It’s time to focus on your BRAND

Yes, more exams are on the horizon.  The workload is increasing just as you ask for a break.  There’s always something going on.  And that’s not taking into account any of the fun you plan to have, especially as the weather gets better.  Actually, where is that better weather…?

But don’t feel bad, because your personal image is a crucial element to your success.  That’s why you need to improve your BRAND.

Is your brand lacking in coverage right now? (photo by Matt McVickar)

BRAND is the helpful acronym toward enhancing your mind, your personality, and…well, your brand.

  • Believe in yourself
  • Review
  • Associate
  • Need it
  • Don’t worry

Let’s break it down:

Believe in yourself

Positive thinking, happy thoughts, faith in your actions.  This is the first quality you need to focus on to take everything else on board.  By the time you’re at university, you have to accept that things don’t come to you.  You have to go to what you want.

Armed with the belief that you can achieve all you set your mind on, it becomes a lot easier to conquer those goals.  You’ll just reach a dead end if you tell yourself you can’t do it, or convince yourself that you don’t have what it takes.  If you want to do it, believe in it.

When that doesn’t help, have you considered that maybe you’re participating in something you don’t want?  Or maybe your focus hasn’t developed yet and there’s too much external noise getting in your way.

Negativity breeds inaction.  Positivity breeds success.  So think big and think happy.

Review

You must review to avoid the dreaded ‘comfort zone‘ and you have to keep reviewing so you don’t pass by any exciting opportunities.

When revising, it’s wise to review your notes and previous work.  But it doesn’t stop there.  For everything you do, it’s beneficial to review your actions and the circumstances surrounding you.

The comfort zone creeps up as you allow habits to form and complacency to grow.  It’s difficult to spot because you don’t feel uneasy or bogged down.  The comfort zone is more like a false sense of security.  You feel absolutely fine, but you’re not getting anywhere fast.

So however much you believe in yourself, the next step is to check what is going on around you.  Take stock of your life just as you do with your revision.

Associate

I’m ready to harp on again about ‘seeing the bigger picture‘, but that’s only because there are an amazing number of links that boost our brand without requiring much work.  We often miss out on what’s available because we don’t associate.  By association, I mean to take one thing and connect it with another, seemingly unrelated, thing.

Even related items are far better used through association.

That’s why brainstorming is good.  That’s why mindmaps are effective.  That’s why memory techniques are often based on creating links.

We have increased choice, access to a wealth of information, and a desire to specialise on the subjects that interest us.  But in that goodness does come a sadness.  If we close in on too much specialist information, we risk missing what else is going on around us.

So I have a list of favourite outlets and my main bulk of reading is directed around academia, learning and personal development, but I still take an interest elsewhere.  I plough through thousands of articles from newspapers, magazines, blogs, newswires, press releases, websites, forums, and so on, every day.  I try not to spend too long doing this, but I’m on the lookout for inspiration from a number of subjects and sources.

In doing this, I hope to see many points of view; not just my own.  And it all helps in understanding the bigger picture.

Need it

Without a set goal, all the positivity and association in the world would come to nothing.  There needs to be a purpose and it’s up to you to feel a strong need for that.  Our lives require a sense of want and desire.  If we didn’t feel the need for anything, we would just curl up and call it a day.

Need for a result can drive you forward.  It’s not even good enough to be passionate about something, because passion needs a purpose.  After all, we have passions surrounding certain hobbies or TV shows, but that doesn’t mean we can improve our brand and our future prospects from it.

I suggest you read more about passion and purpose from this article in Management-Issues (which may well be a site about management in the workplace but, through association, comes in handy on this academia website.  Do I get a housepoint?).

Visualise the reasons behind what you are doing.  When you can see what makes your actions important in the longer term, it’s a lot easier to see the need to crack on.  In doing so, your brand will shine.

Don’t worry

Panic turns your brain to jelly.  Terror either makes you freeze, or makes you run away.  Fear clouds the mind.  Apprehension just fogs up the well-trodden path.

It’s easy to get into a state over problems, both big and small.  Unfortunately, the only person this makes a difference to is…you guessed it; yourself.

So the final aspect of your brand to concentrate on is in eliminating unnecessary concern.

Only the thickest skinned, most psychopathic of people can do whatever they want without a hint of worry.  Chances are that you’re not like that.  But that doesn’t mean you should obsess over every move you make.  It’s fine to review your position, but dangerous to panic.  Fret over everything and it will only result in you doing nothing.  Obviously, you’re interested in developing, not recessing!

The best advice?  Get over it and kiss the girl!

The occasional risk is okay, as is daring to jump in at the deep end sometimes.  Even failure isn’t bad, unless you stubbornly deny change and fail in the same way again and again.  The point is, we all learn from birth to death.  But some of us are happier to embrace learning than others.

Confidence impacts upon your whole life.  With enough of it, your brand goes from strength to strength.  Plus, it enhances all the other aspects of it: you will believe in yourself without faltering; you will review and reflect as a matter of course; you will find enjoyment and inspiration in associating with the bigger picture; your future will be directed by positively identifying needs and passionately working toward success.

Where do you see your brand in 3 years time?  How about 5?  How about 10?  What do you plan to do about your future today?

Branding (photo by Eric, a.k.a. Herve)