Redefining Your Brand

Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball when you’re expecting a fastball down the middle and you may swing and miss.  You may start down one path, but end up taking an unexpected turn or twist as you lead this journey called life.

When it comes to your career, there might be many twists and turns. For example, while you may start out in a particular job fresh out of college, there may be unexpected obstacles you have to overcome throughout your career, whether it’s a career change due to a job loss, merger, acquisition or other factors which may have resulted in you addressing your overall career path.

As a result, your personal and career journey may hit a roadblock.

And you have to navigate around this obstacle.  How?

I’ve met quite a few of people assessing their careers and wanting to determine next steps, including a heightened interest in starting a business.  However, they’re not sure how or where to start?

This may challenge you to rethink your career and focus on redefining yourself or your brand. This is also known as “Career Reinvention”.

What is it?

It’s simply redefining who you are based on where you are today, your short and longer-term goals and the path you deem appropriate as you pursue longer-term personal and career aspirations. For example, after receiving my high school degree, I achieved a level of education at both the undergraduate and graduate school levels and subsequently, followed the traditional career path which landed me in eight (8) different cities across the country, while advancing to levels and titles I thought I would never achieved.  I was also fortunate enough to meet and mentor great people while achieving a certain level of success and status.

However, as my career accelerated, I realized I thrived in an entrepreneurial environment and I decided to move into the small business space and ultimately, back to Detroit.

Based on a career transition, longer-term aspirations, networking with people and understanding my passion, I redefined myself based on my vision and longer-term goals .  As a result, my career path has taken me to a level where I thought I would never go for–particularly in the fields of entrepreneurship, becoming an educator and sharing knowledge to others through various media channels.

Even as I continued my personal journey, I found my passion was helping people and watching them develop, grow and succeed.  Same with small business businesses across Detroit and beyond.  To this end, I now have my own consulting practice, am an Adjunct Professor, have a weekly radio show/podcast focused on entrepreneurship and fortunate to guest blog for this publication’s online presence.  If you asked me several years ago it this was part of my plan, I would have given a resounding no.

However, things changed and through my journey, I’ve made appropriate adjustments.

So, where do you start?

Develop a self assessment which will provide clarity regarding your personal, professional goals and longer-term aspirations.  

“The most important step in preparing for your next career success is to first clarify what you want to do” says Priscilla Archangel, President, Archangel & Associates, “Accepting a new position simply to meet a financial need, while very important, may result in a poor fit between your strengths, interests and values; and the new company’s culture and needs of the position.”

She continues, “identify your strengths and competencies, then describe your ideal next role and responsibilities.  Some people consider entrepreneurship as a panacea for not having to report to anyone else. But it simply brings a different set of challenges.

Understanding your personal and professional goals are important, but starting with a vision and a plan are essential.  

Ask your where YOU want to be in 3-5 years and understand your plan which can be developed and executed to achieve your vision.

According to Archangel, “When moving through a career transition, the foundation of your next decision is knowing your purpose. Purpose is the driver that propels us through life and gives meaning to our daily existence. It’s the reason we exist. When we’re working in an area that supports our purpose, work becomes play. We look forward to it, become energized and motivated by it. Our purpose isn’t necessarily our job, but when we’re “on purpose” our work will reflect and support that purpose.

Develop a pros and cons list.  

Write down pros and cons of what you’re currently doing and ask yourself if you’re really doing what you want do.  This internal perspective provides you with additional direction for where your strengths and potential opportunities may lie.

What are your passions?

Understand your passion.  What are you passionate about and what drives you?  We all start each day with various motivations–however, understanding what drives you is essential to helping you determine your personal and professional purpose and is key to determining next steps.

Do you have a plan?

Develop a plan with objectives and strategies.  It can be refined, but having a road-map provides you with, at least, an idea of where you want to go. While I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know exactly what I will be doing (no one does), I can honestly say I’m enjoying myself more than ever before and hope my career reinvention will continue to take me to places I never thought I would go.

And network.  

It’s essential to build your internal and external network.  Archangel says, “Above all constantly work on building your network, and understanding the value of your skills in the marketplace. This is the “marketing” aspect of landing the next new role, or building your own business.”

As we enter the remaining months of 2016 and are currently planning business plans for 2017, ask yourself a couple of simple questions, what is your personal/professional plan for next year and beyond and how will you achieve it?