want high quality, low price,  prestige, overall experience? You look at product/service reputation to guide you in choosing.  When you experience a product or service, you form an opinion on whether or not it is worth your time and money. In this day and age of easy access to massive communication media, you can shout out to the world about your experience with a certain brand. Others pick up the information and use it as reference for making their own choices.

Now, think about potential employers or clients. They have the same privilage of choice as you have.  Now that information is so easy to access, they have the best opportunity of knowing about your brand more than people have in the past. They can check out available information  about you on the web or talk to people you know with or without you knowing. And in the principle of "better to err on the side being too careful", their decision to avail of your product or service will be affected by what other people say about their own experience with your brand. The phrase "your reputation precedes you" has never been more true than now. It is for this reason that you need to take care of your own brand.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On Stepping Up

Who will tell you that you are ready to take your career to the next level? It won't be your boss, your peer, your customers or anyone else except you. If they say it and you agree, they would just be stating the obvious. If they say you can do better or more and you disagree, they are wrong  only for as long as you say they are.

I remember when I was just at the beginning of my career. I was a training assistant then at 7-Eleven here in the Philippines. I used to conduct company orientation and new employee training. I also assisted Training consultants who facilitate the more interesting training. After I assisted our consultant who conducted our basic supervisory course, I went to my manager and said, I can run that workshop better because I know the business better. I remember my boss' hesitation. I said to her that I will design the program and the slides and I will show her that I can run that workshop. I never looked back since then.

If you look beyond my bragging, you will realize that what I did was not unique at all. Everything that you did in advancing your career came with a personal decision to step up no matter whether you did it on your own or if you acted on the encouragement of others. The more important element of stepping up is the decision you make.

I met a lot of people who  invest in a lot of training and schooling and still end up not doing what they dream of doing because they feel they are not yet ready. On the other hand some people just say, yes I can do it and then go ahead and do it. They make mistakes but they never let mistakes stop them from what they really want to do, they learn and then they try again.

If you are waiting for the time when you are absolutely ready to move up, that time may never come because we can never be completely ready. Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith and accept the risk that go with it.


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