Branding Yourself

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I read a branding book today. I’ll say it again. I read a branding book today. It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve done in a while. I’ve chewed through thousands and thousands of pages of books but I’ve barely touched anything about branding or marketing. I tried. I couldn’t. The moment I opened the book my anxiety jumped off the chart and brought on a feeling of panic. I’d put the book back on my shelf and retreat to a fiction book.

I need to start dealing with that anxiety issue. I’ve been exercising my body, filling myself up with endorphins to help get me through this time. Now it’s time to focus on my brain and re-entering the work world.

When I started doing these posts, I always envisioned it would be about my new work journey and then the process of rebuilding my brand. I’ve built countless other brands, developed hundreds of marketing campaigns, and created solid advertising strategies over and over again. But the 20 years of building that resume – and more importantly that confidence in what I knew I could do – was shattered by my own poor decision. And now I must rebuild, rebrand and most importantly regain trust.

The book I read is called Branding Yourself, by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. Reading the book had this odd feeling of putting on an old college sweatshirt. That feeling of something that you once loved so much and you try it on and it gives you a little taste of that, and yet feels not quite the same. Side note-I still have that old college sweatshirt that my Dad bought for me when we did our campus tour. I still wear it from time to time…still pretty comfy and cozy, just not quite me anymore but still me…if that makes sense.

One of the sections of the book talks about writing your personal brand story, and breaks out steps of how to do so. One of the steps is called “Prioritize Accomplishments” in your bio and offered up this example:

“He has an in-depth understanding of the application of social and interactive media for both small and large businesses and regularly speaks on topics ranging from social media adoption to marketing trends across all digital channels.”

from Branding Yourself

Sound like anyone you know? At first, I didn’t see it. I read the line and thought, “that’s a pretty good concise and thoughtful description.” I went back and read it again…yeah that’s when it hit me. That’s me…that’s who I was. I was that person, and now who am I? Which then got my mind spinning with more questions: Do I want to be that person again? Am I still that person? Who am I now?

I don’t know the answers to the first two questions yet, but I know the answer to the last. I’m a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend. I know that much and the rest will come.

My Scrabble buddy said to me the other night, “Ryan just find something to do that will make you happy about work again.”
It’s a simple statement and very true, but finding the answer is going to take work. I have to find my faith in myself again. I have to find people who give me a second chance and are willing to believe in me and trust me.

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