I recently had a profound conversation with a friend who had been promoted to a coveted role, overseeing operations across multiple countries in the Middle East and Africa. It was a position that many of us would envy if given the opportunity. However, there was one significant drawback to this role – he would need to consider relocating his family to another country in order to effectively carry out his responsibilities.
As with any major decision that affects a family, this required a comprehensive discussion among all the stakeholders – the majority shareholders (the parents) and the minority shareholders (the children). And the one major point of contention for this family was not about the school the children would attend, or the town they would live in once they got to the new location, rather, it was around the spouse having to leave her career behind. What would she do once they moved to this new land? His wife, an ambitious and accomplished professional, felt that such a move would disrupt her own career trajectory. And I wholeheartedly supported her perspective. “Hell Yah!”, I enthusiastically said, “Why would you expect her to uproot her life for you, while your moves on?” I asked.
Nevertheless, I was curious about how he would react if the roles were reversed. Surprisingly, he immediately articulated that such a move would provide him with the opportunity to pursue other life goals he had always aspired to but never had the chance to pursue. According to him, if life led him to becoming a househusband, he would gladly embrace it while rejuvenating his other ambitions. Interesting, right?
This encounter prompted me to contemplate on what truly defines us in life. Is it our jobs, our families, or our friendships? For a lot of us, our jobs take the trophy. But the question we must each ask ourselves is this… if that which we strongly identify with were suddenly taken away, would we still be able to stand? How would we navigate our way out of the situation? Would we be able to limp through the issue or would we crumble and fall under the weight its pressure?
Translating this introspection into the realm of Personal Branding, I realized that many of us allow ourselves to be solely defined by a single aspect of our careers -and that’s our employers. What we fail to recognize however, is that our careers are multifaceted and should be nurtured from various angles, enabling us to adapt and thrive even when faced with life-altering circumstances. Focusing on only one dimension of our careers leaves us vulnerable and dependent on a single point of support.
So, what then do we need to do to give our Personal Brand and career more structure?
- Join industry associations: Engage with professional organizations that align with your field of expertise. By actively participating and contributing, you can broaden your network and stay updated on industry trends. Further, having a network of peers is bound to open doors when a situations calls for their support.
- Volunteer and share experiences: Seek opportunities to volunteer in spaces where you can leverage your skills and knowledge to make a difference. This not only adds value to your personal brand but also allows you to connect with others who can benefit from your expertise. Did you know that one of the best ways of selling your expertise is by educating your customers?
- Cultivate relationships: Nurture connections with individuals who understand your unique value and can advocate for you even when you’re not present. These relationships serve as a support system and can open doors to new opportunities.
- Be visible: Actively cultivate your visibility within your professional sphere. This involves strategically positioning yourself as an expert in your field through various means such as public speaking engagements, contributing to industry publications, or hosting workshops and webinars. By consistently showcasing your knowledge and expertise, you can enhance your personal brand’s reputation and attract opportunities that align with your career goals.
A strong Personal Brand goes beyond your immediate role or employer. It encompasses the perception others have of you, the value you bring, and the unique qualities that set you apart. By nurturing multiple dimensions of your career, you can establish a solid foundation for your Personal Brand, enabling it to support you through any career or life transitions.
To all the men out there, would you pack up your bags, and follow your wife into the land of the unknown?
And to all the miss independent spouses out there, are we being so unreasonable to our spouses when we refuse to change careers for his sake, or our decisions driven by the fact that we are operating on one dimension of our careers?
Give your careers a multi-dimensional structure and #Standout4Growth.