With the influx of professional development programs to capitalize on one’s personal brand and develop one’s unique value proposition, I find it’s very difficult for many people to dig deep inside and find their true calling, their true personality, their true essence if you will. And it doesn’t have to be in a spiritual sense that we address this question but from a purposeful gaze at what we’re trying to achieve and what has pushed us this far. One’s personal brand encompasses all that you view as important and authentic about you: your goals, your strengths, your drivers.
Sometimes when it’s difficult to determine the future, the answers may be hidden in the past. By reflecting on what we were or where we came from, we may gain clues to what we are trying to become. Let’s roll with this approach, as we may find that knowing our past experiences will lead us to the path we’re meant to be on. And knowledge is power if we can apply it.
As a child the subject of history seemed so boring to me because it was presented as a bunch of stories told by old men who thought they were the best and treated everybody else like dirt. At least that was my big pants impression. Little did I know it was the writers fault, the academic’s fault, not history’s fault that the information was relayed in such a mundane manner that I was expected to regurgitate facts like dates and names instead of lessons learned by their immense experiences.
As an educator, I came to realize the academic system forced us to memorize and regurgitate facts that they thought important from their cultural perspective, without actually relaying the value of history or ‘herstory’ for that matter, which happens to be a very interesting socio-cultural debate. If you’re paying attention, you soon realize it’s all about perspective, and the only way to understand mankind, is to understand the variety of people that are possible which is determined by their environment, social training and education.
As much as I resisted studying it in my later years, I find myself enthralled by history now, but the kind of history that is reflective on human behavior and advancement, not names of kings and dates of battles. The time frame that is most appealing at the moment is the Matriarchal phase of Egyptian history back around 3000 BC when the arts were promoted, spirituality was revered and the balance of roles between male and female counterparts was seen in their bonds, the beauty of its culture.
So if you had to choose a period, a time you feel connected to when would it be? Where would it be? Could you be interested in exploring it today and finding out what lessons they learned then that might give you a glimpse into who you are now? If you could take a journey back in time, where would you go? Well unfortunately I’m much better in the fields of art than science so the journey we will take will clearly be in present time as I’m no Marty McFly. But exploring the now civilizations that have been built on the people of yesteryear undoubtedly uncover the greatest cultures as they found ways to leave indelible impressions upon their environment as can be seen through our continuous excavations and discoveries today.
Three easy ways to get started exploring your personal brand through a historical lens may be:
- Go somewhere you’ve always been pulled to, but never really understood why. Somewhere perhaps a little scary or unknown, as the greatest lessons often come from things you resist and letting go of them can be freeing.
- Research a time that you know nothing about and consider who you might have been in that era, what type of citizen or person could you have occupied if you lived at that time. Then depict a scene in a day in the life of that character.
- Compare your own beliefs to that of a culture you’re not familiar with. What is different? What is similar? Roles within the family, work/life balance, measuring sticks of success, how do you relate to your counterparts?
I want you to start talking about those things that it takes to discover self. In a world as complex as our own, with every shade of grey imaginable between personality types, cultural differences and socialization, how do we determine who we are so that we can use it to our advantage when talking about our personal brand?
The keys to unlocking your own potential, your own ideal brand lay in such comparative analysis. Take the plunge in worlds unknown, and examine what they might teach you about yourself so that you too can excavate a little more authenticity from within.