In the personal brand discovery process we talk about the importance of maximizing strengths. There are of course tools you can use to uncover your strengths including ‘Strengthsfinder 2.0′ and ‘360Reach Personal Brand Assessment’. But another way to understand your strengths is through “forward-visioning” activities.
These activities help you to define your legacy – what you want to be known for. In other words, if people were to talk about you in the future either at a retirement party or in a newspaper or magazine cover story what would they say? How have you impacted their lives or the world around you? These legacy statements define your brand and the strengths that you bring to those around you.
Legacy On a Personal Level
I have used such activities numerous times in my personal branding work and the results are always fun to see. Recently, however, this question of legacy hit me on a much more personal level with the passing of my Mother.
I never really thought about what my Mom was “known for” or what “mark” she was leaving behind. She was just my Mom. The person who raised me, who helped me with my homework, and who got me out of trouble. She was always there, and perhaps I took this for granted. We simply expect our parents to be there even when we try to push them away.
Did she influence who I am today? Did she instill in me the attributes that define my character? Did she give me the tools to make my own mark on the world?
You are probably thinking, “Isn’t that obvious? Of course she did. That’s just what good mothers (parents) do!” But it was not obvious to me until all the family, friends, and colleagues came to pay their respects. I cannot count how many times people came up to my sisters and me to hold our hands and start with one of the following ‘legacy’ statements:
- “Your mother was…”
- “Your mom helped me by…”
- “I will always remember how your mom…”
- “If it wasn’t for your mother, I wouldn’t have…”
What followed each statement was a consistent theme that defined my Mom’s character and strengths, her personal brand.
As people shared their memories of my Mom and how she impacted their lives in amazing ways, I recalled a recent post in my 30-day Vlogathon from Kimunya Mugo. In Kimunya’s video, Personal Branding Begins at Home, he makes the case for why the ‘family brand’ is a significant influence on how children’s personal brands evolve over time.
Listening to people share my Mom’s legacy made me realize just how influential her brand has been on me as well. I truly could not be the person I am today without the influence of my family brand and more specifically the values, principles, and behaviors instilled by my Mom.
Yes, Mom is no longer there. Yet while she is gone physically, her legacy continues to thrive and impact me and so many others.