Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. – Theodore Roosevelt
A few weeks ago, I’ve had to come up with a decision.
You see, my move to live in a new country was like a spiritual journey of sorts. I’ve always been interested in spirituality, but the ramifications of moving to a new country caused me to dive deeper into questioning my higher purpose. Being out of my element and not having the distractions from back home, helped to heighten my journey.
Now, five years later, I came back full circle to a point where I now needed to be clear about my purpose here once again. So I made a clarity prayer. I asked God, if I should stay, then show me the reason why, and if I should go, then show me where, and either way, make it very, very clear to me.
And He did.
I could feel on a cellular level, that something has changed – paradigm has shifted – and after I got this clarity, I begin to notice synchronicity and effortlessness happening around me.
Following that energy shift, though, I also began to notice how the energies that I have been interacting with are now playing out.
When your energy shifts, either the energies around you shifts with you, or they fall away, to be replaced by energies that are resonating at the same frequency your energy is now resonating at.
This led me to reflect and take action on the relationships I have with people and things in my life that needed healing or attention.
Today, I’m sharing with you my personal story because it made me realise that to become someone who strives to make a difference in the world, there is one important quality we must all possess: Leadership
There are many things you can do to make you a good leader, and a simple Google or Amazon search will give you numerous posts and books already written on the subject.
As I contemplate on what it is that I really want to bring across to you, I realised that my intention was not to say what has already been said about what makes you a good leader.
My intention is to bring you the essence of the characteristics that make you a great one.
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. – John Lennon
One of my colleagues asked in our group forum about a challenge she has.
Just how do you deliver your message to the world without sounding like a broken record?
You may already be familiar with this scenario. You discovered your voice, your message to bring to the world. So you start writing on your blog or record some videos.
And then, you get stuck.
Because this thing that you are trying to write about now, you’ve already written about. Or this speech that you are preparing for, you have already spoken it and is now up on YouTube.
See, thing is, strong brands DO sound like a broken record. I’ll give you an example.
If you’ve watched enough of BrenĂ© Brown’s talks, you’ll notice that she says her key phrases over and over again in her talks. Despite that, her followers still lap up her talks when they got on YouTube, as evidenced by the millions of views they receive. (If you went “BrenĂ© who?” really, go look up her talks on YouTube.)
Now, there are of course techniques that you can learn to say the same thing in different ways, or to look at the same topic from a different angle, etc.
Today, however, what I want to bring to you is the being behind your messaging.
Our intention creates our reality. – Wayne Dyer
One of the things I love to do is learn.
I love joining into programs by other successful purpose-based Wonder Women. I want to know what it is they do that got them to where I want to go and kick ass at it.
These successful business women may teach an array of different things with regards to what they know about business. But there is one fundamental thing they all have in common.
Each and every one of them starts you off with this one question:
Perhaps it’s the people whose lives have taken sudden new twists – people who have learned to embrace the creative possibilities of change – who stand the best chance of penetrating life’s mysteries. – Hugh Mackay
For the past three months, these have been my Google searches:
Scents to calm a cat.
How to wean a kitten?
How to teach a cat to use her litter box?
How to get rid of the smell of a catâ€™s pee?
Introducing a new cat into the household.
How to tell if my cats are playing or fighting?
My big cat is biting the neck of my smaller cat. Will she kill her?!
Some of these searches were made out of quiet curiosity. Other times though, they were made out of utter desperation.
And almost always, they were made late in the night, on my iPad and under my duvet, right before I drift to sleep.
See, I adopted a kitten in the late of June, and another one two months later. Having been the sole queen of my household, sharing my space with other living creatures, with their own whims and wants, was a bit of an adjustment.
And so, for the past three months, these were the things that had kept me awake at night.
The authentic self is the soul made visible. – Sarah Ban Breathnach
I just got off the phone with one of my clients, Jeanne, a pet and animal photographer.
Jeanne has just adopted a dog from the animal shelter where she volunteers. With already two pets under the roof, this can be financially frightening. But, in her own words, she knew with utter certainty that he is meant to be part of the family.
That decision may have been purely an emotional one â€“ with two kittens of my own, this I know very well. But as her branding coach, this is what I said instead, â€ťJeanne, from a branding point of view, that was a brilliant move. You are on brand.â€ť
As a solo entrepreneur, you are your business. You are a leader. You lead your tribe, your mini empire, your right people. And great leaders lead by example.
You must be aware of every element of your professional and personal life, from the clothing that you wear to your professional (and sometimes personal) connections, and how they influence the way your right people perceive you. This can be the breaking point as to whether they want to know more about the product or service you are offering.
You need to make sure that every visible aspect of your business and your life represents who you really are and what you are capable of doing. When you do this, your right people become clear about what you stand for and the value that you bring to them.
In branding speak, we call this your brand ecosystem.
The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.Â – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
A good friend of mine and fellow entrepreneur, Maria, and I have a ritual. Once a month, we meet over coffee to brainstorm ideas on the things we can and need to do to grow our business.
In one of our conversations we brought up the realities of starting up businesses as an expat.
Sheâ€™s from Colombia, and I am from Singapore. We are both aliens in this country we now call home, the Czech Republic. We do not look remotely European, nor do we sound like the locals, so trying to blend in is out of the question for us.
And yet, by standing in our power and owning our differences, both of us have started successful businesses in a place where most would think it difficult.
What makes us different makes us unique, and hence desirable to the people we best serve.
Steve Jobs, Lady Gaga and Kate Middleton, all different people from different walks of life has this one thing in common. They embody their differences.
And this, for entrepreneurs like you and me, is a great thing. In an ocean full of coaches, designers, therapists, lawyers, photographers, and what-have-youâ€™s, crafting a business brand that is authentic to our self gives us an edge that we will not have by blending in.