Personal Branding

Personal Branding - Huh?

I've been trying to work on my personal brand for awhile now. You know? What do I bring to the table? What makes me stand out? Why do people read this blog about me? Why are they my friend on facebook? Why do they follow me on Twitter? Why did they accept my LinkedIn invitation?

Here's my problem with this - maybe you can help.

I don't think this is about ME.

I think this is about us - ALL OF US!

In this wonderful wacky world of ours - don't we all need each other - maybe now more than ever?

Okay - that's a little over the top.

Here's what I'm saying - We all know why the people who are in our lives, are in our lives, why they are important, what value they bring to our relationships. BUT (insert screeching brakes sound here...)

Do we know why we are in their lives? What value do we bring to our relationships?

How many times have you heard, seen or read, heck even said something like this?

"I started blogging, or twittering, or using facebook or (insert your social media platform here), but I have no idea why anyone would really care what I'm doing or what I think about anything. It can't be that interesting, etc..."


Yeah, me too.

Do you get answers like this? "Well obviously you are interesting. Somebody is paying attention. Just keep doing what you're doing..."

Yeah, me too.

Drives me crazy. (More like a short putt. Probably a gimme.) Can "Obviously you are interesting," be a personal brand?

No, I don't think so either.

So, Dear Reader I set out to find out what others thought was my "personal brand."

A friend suggested that the best way to get what people think you
bring to the table is to ask someone who was your boss or a friend you
know will be honest and not just tell you what you want to hear.

So I did that.

I had the perfect person. A former boss who is my friend, and has never been afraid to tell it like it is.

Here is what he said.

I'm not sure I understand exactly what it is that you are looking for. So I don't know if any of this helps, but:

I know I have always thought of you as a "quick study" with the
energy to stick with any task any task until it is completed. I could
say things like: "affable, gregarious, friendly and warm" with insight
and a good sense of humor (sunglasses on wedding attendants). I know you don't cut yourself as much slack as you cut others.

Let me know if this helps, if it misses the mark or if I can provide further input.

That did help, but I'm hoping you all can provide further input.

Can you help a brother out?

It never hurts to ask right?

Have you thought about your own "personal brand?"

Sorting things Out and Catching Up

Just a quick note on what's been happening. I can't wear my glasses when the camera is on because of the glare so there may be a technical glitch or two, like I can't really see if the stuff on my desk is all blurry or not. Sorry about that. Thank you all for every bit of your time in the last year. It has meant so so much to be able to reach out and connect with so many great folks.

Baby Sydney

We received a message this morning that our brother-in-law's niece died in her sleep last night.

She was 5 months old.

I know.

I've been walking around stunned for the last 4 hours or so. I'm on the verge of tears, had a hard time eating lunch, and my body is just out of kilter.

No parent should have to bury their child. I believe it is one of the cruelest things our Lord allows to happen.

Pretty frustrated with the man upstairs right now, but unfortunately that doesn't mean he's gonna be providing answers any time soon.

Sometimes we just have to find them through faith.

Not a day goes by that I don't miss our Meghan Joy, that I don't wonder what might have been. I have all the physical and practical answers, but I'll never really know why.

No one can.

Not long ago, I reconnected with an old friend who had also lost a child, and I could tell that she hadn't really come to terms, that she didn't know what to expect. She wanted some answers, some closure.

I reached out to her, and told her that there is no right way, no time table, and no formula for dealing with the grief of losing a child.

It is a pain you can never know unless you have experienced it yourself. It's a pain I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It is a wound that may not heal.

But it is not the end, and it can be overcome. Eventually we all find a way to survive. As Netter is fond of saying - "That which does not kill me makes me stronger."

I'm sure that's the last thing Sydney's parents would want to hear right now. I don't know them very well, but I have met them. They are a wonderful young couple. My heart aches for them today.

I know that one of the things that helped us the most was the support we felt from our friends, from our community, from people who would reach out to us and tell us they understood.

Today, if I may I'd like to ask all of you to look up, around, over above and through whatever you do and say a prayer for Baby Sydney and for her parents, that they may find peace.

Greetings from the South

I'm in Greenville, South Carolina this week spending time with my cousin "Butch" and her family. A nice vacation away, something we haven't been able to do a lot of in recent years not having a family vehicle we felt was suitable for long distance travel.

We kept our vacations in Ohio the past few years, having only the Ranger to drive and not wanting to cram both girls into the jump seats, which are just not that comfortable for very long trips.

This year, as I'm sure everyone knows we got a new (to us) van when the cost to repair our old Passport exceeded the price of the vehicle itself.

We immediately started planning this trip. Butch and her family are some of our favorite relatives. She and I have been close through the years always sharing a bond that cousins hold. Together with Butch's sister Christie we traversed the path to adulthood, sometimes losing touch but always having each other to reach out to when needed. That's how Butch got her nickname in fact, but that's another story entirely...

This week we had planned on getting caught up, catching some rays, enjoying the holiday and watching our kids get to know one another. We're doing all of that, but we're doing something more, and maybe even something more important.

I won't get into a lot of details, and I'm glad there weren't many people left to see it, but I'm sure it's no secret that there was some less than pleasantness with my folk's visit to Golf for Joy. We were glad they came to the tournament, having dealt with a bit of turmoil over the last year or so, and we were very glad they joined us. We were unsure of the hows and the whys, but eager to put an end to the confrontation.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen last weekend. Don't worry, I've no plans to share the blow-by-blow. If I hadn't felt so many reaching out with their support I wouldn't be sharing any of this today. (Thank you all for all of your support and affirmations.)

Still to be perfectly honest it put me into quite a tailspin, and Sunday was a test of my resiliency and a testament to my wife's patience, nurturing, and understanding. If I haven't said it before or enough - Netter is far and away THE BEST, and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

Further encounters throughout the week also found me held up, quieter at parties to the point that it was noticed, staring through people who looked at me as if to say... "What in the heck is up? What is wrong with you?"

I don't know. I feel like I have lost something, maybe... Something has changed. A shift in the universe, something very uncomfortable has happened.

What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? What exactly is different?

The answer quite simply is, "I don't know."

and I hate that -

When these things happen we tend to reach out to the people that know us best, who've known us the longest, who aren't afraid to tell us what they think, to opinionate, to commiserate, to help us find perspective. Sometimes even to tell us what to do - or at least make really good suggestions.

So that's what I'm doing, and Butch and her family are doing a fine job of helping me.

Is it just me? I don't want it to be about me. I try everyday to be sure that it is not about me.

While this blog is very often a reflection of what is going on in my life, what is happening to me, I write here because I know these things happen to all of us, and I share in the hopes that we might all find answers, and solutions, and that it will be about all of us...

So we can all grow and find the answers...


Don't you think together is better?