Ask anyone who went to school with me, and they’ll tell you I’ve always been a type-A overachiever. So imagine my dismay when I failed my very first test at school – a routine vision screening prior to the start of kindergarten.
When the nurse asked me to look into a machine and tell her what I saw, I was totally silent, a definitive clue that something wasn’t right since I’m pretty much always talking. It turns out I had a “lazy eye” — capable of sight but neglected by the brain in favor of the other, stronger eye — that stood in the way of me being a star pupil that day. (Get it?!… Pupil?!)
The fix was simple enough: place a patch over my working eye, and my brain would force the lazy one to do its job. So for a year, that’s exactly what I did. Eventually the patch did the trick, and my daily pirate cosplay gave way to a pair of glasses so thick the lenses could safely be used as the barrier between an aquarium’s killer shark and its human visitors.
Later, heroes disguised as scientists figured out how to make contact lenses thin enough they wouldn’t look like two shot glasses sticking out of my eyes, so my glasses gave way to contacts.
And all was well with my eyesight for many years… until middle age starting knocking, that is. Or maybe I should blame it on the 8+ hours I spend most days staring at a screen since that makes me sound younger. But I digress… Suddenly, I couldn’t read anything by mid-afternoon even with my trusty contacts.
First, I got a bigger phone and set the font size to approximately 2,000. (The text is so big that a man once thanked me for allowing him to read my e-book along with me on a flight. He was seated at least 10 rows behind me.) Then I turned a big screen TV into my computer monitor.
Yet the afternoon blurriness prevailed until the fateful day I tried on a pair of reading glasses while hanging around my sister’s pharmacy. Suddenly I could see clearly (albeit with contacts and readers)!
Just like eyesight, our view of life can sometimes be unclear… especially if we’re looking at it through a filter of self-doubt. (Not sure if self-doubt is affecting you? See Signs of Self-Doubt>>)
Luckily there is a proverbial pair of glasses you can slip on to help you view your actions and choices more clearly — your Life Brand Promise. Inspired by the brand promise marketers use in business, your Life Brand Promise is the first step in developing your Life Brand.
A business’s brand promise is a commitment it makes to its customers. When a customer’s experience matches the promise, the brand is considered strong.
Your Life Brand Promise is a commitment you are making to yourself. A combination of your purpose, values and vision for your future, it is a pledge to live by.
With so many priorities competing for your attention every day, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals — especially if self-doubt has you second-guessing whether they’re worth going for in the first place. You can keep your eye on the prize by looking at your daily decisions through the lens of your Life Brand Promise then aligning your actions and habits to it. When considering making changes or choosing how you will spend your time, money or energy, ask yourself, “Does this choice fit in with the commitment I’ve made to myself?” If so, take it on (even if it’s scary). If not, get it out of your sight. No more looking at life through a self-doubt filter or living in a blur of time, energy and financial obligations that are unrelated to your dreams!
YOUR LIFE BRAND PROMISE
Answer the following questions to create your own Life Brand Promise:
1. What is your vision for your future?
Consider what your life would be like if you weren’t afraid to go for your goals. If you need a little help, start by imagining your life five years from now and writing down a description of your perfect day.
2. What is your purpose?
Keep in mind that no purpose is too great or too small. You may want to make a difference on the world stage, but you might feel called to make an impact closer to home, like in your family, community, industry or church. You do you!
3. What are your core values?
If you’re not sure, list 1-3 words that describe how you feel when you are most fulfilled. These are likely the emotions or feelings that you value most. (Mine includes joy!)
4. With your above answers in mind, complete the following promise statement in 1-2 sentence: I will…
Make sure your promise is aspirational enough to drive you past your self-doubt and toward your goals but realistic enough that you can actually live by it.
dare to be different and make an awesome living by living outside of the box. I will live a life of joy and worth, finding confidence in my strengths AND my quirks and helping others do the same.
As you can see, it doesn’t need to be catchy; your promise is for you and you alone. It just needs to be meaningful to you. (I’ll share more about what makes mine meaningful in a future post.)
How to Use Your Life Brand Promise
An easy way to keep your Life Brand Promise at the top of your mind is to rewrite it as an affirmation, changing it from future tense to present like so:
I dare to be different and make an awesome living by living outside of the box. I live a life of joy and worth, have confidence in my strengths and my quirks and help others do the same.
Post it somewhere you’ll see it every day and say it out loud in the morning to remind you of your commitment to yourself. I have mine at my desk so I can make sure I stay true to my Life Brand Promise and confident in my vision for my life as I make decisions throughout the day.
First Comes Clarity, Then Comes…
A brand is a promise kept, so your brand promise is just the first step in creating a life and career you love. While a commitment statement alone won’t get you to your goals, knowing what you want to accomplish and why is a strong foundation to build your Life Brand on. Be on the lookout for the next two steps, which are designed to help you keep your promise to yourself and realize your dreams.
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