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The FUSE Woman-- "Where Form & Spirit Become One"
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Susan Chritton - author of Personal Branding for Dummies
Susan Chritton, M.Ed., PCC, NCCC, is an Executive Career Coach and Master Personal Brand Strategist. Susan guides professionals looking to engage their authentic self in the world through personal branding.
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“The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.” ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Age impacts everything we do. When we were younger, we longed for the day that we were old enough to drive or meet our friends at a club. As we age, we start to notice that age is perceived differently by those around us. Many cultures value the wisdom of age and others place a judgment that advancing age means losing value.
The Shining Years
Today's topic, ladies and gentlemen, is the concept of aging. I heard former president Bill Clinton recently comment that for many of us, there are more yesterdays then there are tomorrows. When we consider that many of these yesterdays are lost forever in the inevitable murky assembly line of memory, we should cherish the positive memories, and toss the bad ones in the life saga dumpster.
Memory isn't the only challenge of aging. A renowned writer and philosopher, Michele Day Montaigne (1533-1592) stated, “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them. A man may live long, yet get little from life. Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will."
Much of our longevity and our interaction with life is closely connected to the will, in each of us, to find something that stirs our blood, makes us laugh and howl, and urges us to ponder who we are and why we are here. As we age, and become more sedentary, we need to exercise our will to experience what life has to offer.
In our young adulthood and middle age, we are usually so involved in the responsibilities of job, family, children, and social networking, that we rarely consider the levels of adaptability required to reach old age. Hopefully, we learn to accept our frailties and the frailties of others. Hopefully, we have learned there are no "big deals," and that getting loud or obnoxious rarely ever works. Hopefully, we appreciate the people and environment around us, and our ability to participate in the big carnival.
I would like to share a paragraph from John Steinbeck's "East Of Eden." "Every man has a retirement picture in which he does those things he never had time to do -- make the journeys, read the neglected books. For many years the sheriff dreamed of spending the 'shining time' hunting and fishing, camping by half remembered streams. And now that it was almost time he knew he didn't want to do it. Sleeping on the ground would make his leg ache."
We must be patient with ourselves. Our dreams and memories sometimes play tricks.
If you want to keep your personal brand relevant and progressing, you need to continue to set current goals and work toward accomplishing them. The world is moving too fast to hang your reputation on a singular effort from the past. People with strong personal brands are always improving and making sure that they are significant to those they care about. When you know that you have something of value to offer, your self-esteem soars.
Your personal brand shows your authenticity from the inside out. Your brand done well highlights your strengths and gives you a direction in which to use those strengths – no matter what your age.
If my personal brand were that of the ingénue, then I could not sustain that as I aged. The key to an authentic personal brand is one of evolution. Transforming your brand to fit who you are at each life stage is the key to full acceptance.
Your personal brand is your legacy and your reputation. You must show your real self — not a fake version — to the world. Living authentically means changing your brand as you age. This makes you memorable to others; they recall your actions, your expertise, and the emotional connections that you make. Your experiences aren’t static and nor should your brand be.
Performing the personal branding process once and never looking back or reevaluating it are big mistakes. People with strong personal brands continue to evolve themselves by incorporating their new knowledge, their current stage of life, the changing cultural trends, and then adjusting their message for the people in their sphere of influence.
But here’s the trick: look at any one of those stories that you call upon when you reminisce. Live it for a moment. And then consider this: you are reminiscing on a moment that was meaningful to you, and one reason it is still vividly with you is that you were THERE IN THE MOMENT, right when it was all happening. You weren’t out somewhere wishing you were somewhere else or pondering the past. You were reveling in the moment you were in.
We actually have a unique gift at any given moment: we have the opportunity to be fully present and aware of what is happening at the exact moment it’s happening, or we can look fondly backward, or gaze dreamily forward. Every moment is a chance to create, to LIVE, the story we want for ourselves.
All stories start with a framework, an underlying belief or supposition that allows the rest of the story to unfold. What if, just for a moment, we changed our story to start with: The best time in my life is RIGHT NOW. What is possible from here?
We are surrounded by stories. We tell stories, we listen to stories, we watch stories unfold in movies and on stage – and sometimes we carry around stories we don’t even realize we have.
And since the beginning, we’ve always had a story about our age. No matter what age we are. When we’re young bucks, our story is simple: Everything is AWESOME when you’re older!
When I’m older, I’ll get to drive and hang out with my friends whenever I want! And no one will tell me when I have to go to bed!
As we get a little older, the story changes (only slightly), but still with expectations scented with freedom. Our story is: When I’m an adult, I get to make all the rules! And I never have to deal with anyone I don’t want to. I can just work / play / go somewhere else.
And then something interesting happens. We get out into the world, and it’s not like we pictured. The egos, the attitudes, the issues follow us. We find ourselves yearning for any place besides the one we’re standing in. We either want to fast forward to a time that will be easier because we’ll be past this turmoil, or we want to rewind to the simple times when we were young and someone else was responsible for us.
As we get older, our story shifts in the other direction. We look back with longing, fearing our best times, our favorite stories, are all behind us. Our new story is: The best is behind me.
The Age-Old Story About Age
by Alene Gabriel
Blue Sky Coaching LLC
EMPOWERING OTHERS TO CREATE THE LIVES THEY WANT TO LEAD