While it is important for all of us to consider our professional brand – including how we develop, communicate it and market what we do in business – it is as important (if not more so) to underscore our personal brand. That includes defining and consistently exhibiting who we are and what we stand for. Where does this come from? Where does it not? And while each of our personal brands is constantly evolving (and hopefully improving) based on continuing life experiences, best practices and the people in our lives, there must be at the core a foundation set.
I was fortunate, before colleagues and mentors helped shape my business acumen, to have parents that formed who I was as a person. Last week, I lost my mom quite suddenly; a person that taught my brother and I so much. She knew adversity in life from an early age, losing a brother and a mother by the time she turned 16 and a first husband in her 20s. She learned from that trauma but did not dwell on it. It formed who she was – a cautious yet thoughtful, sensitive and positive individual who appreciated life. She was forever supportive and motivating. She instilled character, humility and ambition.
When I speak to students or business groups about my professional career, I often bring up ‘the golden rule.’ My mom urged me to think beyond myself and treat others as I wanted to be treated no matter who they were. When we would encounter someone less fortunate, she would often say to me: “If there but for the grace of God go us.” And whether you or religious or not, she was right. There is always much to be thankful for – something we often forget in dealing with trials and tribulations of the every day. Did we always agree? No. Was she usually right? What do you think?
As we consider and incorporate what we learn from such influential people our legacies, in turn, are shaped and hopefully put forth through life principles to our children, colleagues and those we mentor. It is also how we honor the memories of those who helped make us who we are. My mom would tell you she led a good life. If you are so inclined, you can read more about it here.