Brand Alignment from Inside-Out: Part 2

 
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Moving Toward Brand Clarity & Alignment
(When You're Feeling Stuck)

In yesterday's message I shared with you some of the clues that can tell you if a brand or business is off in some way. Did you resonate with anything you read?

Today we are going to go into ways you can move toward clarity of vision and purpose. I'll share with you some of my favorite tools for moving forward.

Tomorrow, I will close the circle as we evaluate the role of alignment and flexibility in our business and brand.

Let's carry on, shall we?
 

Passion Drives a Successful Brand

When you are passionate about what you do, you are filled with divine inspiration to pour love and beauty into all the touch points of your business and, as a result, your brand will sing with ease. Even the dreaded imposter syndrome will be kept at bay, because your enthusiasm just won't let it take the reigns long enough to do any real damage.
 

It's Time Get Out of the Quagmire of Ambivalence!

So, is it time for you to evaluate if you are apathetic or ambivalent about your business? Is it sparking the joy you need to shine and show off your passion?

Hey, don't fret if you're getting that sinking feeling. Let's get you to the other side, to inspiration and enthusiasm, shall we?
 

Here are my tips for easing your way out of the quagmire of business and brand ambivalence.
 

  1. Listen to your curiosity.

    Aside from frequent urges to visit Facebook during the day, what are some gentle curiosities that have emerged as a theme in your life? Is there something awesome you are exploring in your personal life that you're not giving yourself permission to weave into your business model?

    While some of us may want to hold our hobbies and creative pursuits apart so we can focus on doing them without joy or obligation, some of us may need to bring a bit of that curiosity into our business model to make it sing. It doesn't have to be an overhaul, either. In fact, the more gradually you test the waters and adjust bit by bit, the better off you'll be.

     
  2. Ask your inner twelve year old what she wishes you'd do.

    Now, we can't always fully listen to and employ the advice of our inner child (otherwise I'd be on an adventure with the Ninja Turtles right now), but if we've lost touch with our curiosity after a long bout of ignoring it out of a sense of pragmatism and personal responsibility, sometimes our child self can remind us what interested us when we were less burdened by obligations.

    Long ago, I remember when my sophomore year of college was winding down and it was time for me to consider a summer internship. I had worked so hard that year and lost touch with my curiosity. I got quiet, looked inward, and found myself asking, "What did I want to do when I was a kid?"

    My inner twelve year old piped up loud and clear. "Work at LucasArts!" I'd spent many a late night playing their story-rich and puzzle-filled games as a kid. It seemed ridiculous to me in the moment to think I could get an internship there, because I was studying as a graphic artist and I assumed they probably only hired concept or texture artists for those coveted creative positions.

    I didn't let that thought stop me. When I went to the site moments later to investigate, I was amazed to discover one graphic design internship listed as available. It felt as if it was meant for me!

    Over the following month, I busted my buns with a renewed curiosity and excitement, creating a stellar portfolio with my best work yet. It paid off -- I was hired! While working there, two separate supervisors shared that a stream of incredible synchronicity had gotten me into that position, starting with the fact that my immediate boss had had the random thought to hire a graphic design intern for once, when they had never done so before.

    Thanks to following that twelve year old's voice, I got to spend a summer in San Francisco at my (to that point) dream job, all because I listened to her when I got stuck and followed her curious yearnings.

    Side note: As a result of that experience I realized the video game industry wasn't for me, but I had a blast that summer and enriched my professional experience in a myriad of ways and got to see my work prominently displayed in an internationally-sold Star Wars game. You don't have to fully commit long term to what your inner twelve year old tells you, but she very well could get you out of a rut and help you take a more informed next step.

     
  3. Ask your most trusted friends what they are noticing you doing and not doing.

    Girlfriends (the ones who really get our soul and can be trusted to support us through all of our explorations with love and genuine acceptance) can be the best mirror in the world. How often do we know something important about the highest good next step for someone else but hold it to our heart because we respect that they have their own path to travel to get to their destination?

    If you're ready and willing to hear what a great girlfriend has to say, she may have noticed ways you have been unconsciously limiting yourself and holding back your genius, leaving untapped prosperity and enjoyment on the table.

    A girlfriend may have noticed a gift, tendency, or curiosity you are leaving out of the equation that could really get you on the right track. Take note: you must be ready to receive the input.

    • Ask your question
    • Be quiet
    • Listen fully
    • Resist the urge to argue against her points!
    • Say thank you before you either choose to think it over (and maybe make the choice that it isn't the right path for you), or then discuss the finer points of how you will take the next step.

    The thing to keep in mind here is that we often have a tendency to refuse things out of hand when we are afraid to take a risk. While someone else may not know precisely what's right for you, be willing to consider that they have some information that could help take you to the next step.

    If you're not ready to really listen to input at this time, maybe because you are at too fragile a place or need to hold an idea close to your chest, that's fine! It's best in these situations to refrain from asking until it feels right and you're ready to hear the answers you receive.

     
  4. Stop overthinking things so much. Just get started.

    Something I've noticed from intellectual and spiritual people is that we can overthink every damn thing. We can hold two simultaneous positions on something that are diametrically opposed. Dang, but does that lead to apathy, inaction, and long bouts of depressed naval-gazing. Not fun!

    If you find that this is something you do, then consider this: say "hello" to your two opposing positions, and choose to align your actions with the one that is a "yes" for momentum, enthusiasm, exploration, and possibility. Even if you have no freaking clue how it's all going to come together. If you say "yes" to the direction of inaction, not only are you not proving anything one way or another, you also aren't giving yourself a chance to succeed.

    If your quagmire is a moral dilemma, chances are good that feelings of ambivalence are actually a sign that you may be using a false story of morality as an excuse to hold yourself back. We can come up with all kinds of reasons not to move forward when we're in actuality simply scared to act!

    I think about the notion of the "artist sell-out" in this equation. Artists use this fear of selling out all the time as an excuse not to thrive or explore new pathways. The truth is, the idea of selling out is just a story and everyone's definition of success, and pathway to it, is going to be different.

    If you have some kind of limiting belief in this vein, you may not be able to trust friends to shake you out of it—chances are good they have similar beliefs and are going to confirm your limitations! So reach outside of your circles or at least find friends who have a different approach who will help you explore nuances to your position. Or better yet, take a risk, give it a shot, and see what happens.

    The best thing you can do is fail. That's right, it's the best thing! When you fail, you get data, and can then refine your direction in a meaningful way, rather than not doing anything at all thanks to false assumptions you've made so far.
     

Do any of these tools or ideas resonate with you? Which one do you think would be best to try out for where you are feeling stuck? Will you turn to your curiosity, your inner child, trusted friends, or simply step out and take that action you've been holding back on for awhile? I would love to hear from you if you have a moment to share.

There's another step beyond this one, and an understanding to tap into to really go the distance with creating a successful brand, and I'll share that tomorrow. We will go into the subject of alignment and how you can use this tool when evolving your brand on your own constantly-evolving journey.