Developing a Life Purpose Statement and Creating A Personal Brand
by Ernest Sears, Jr.
So often we find ourselves at a loss when we contemplate our lives and the contribution we may have made on the world. At least a couple of times in my life I have asked myself whether I have made a difference, whether I have leveraged my skills and life experience to the fullest for my own benefit, as well as the benefit of others. This led me to the following activities which helped me clarify my life purpose and personal brand.
Learning from Hardships. I listed my greatest hardships and how I overcame them. Afterwards, I thought about each hardship in terms of the lessons I learned, including how I have applied each lesson in my life. This led me to think about any lessons learned I have yet to apply, ensuring that I am optimizing opportunities for improvement.
Identifying Passions. My next step was to consider those activities, interests, and pastimes I love: the things for which I have a passion. I listed 10 to 15 of these and then contemplated why I did not spend more of my time engaged in these activities that bring so much joy and positive feeling. At that moment, I decided to make a conscious effort to integrate these activities into my life on a weekly basis. Doing so would ensure that I would experience a continuous sense of self-actualization and fulfillment.
Defining a Personal Brand. A couple years after completing my life purpose statement, I began to think about what competencies, skills, behaviors, and experience I consistently displayed and leveraged in my day-to-day work. Eventually, this self-inquiry led me to the realization that my distinctive skill set, demeanor, reputation, communication style, and unique vantage point are essential elements of my personal brand.
Creating and sustaining a personal brand require constant attention. It is of paramount importance that you not only know your strengths, but continue to hone and cultivate them so they are always sharp and current. In addition, the reputation and perceptions associated with your demeanor, style, communication, and work outcomes must be consistent with your brand. Once you have developed your personal brand, you must translate it clearly and succinctly for optimal effect.
For example, if you are known as someone who is an effective communicator across all levels of an organization, it is essential that you keep your finger on the pulse of front-line, management, and executive leadership sensibilities. The ability to speak to each of these constituents with authenticity and clarity cannot be undervalued.
Further, it is important to distill your distinctive brand into a sentence that clearly encapsulates what you want to be known for. For example, my sentence is, “Ernest will ignite your pilot light so you can pass the torch.”
Analyzing Limitations. It will be important to spend some time analyzing the areas in your personal and professional life that are consistently unfruitful; that is, you must consider what you are doing repeatedly that negatively impacts your life or otherwise renders counterproductive outcomes. This type of self-analysis is required on some periodic basis in order to mitigate the risk of limiting your life purpose or damaging your personal brand.
Take time to protect the work you have put into harnessing your best attributes, honing expertise, keeping up with current technologies, and presenting your “A” game. Your very essence is valuable to those who love you, as well as potentially to a world that can benefit from your unique fingerprint of wisdom and insight.
During a management career spanning 22 years, Ernest Sears, Jr. worked in C-level roles, garnering numerous awards for coaching expertise and creating winning culture. With a BA in Linguistics from Yale and an MBA from W.P. Carey School of Business, he focused primarily on building cohesive, self-sufficient, high-performing teams in corporate environments. Reaching his own turning point and crisis of meaning triggered the writing of his first book, DETOX YOUR CIRCLE. Ernest is the father of two adult daughters and for the past 25 years has been the life partner of Kiana Maria Storey-Sears. Learn more: DetoxYourCircle.com.