Define Your Own Plan…
My last day of high school, graduating seniors spent the morning in the gym watching a newfangled multimedia presentation — it included spoken word, music, photos, and even video. Really high tech and expensive at the time, especially for a public school event. The final message I recall to this day: “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”
My University required me to take an English language communication class. Rather than another literature class like all those through high school, I took rhetoric, which is about using language for influence.
…Or Unexpectedly Find You’re Part Of Somebody Else’s
Key among those messages for me, was the idea that if we don’t develop a clear and motivating view of our world and where we want to be, it’s easy to become subject to the whims and influences of others. The real question comes down to: “What do I want my life to be used for, and am I accountable for that happening, or am I plodding along and living out someone else’s design?”
For a decade after college, the above ideas percolated in my head, and I saw the opportunity to define a personal brand and live in it. Nearly twenty years into the project, it finally feels like I’ve actually broken the surface! For so long it felt like little or no progress…
Hard To Choose
I opened my blogger.com blog account as a start of an ongoing effort to clarify and display my brand, then never wrote a single word. I saw when I resurrected it that I’d actually started it 11 years before I finally posted a single word publicly. 11 years to my first blog post. Wow! It can be hard to choose, then publicly declare, a personal brand — an intention in the world — then to live in a way that authentically expresses it.
The thing that held me back for so long was just plain, undistinguished fear of what negative things others might think or feel or say about what I say or think or feel. To the contrary, Landmark Education taught me some people might actually think or feel or say good things about what I say or think or feel. This revolutionized and really helped me make progress in making public declarations about my interests. After I joined Toastmasters and gave a few speeches, I saw the direct impact my words and thoughts and feelings had on others, and I became hooked on the possibility of reaching others and really making a difference in their lives.
You Can Do It
I’m here to say it’s hard. I’m also here to say it’s the best inquiry I’ve ever undertaken. “Know thyself”, is ancient wisdom, and Shakespeare upped the ante when he wrote, “to thine own self be true”. Take the opportunity. If you don’t yet know or aren’t comfortable, step back and declare the intention to declare an intention.
Like me, it may take you a decade or two to finally get some traction. But as you do you’ll find your world making more and more sense. All your choices will become easier because they’ll naturally flow from your intention, or they’ll be easier to reject because they materially contradict your intention.
Do the hard work first — or eventually — the sooner the better. Things get easier from there.
6 Things You Can Do
- Commit: Spend 10 minutes writing a list of the things most important to you.
- Share: Spend 10 minutes sharing your list with 5 people who care about you.
- Promote: Spend 10 minutes sharing your list with 5 people you care about.
- Act: Every day, take one action explicitly designed to cause or support something you care about.
- Share your experience below. How did it go? What did you learn? Your experience will help others.
- Share related advice, information, and referrals below. I appreciate your contribution!