As I mention in my profile, I’m currently reading Seth Godin’s latest book: “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” The ‘Reader’s Digest version’ of what I’ve read so far is that we, as employees, must take our careers to a new level by becoming the linchpin – or someone regarded as an essential element for holding things together – within an organization.  Godin says, we can “be more successful if we’re more artistic, motivated, connected, aware, passionate and genuine”.  I continue to get something different from that phrase each time I read it.  You may feel the same way, too.

Regardless whether you‘re already gainfully employed or searching for your next “Big Gig”, how you relate your personal story to others is critical to your success.  Better yet, according to Godin, becoming an artistic leader when telling your personal story will open new doors and opportunities for you that may not have been previously available.

So what does it mean to be artistic?  How do you display your awareness or passion?  How can you avoid being thought of as mediocre and add artistic leadership to your endeavors?  Well, for the job seeker, it’s by the strength of your personal brand, or your story.  Each of us has our own simple story – like where we came from, what our favorite food is and what music or movies we like.  But an artistic leadership story needs to be more powerful and complex – it needs to represent the genuine ‘you’ by its passion.  Only then will you truly be appreciated and regarded as essential to those around you – a linchpin.

Godin states: “We’ve bought into a model that taught us to embrace the system, to spend for pleasure and to separate ourselves from work.  We’ve been taught that this approach works, but it doesn’t (not anymore).  And this disconnect keeps us from succeeding, cripples the growth of our society, and makes us really stressed.”

After I read that, I came to the conclusion that my Personal Brand isn’t something that I can just turn on from 9-5.  It must represent everything I currently am, as well as what and where I want to be, moving forward.  I have to live it 24-7.  Having this same philosophy will be the difference between you – a brave, artistic leader who puts genuine effort into personal growth – and the person in a neighboring cube at work that grinds out his job day after day.   Motivate yourself to be more aware and passionate in all that you do.  Blur the line between the person you are at work and the person you are at home.

As I continue to network towards my next career, I find myself telling a more detailed and colorful story.  I try to make my passion and genuineness shine a little brighter and I emphasize my desire to always learn and become more interesting.  I choose to make my story truly connected to the person I am now and to the one I want to become.  I choose to be the artist of my story…how about you?

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Late last week, I was fortunate enough to network with Sara Meany, Partner and “Left Brain” at Comet Branding located in Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward.  She was brilliant!  I originally met Sara through LinkedIn.  She was linked to several people in my network and struck me as someone who had their finger on the pulse of what was going on in Milwaukee.  Naturally, I had to network with her!  Sara talked to me about how Social Media has revolutionized her profession.  In fact, she said: “Social media is just an extension of branding and marketing…they’re interrelated.”

She then went on to further prove her point by showing how Social Media assisted her newest employee in landing a job.  Laura Gainor, Comet’s new PR and Social Media Strategist used a myriad of applications to campaign for her new role!  Check out Laura’s blog detailing her extraordinary journey.  Simply put, it is genius!

http://cometbranding.com/blog/laura-gainor-utilizing-social-media-hired-at-comet-branding/

So, I decided to embrace Social Media in all its glory, and I’m loving it!  Currently, I’m learning how to use Twitter and navigate its etiquette…. you know, the social do’s and don’ts…..things like “re-tweeting”, giving the appropriate credit to a post’s author and always thanking people who “re-tweet” your posts.  In a way, it’s similar to the rules of the road in cycling – taking turns, pulling for the other riders in your group, calling out road debris and letting the group know if a car is approaching from the front or the back.

But how can I make this new-found love affair with social media work for me?  After talking with Sara, I discovered all sorts of innovative ways to brand myself and get the word out about my career search.  Applications like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are considered the mainstream, but using media such as Slide Share, Flicker and Dooid will further expand my influence on the web.  As Jeffrey Gitomer says, it will make me more “Googlable”.

Sara has inspired me to be what she calls, a “thought leader”.  I’ve learned that, by using Social Media to broadcast one’s views, you can become a “go to” person for answers and cutting edge ideas – but you need to target the right audience in order to achieve the coveted status of a “thought leader”.  Doing this properly will allow you to network effectively, more often, enhancing your possibilities of obtaining the career of your dreams!

So, go ahead.  Give some of the various Social Media platforms a try.  I think you’ll come to love the benefits and possibilities as much as I do.  Stay tuned!

All the best.

Chris

There’s so much that needs to be considered when determining your Personal Brand.  It’s what makes you unique in a world of highly educated, charismatic and motivated people who are all competing for the same position as you.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’m working with a career coach.  Wendy Terwelp, owner of Opportunity Knocks in Mequon, Wisconsin, has been assisting me on creating my Personal Brand.  During our meeting this past Wednesday, we were discussing my strengths and I mentioned that my passion for competitive sports is one of my strongest attributes.

Now, I can guess what you’re thinking. ‘Chris, everybody is passionate about something.  How will this make me stronger and help me stand out in an interview?’  The secret is to make it personal.  Describe your passion in the most intimate of ways to truly show how deeply it runs in your veins.

Would you like an example?  For those of you who know me, you’re aware that I’m over the moon about cycling.  In the summer, I ride at least 2,200 miles.  I read about the sport on the internet, buy the books and watch every race I can on television.  I also go to as many races as possible in Milwaukee during Superweek.  I LOVE CYCLING!  But, I take my passion even further.  My bike – a sweet black and yellow titanium/carbon mix Giant TCR 2 with a full Shimano Ultegra group set, and Look peddles –  “lives” in my bedroom when I’m not riding it.  In fact, it’s parked right next to my bed, so I see it every night before I go to sleep and it’s one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning (next to my gorgeous and loving wife!).  That beautiful bike is my baby.  When I ride it, it’s a feeling of “Zen”.

The meaning of Zen is different to everyone and is felt in different ways, but it’s why I ride.  The end result is the same, but the path to it varies every time I’m out on the road.  Zen is when my cadence is just right, the wind is at my back, the road is pristine, the weather is perfect and all is right with the world…it’s Zen!  Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face!

I could talk all day about my passions, especially for competitive sports.  That’s why it’s one of my strongest traits in my Personal Brand and how I plan to stand out from my competition.  Every perspective employer wants to see that spark in your eye.  They want to know what motivates you to get out of bed every day to come to work and how you’ll use that motivation to their advantage.  Showing your unique passion or what gives you that “Zen” feeling, is going to be the key to your success!

I’ll end today with a quote from Dr. Smiley Blanton:  “The truth is that all of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life whenever we use our native capacities to their greatest extent.” Attain your success.  Use your passion.  Find your Zen!

All the best!

Chris

Greetings!  As the title of this first posting says, this is that beginning of something great!  This blog will allow you to accompany me on my journey towards finding my new career.  My postings will focus on what I’ve learned so far, how I’m changing my personal brand and who I’m networking with to meet my goals.

I know what you’re thinking:  “What a terrible time to be out of a job and looking for work.”  Well, I choose to look at it like this:  I live in the greatest and most powerful country on earth.  The opportunities are out there, I just need to know where to look, and learn how to brand myself accordingly.

I’ve decided to go back to my roots (sports & sports marketing) and re-examine what I originally wanted to do with my life.  Through learning how to brand myself from my career coach, Wendy Terwlep,  I’ve found I have a real passion and purpose to achieve greatness and have now decided that I want to do that for my career.  The Sports Marketing/Branding field is a major change from what I’ve been doing for the last 5 years (Finance/Management), but now is the best time to re-invent myself!  I will expand on my future plans, triumphs and opportunities to grow in my future postings.

I’ll end this posting with a quote from Washington Irving:  “Know what you want.  Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.”

All the best!