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Category: Purpose

Support Our #Creatives – Q&A with Alan Greenstein

Support Our #Creatives – Q&A with Alan Greenstein

I sat down with Alan Greenstein, video producer, blogger and supporter of all things creatives do in this economy. Alan is a huge ambassador of ThinkBIG. Here’s access to our question and answer session about branding, influencing, and though-leadership. Thank you to Alan for showcasing the work we’re doing at AkiaGarnett.com.

Access Alan’s blog here. 

 

 

How Personal Is Your Professional Network?

How Personal Is Your Professional Network?

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Originally published in the March/ April 2013 edition of MBE magazine. Visit MBE online.

The finest brand you can build for yourself is one that combines elements from your professional and personal life. In fact, your professional brand is your personal brand more and more these days, and your personal brand is your professional brand. They’re one and the same, and will continue to be as people find greater opportunities to balance life and work.

The days of working 9 to 5 and living a closed-off, private life after – hours are finished. Social media marketing has allowed us all to share more of ourselves than ever before. Most people choose to leave some things unshared—there are still topics that won’t reach the outside world.

I believe, however, that the future world – changers are those who have learned to leverage all life events — from workplace successes to family challenges, and even health issues. Filling in the gray areas with vibrant colors or truths for the world to see is what creates lasting, likable impres- sions, and it is what will keep your brand top-of-mind. Read the full article.

Evaluating the Strength of Your Next Partnership

Evaluating the Strength of Your Next Partnership

Originally published in March /April 2013 issue of MBE magazine

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Branding Through Partnerships

I did some digging around regarding the concept of partnerships recently, wondering whether or not I could add to the understanding of the concept. Why? Because partnerships have always been important to me as a small business owner, and because the small business owners I meet are often looking for partnership opportunities as well.

From a branding perspective, traditional partnerships are relatively easy to come by; even cobranding is possible when there are true synergies. Traditional partnerships happen when two or more entities come together to pursue new opportunities to do greater business than either entity can do or is willing to do alone.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a partnership is “a relationship that exists between two or more persons who join forces to carry on a trade or business. According to this definition, each person contributes money, property, labor or skill, and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business.”

The parties joining the partnership determine what they will put forth in the relationship, and also how much they expect to receive in return for the time and resources invested. Normally, the members of the partnership make ongoing assessments of the relationship to determine its health and strength. Even though all partnerships will ultimately have a story of success or failure to tell, each partner must also determine if the partnership works to their immediate and long-term benefit, too. When partnerships create successes, companies tend to maintain mutually beneficial ties, and their joint branding can present a unified front to the world. See the full entry.

Living on Purpose

Living on Purpose

Living On Purpose
 
The whole concept of living on purpose didn’t become a real one until I hit 40. Some how, every moment of my time became critical. How I spend each day is more important than it used to be, and how I spend it with is even more important. 
 
I read in a recent Wall Street Journal article that kindergarteners in Germany don’t learn alphabet and other skills American children begin learning until 6 years old. Instead, children in Germany are given the opportunity to bond with nature, to develop survival skills that American children don’t focus on until later in childhood, such as how to survive alone in the wild. I’m not suggesting either, as I can see good and challenge in both. 
 
What the article did create in me was a sense of sadness when it comes to purpose and how it’s not a topic children are taught. I do believe that special programs and schools, including magnet and charter schools, are helping children understand their own uniquenesses in a sea of similarities, but there’s much left to do. As a child, it was common place for me to hear that children are the future, and that we were all special, and learning a new art was also expected. However, purpose was not why we as children were taught to master something, and having raised three children of my own, helping them through all sorts of assignments, and volunteering in schools, I know for sure purpose is not on the main agenda today. We were taught to master something because doing so would help us maintain a competitive edge when it was our time to rise and shine, whether in grade school, college, and ultimately the workforce. 
 
I think we’ve been taught to believe that we can only understand our purpose once we’ve lived, but I think there’s something to understanding what purpose is very early in life, and how we can find our purpose as we mature. One of my earliest reading lessons focused on context clues. I loved context clues assignments because it was all about figuring out the meanings of things based on what I was familiar with around them. Context clues assignment left some gray area for me to fill in, based on my own understandings which I had gathered prior to the assignment. And, I always found that context clues answers were obvious when we really dissected each part of the examined excerpt. That, to me, lends itself to finding our purpose early in life. While we may not start out with the answer, we can build upon our understanding of life’s meaning based upon familiar experiences, past and present. 
 
