JR’s Not-So-Literal Blog

Personal Branding Limitations – Wanting To Do Too Much

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on August 27, 2009

Much conversation surrounds the topic of personal branding in an economy where way more people are looking for jobs and companies seem to be hiring less often. Sticking out in a sea of applicants is becoming harder and harder if you’re not willing to give up the lazy practice of just sending out cover letters and resumes to nameless job openings. Dan Schawbel has really helped bring personal branding discussion to another level and given people ideas on where their job searching and career development strategies could be bolstered. However, I’m finding that my personal situation is becoming slightly too complex for the bread and butter personal branding advice that I’m seeing flood the interwebs every day.

I want to do too much. Anyone who knows me well might critique me with having a million irons in the fire at any given moment. I look at that as my key to current and future success. Through osmosis and relative early adoption, I’ve been blogging and thinking self-critically for several years now. It wasn’t like I was suddenly on the scene giving advice to people about their lives and being featured on blog networks; I started blogging while I had a full time job and learned as I went along.

Since I started blogging and thinking myself as a brand, as well as a rather funky homosapean, I’ve switched jobs a couple times, completed a ton of freelance contracts and currently find myself working a full time job as well as being a community editor for the best Generation Y job seekers social network on the web. I work and I work and when I’m finished working at the end of the day, I work some more. I’m passionate and probably a bit nuts, but I know that at some point a few years ago when I decided to pursue my career in marketing and social media, I committed to myself that I wasn’t going to go at it half-assed and that I was going to ride this strange ride until the wheels fell off.

Do you ever get so busy with something you love doing that you forget why you started and need to take stock of what you’re all about again? Ryan Paugh’s blog post about launching the new Brazen Careerist social network struck me when he wrote about a gut check he had with Penelope Trunk regarding the scalability of his job.

I pulled Penelope aside a couple weeks ago to talk to her about this.

“How exactly does a Community Manager scale?” I asked.

“Where does his/her career path lead?”

“Ryan, you’re doing a great job,” she reminded me.

And I realized that I know exactly how to scale my job. Well, not exactly. The Community Manager role in business is still a little young to know the exact path, but I know that it involves growing along with the Community and continuing to be a voice to as many as possible even when that number rockets through the thousands, to the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions.

You know… personal branding still rocks in my mind. I personally know many people who stand to benefit from it if they simply take a little time and make some effort in branding themselves. There is tons of good information out there for newbies who are looking to get into this new, big world of social networking and career development. As for me, I’ve done it, I am doing it and now I’m sort of scratching my head as I work my butt off trying to figure out what’s next.

I’m probably not going to read “it” in a blog or get “it” from a coach. The “it” factor for me won’t be purchased in book for either. No, I’ll probably attribute the long days and nights of work and a rigorous daily mental regimen of self-critique to my Ah Hah!” moment when it comes in the middle of the night or early in the morning.

I liken this moment of growth to something I’m quite fond of; pushups. You do them every day, no questions. Perfect technique, burning muscles, boredom, repetitiveness.. you simply do the damn pushups every day. Your numbers rise, 20, 30, 40, 50… 50… you can’t get past 50! Weeks pass and 50 is pretty much the last number of pushups you can do before your muscles quiver and you fall on your face. Why keep doing them if you know that no more are coming? Finally you decided to take a day off, you’re disgusted with yourself, you relax, you don’t worry about how your arms and chest look for just one day and then the next day, you’re back on the band wagon and what do you know… you just did 65 pushups and you know you could probably do even more. THOSE are the types of moments I live for.


8 Responses

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  1. Jenny Blake said, on August 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    JR! It is so exciting that you are working full-time at Brazen – they are lucky to have you. It is also amazing to see that you are so engrossed and inspired by your work. This new role seems like a perfect fit!

    And so true what you said about the “it” factor – for as many books as I read, I know that ultimately the “it” factor and “aha” moments of my career will come from within. The inspiration comes from deep within my gut, and is only enhanced by the amazing communities out there like Brazen.

  2. notsoliteral said, on August 28, 2009 at 2:57 am

    @Jenny, thanks for the kind words! You’re super encouraging and inspiring as always too! I know that this is where the real work starts at Brazen Careerist; it’s not just editing content and making sure stuff looks right… it’s about engaging the community, generating productive discussion and getting people who normally wouldn’t consider themselves to be writers to contribute posts. The entire team is and has been super supportive and has constantly reminded me how influential my role is; so I’m just wicked pumped to be in doing my thing and hopefully making a difference in people’s lives.

    As for letting the good “it” factor come from within, it’s never fast or simple. It seems to be more like setting yourself on the right path and keeping progress towards that end goal, whatever it may be, despite the hard times you’ll almost certainly encounter.

    Thanks so much for the comment Jenny!

  3. Elisa said, on August 29, 2009 at 1:05 am

    My favorite part of this post came with the push-ups. It’s so true. We are all pushing and wanting and needing and spinning and trying and pretty much exhausting every muscle in our bodies trying to get “there.” When truly we might instead need to stop the craziness for just long enough to catch out breaths and then the next time we try we suddenly excel farther than we ever did in the craziness.

    I think it’s an action not always encouraged but definitely necessary in life…taking time to slow down and even stop to move forward.

  4. Sam said, on September 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I love the push ups analogy too! As I watch people tirelessly blogging and tweeting to promote themselves, I feel mixed emotions. Part of me is jealous of their confidence and drive, part of me wonders if they still know who they are. Successfully making a name for yourself is great, but how far are you willing to go? (This is the royal “you” of course). I think taking a step back every once in a while, taking a day to unplug, is a great way to keep a handle on reality and make sure you’re staying true to yourself.

  5. notsoliteral said, on September 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    @Sam, the days where I just take off without telling anyone and leave the city are the best for my mental state. Even if I just go and sit somewhere and do nothing at all, removing myself from the machine is necessary.

  6. When Giants Meet said, on September 3, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Great post, I found a new blog to read!

    • notsoliteral said, on September 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

      @WGM, thank you and I’ll be sure to check out your posts!

  7. Raine said, on September 7, 2009 at 1:47 am

    I love your analogy, as well – Great post!

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