I am creative and so are you

I am creative and so are you

In college, I found knitting and began experimenting with my own designs and stitch patterns. I would start with an inspiring yarn, a pair of needles and just create, sometimes intentionally and sometimes with no plan in mind.

It was thrilling.

No rules. No expectations. No pressure for perfection. No requirement for purpose or functionality.

I was creating for the pure joy of it.

Tapping into this joyful creation, I realized that I needed this outlet in my life to be truly happy and to fully express myself.

From the Web: Don't Change Who You Are

From the Web: Don't Change Who You Are

Great article from Fast Company - Quote of the Week: Don't Change Who You Are

So true. But what if you don't know who you are?

Then stop focusing on that stupid question and instead ask:

What do I want to contribute?

"Don't change who you are." This is so true when it comes to personal branding in today's economy. It is imperative that you don't try to one-up the "competition" or try to position yourself as something you are not.

Organizations are now hiring more for cultural fit than skills, so it's more important than ever that you clearly articulate WHO you are and WHY you are that way.

Don't know where to begin?

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, tea, beer...whatever helps get your thinking juices flowing. And then start answering these questions:

  • What do I want to impact?
  • What do I want to create?
  • What do I want to contribute?
  • At the end of my life, what do I want to look back on and see?
  • What pisses me off?
  • What is broken that I want to work toward fixing?
  • What types of people and organizations do I want to align myself with?
  • When am I most successful, and why?
  • What environment do I need to be my whole self at work?
  • What unique strengths, knowledge, experience and skills do I have that can help me with my contribution?

How did you do? Do you feel that you have a better sense of what you bring to the table?

Take this and turn it into your personal brand. Seriously. Don't use jargony words. Don't talk about how many years of experience you have managing $xxx budgets. Tell us what you believe and value. And what problem you're trying to solve in this short life.

And once you do that, there is no way that you haven't truly expressed your personality through your "brand"---which will allow anyone looking to hire you to understand who you truly are and what you will fully bring to the table on day one.

Learnapalooza Wicker Park 2014: Find Your Guide Word

Learnapalooza Wicker Park 2014: Find Your Guide Word

A big thanks to everyone that attended my Learnapalooza class today (Find Your Guide Word)!!

I had a blast teaching and sharing my ideas with you all and I hope you took away something substantial--whether it was a new perspective, idea to ponder or direction for researching new career opportunities.

As promised, I'm sharing the presentation used during our session as well as the "workbook" that I created for the extended session. Both files are available for download below.

Learnapalooza Wicker Park 2014: Find Your Guide Word (PDF)

Life Objective Workbook (PDF)

3 Consumer Branding Trends Healthcare Providers Should Activate in 2014

3 Consumer Branding Trends Healthcare Providers Should Activate in 2014

Originally posted on Health Brand Group's blog.

As Obamacare opens the door for greater consumer empowerment in healthcare, providers of all shapes and sizes must take notice and evolve to proactively grow awareness and truly engage the next wave of healthcare consumers.

To date, providers (and the healthcare industry in general) have been slow to adopt the brand and marketing strategies already in play by Fortune 500 companies in other industries. These leading organizations realize that having a brand isn’t a luxury—it’s the foundation for everything you do.

When you operationalize your brand throughout your organization, it can empower your employees, your growth and your consumers.

However, while there is more opportunity than ever for healthcare providers to create impactful brands, we must also recognize that “brand” is simply one of several priorities competing for the attention of provider leadership within this new normal of healthcare.

The following are 3 consumer branding trends that healthcare providers can capitalize and activate in 2014.

Leading with Story.

Today, you need a brand that enables relationships with all of the people important to you: your employees, your donors and investors, your patients and their communities, etc. Think about that word—relationships—it connotes a two-way, dual engagement…a state of being connected.

Messaging = the old way of communicating TO people.

Storytelling = the new, emotional way of communicating WITH people by making them a part of your story.

Humans have been building relationships and connecting with one another through storytelling since, well, since there were humans. You need to humanize your story by making it personal and emotional, and by understanding who you are trying to reach and connect with.

Make 2014 the year when your organization shifts from marketing TO people to connecting WITH people, and lead this shift with storytelling.

Creating Brand Ownership Across Your Organization.

It is important to realize that your brand does not live within the boundaries of your marketing department. As such, cultivating your brand should be viewed as a strategic business initiative. Your brand should be driven by your organization’s vision and aligned with your internal culture; it should be a natural, authentic extension of the interactions among your employees and between your staff and your patients.

Create brand ambassadors from the inside out by engaging your employees. Communicating and connecting your staff with your purpose and your vision will improve employee engagement and translate directly to patient satisfaction and preference.

Becoming More Human-Centered.

Remember, your patients and employees are in fact humans. Each and every person that comes into contact with your organization is looking for a meaningful experience.

If your vision and story are inspiring, understandable and accessible—meaning you operationalize them through every touch point of your organization—then your patients, employees and the communities you serve will be able to connect with and experience your brand in an emotional way.

Virgin America’s Strategic, yet Entertaining Safety Video

Originally published on Health Brand Group's blog.

Last December, I commented on whether Delta’s pre-flight safety videos were “on strategy” with its brand. While the videos attempted to get travelers to pay attention using humor, I remain unconvinced that they were clearly aligned with Delta’s personality and brand strategy.

Unlike Delta, some airlines (Southwest and Virgin America included) have done a better job of living their brands. It comes as no surprise that other airlines would choose to “spruce up” their safety videos by making them funny and entertaining, however in order for them to be successful and meaningful, they must also be aligned with the brand strategy.

This is why I believe Virgin America’s safety video hits the nail on the head. It’s hip, fast-paced, witty, smart and slick–all attributes of the brand’s (and Richard Branson’s) personality, presence and image. The Virgin portfolio of brands is known for innovation, business-savvy and breaking the mold. This video is a great example of turning the traditional pre-flight safety demo on its head.

From the Web: LinkedIn Influencers on How They Hire

From the Web: LinkedIn Influencers on How They Hire

There are great resources all over the web these days regarding career and work-life. Today I stumbled upon a fantastic feed to follow on LinkedIn--Influencers on How They Hire.  

Whether you're just beginning your career or you've been around the block a few times, you should be leveraging LinkedIn to the max. It's great for networking, it can serve in place of having your own professional website, it's where everyone is going to look for new job opportunities, and now, it has some fantastic, unique "influencer" content.

The c-suite of America is telling you what they look for in job candidates--how they hire!

Definitely follow this feed.

From the Web: Time for Change

From the Web: Time for Change

We are truly entering a time when change is the only constant.

This can present an endless supply of challenges for our lives and for our careers.  

One of the ways to deal with this is to anticipate constant change. To build-in the ability to embrace and absorb variability in your life and career.

Here are a few articles from around the web on the topic of change...and making it happen! 

3 Things To Do Now To Change Your Health And Life For Good

How-To: 5 Easy Steps to Make a Career Change Without Starting Over

Your Career Won't Be Predictable, And That's A Good Thing

Career Lessons from Yoga: September 13, 2013

Career Lessons from Yoga: September 13, 2013

During the beginning of every yoga class, there is a brief moment when you are supposed to set an intention for your practice. This intention provides you with something to reflect on during the practice, and maybe even afterward. Sometimes the teacher will offer an intention, which is what occurred during one of my classes this week.

I'd like to make a practice of sharing lessons from yoga with you, as they often apply to aspects of your career and work/life. Here's an intention from class this week that I feel is extremely pertinent.

There is a time in life where you have to be your own mentor, believe in your dreams, be courageous and let no obstacle take away your vision. That time is called always.

Interesting. Be your own mentor.