While finding our purpose is one untapped area, living on purpose is altogether different, and greater. So, this means that once we do understand those context clues of life, we’re willing to do something about it; move toward it, embrace it, learn from it, and dwell in it unapologetically. 
People, Places, and Things

People, Places, and Things

People, Places, & Things – Nouns? Yes. But So Much More.
 
With whom are you spending time? Where are you going? And what exactly have you been up to again? The answers to these questions impact what I think about, how I process my thoughts, and ways in which I behave as well.  
 
It might sound cliche-ish to suggest that time is precious, but it truly is, and time spent is ever more precious than that. When we spend time with others, in any setting, we create permanent experiences that can never be erased. I often used to tell my children that association brings on assimilation, meaning the more time we spend with the same people, the more likely we are to rub off on them or vice versa. Rubbing off on one another might not be such a bad thing if we’re talking about positive exchanges. But what about when we’re not? Think about how you are affected when you create permanent experiences that don’t offer you positive rewards. Positive rewards might be new ways to think about things, good feelings about self and others, and a sense of calm in life.  Being selective in who we spend time, by minimizing relationships that don’t bring positivity to us, is necessary in order for us to thrive in our areas of promise. 
 
The same applies to where we go, and what we do. A native Washingtonian, I know every quadrant of “DC”. I recall a day of under development in most areas, which are not thriving with new people, new places and new things to do. Walkable cities like DC are great. I find the city beautiful and walking it incredibly educational, and yes, entertaining. There’s always a character or two to liven up any city block, but I digress. When out walking, I like to experience it all. The architecture excites me. The people, including tourists are interesting to watch. I always wonder where they are going and for what? I wonder if they’re on vacation. When looking at buildings, I wonder who those people are who work in the buildings, and what types of projects they work on, and what they’re talking about in their meetings. When walking, I might stop for ice-cream or a cool drink to enjoy while I’m checking out the scenes and allowing myself to be part of it.  And when I’m done, I’m always so happy and refreshed because I let myself do something that did not require stress – but in fact received any. 
 
How I feel when spending time with others, determines how I feel when I face my daily tasks, and how I feel about what I produce as a result. We can’t always determine who we must spend time with, but we can determine how we’ll counter any time spend with others that does not offer us positive psychological rewards. The more time we seek positive people, places and things, the easier it becomes to balance out interactions that may have once created real angst for us. 
Doing What You Love

Doing What You Love

Doing What You Love, and Loving What You Do
 
When we poke around enough in areas that don’t allow us to tap into our strengths, it doesn’t take long before we begin seeking outlets, and possible ways out altogether. 
 
Some of us can function at a very high capacity across several disciplines, and so entertaining the notion of doing what we love might become a murky concept. But what does that mean, do what we love? Does that mean do what we’re good at? Does it mean do what we’re rewarded for? Or is it some fuzzy phrase people use when talking about pursuing our passion? 
 
I’ve found that doing what we love is all of those things and more. Also, I’ve found that doing what we love means allowing ourselves to gravitate toward that which helps us feel positive about our contribution to it. Doing what we love is greater than particular roles we play. It has to do with how we feel about the time we spend in those roles, and how we feel about the skills that we use.  
 
While the opinions of others matters less when it comes to doing what we love, when we do what we’re good at, the worlds in which we operate notice and consistently reinforce our own awareness. 
 
I absolutely love marketing and branding. I have worked outside of marketing in various capacities, and found great successes there as well, but my true love for marketing pulled me back every time. Not only do I love marketing as a profession, but I’m passionate about it, and I embrace ways to increase my own effectiveness at my craft, including teaching it to others both as I practice and as I lecture. 
 
I recall a time when encouraged to depart from marketing to take on bigger and more exciting things. I chuckled inside because to me, marketing and branding is huge and incredibly exciting. It is through those disciplines that I get to connect the dots between product creation and product delivery. It’s filling in all the blanks to increase the likelihood that something will land in the possession of a consumer, whether that be business to business, or person. I stuck and I stick with marketing, because it keeps giving back to me that great feeling of accomplishment. 
 
How have I evolved? The ways in which I market has certainly evolved over the years, as has my approach to building marketing programs. I identify as a marketing and branding practitioner and seek to operate in that zone whenever I’m supporting others. Not because it’s safe, but because for me, it’s best. It is where I thrive, and it is where I can leverage my knowledge base and skill set I’ve grown over the years.