In this article we continue your conversation with the great within. You must never doubt that which God deposited in you. Never hold back to shine because you were created to shine. Personal brand is not what anybody can build. It is who you are, your values and what you stand for – you don’t find this in a book or university – it’s tucked away in your great within (soul). They have told you the world is waiting for the next Nelson Mandela or Steve Jobs. I say NO. The world is waiting for the next YOU!
Why the fuss about personal branding? Whether you are conscious or not – you have a personal brand. It is an intangible asset which you can leverage or activate to influence your world. Your reputation in your job or as an organisation is linked to your personal brand. Think of individuals who have stood out in this world over the last 10 years. Dr Strive Masiyiwa the Econet founder’s personal brand can best be described as a hardnosed businessman whose simple desire was to put a phone in the hand of every African. His buccaneering exploits saw him venturing into the Nigerian telecom jungle, overcome regulatory hurdles, start up wilderness challenges and cross funding Red Seas to build a truly global telecom business with African roots. Dr Masiyiwa is a man of ideas, values, focus, substance and a game changer – when he established Econet Wireless Nigeria in 2001, there was barely 1 million telephone users in Nigeria – today there are over 110 million users in just over 10 years. This is remarkable!
Jack Welch who is one of the best corporate executives of this century managed General Electric (GE) and grew revenues from 27 USD billion to 130 USD billion when he left. Welch had an idea to position GE as #1 or #2 in every industry they operated or close shop if not achievable. This was bold. He had a reputation of being ruthlessly decisive accompanied by unabashed candour. From the example of Dr Masiyiwa and Jack Welch I would like to share some practical things which you need in order to activate your personal brand.
The foundation of your personal brand is an idea. Dr Masiyiwa had an idea to wire Africa. Jack Welch had an idea to create an efficient and profitable American corporate. Ideas are the DNA of your personal brand. Ideas are the product of your thoughts, meditations and dreams. Organisations or products are an expression of ideas. To stand out, you need to have ideas that are too good to ignore. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs had an idea to build products which are aesthetically outstanding yet functionally excellent. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had an idea to make the world one big community in which personal information was shared digitally. His idea was very simple – transparency.
What is the idea God has deposited in your great within. Don’t hold back. It doesn’t have to make sense to anybody – Jack Welch was nicknamed “Neutron Jack” (after the neutron bomb) because he eliminated employees while leaving buildings intact. Many people thought Facebook would never grow because it infringed on the right to privacy, but the irony is that it is thriving on the need to eliminate privacy. Weird! Ideas do not flourish under the noisy approval of others but the quiet assurance of knowing you can change the world. I want to challenge you this week – in your organisation, job, community or church – be bold to share your ideas. Ideas are the fruit of your spirit and meditations. They are the fruit of thought. Your life will take the shape of your thoughts – start thinking NOW!
In the next article I will unpack the other elements of activating your personal brand. Don’t miss it!
Years ago when I started my career I was full of the drive of youth. I wanted to conquer the work world yet I didn’t know what weapons to use. I desired to scale the corporate ladder quickly, yet there was no ladder in sight. I wanted to run a multi – million dollar organisation yet I only had one year experience after college. I was a diamond in the rough and unfinished article. There was a strategic innocence and tactical naivety in how I approached issues. You do not just get promoted because you have a degree. Getting a job is one thing, climbing the ladder (if you can see one) is another? I bought and started businesses too. Deal making and running business is not a guessing game – there must be strategic intentionality and tactical nous in your approach. You need to stand out to be noticed. Nobody deals with a ‘no body’. It was until one day I decided to consult the great within – I went inside myself and discovered there was more in me. I have learnt my lessons and want to say ‘there is more in you too!’
I write this article for the one who has worked for too long with no promotion, yet I speak to the one starting their career to say ‘there is more in you’. I write to business people to say the greatest capital you have is not in the bank, it’s in you, yet I write to job seekers to say ‘you don’t bring anything to the table you are the table!’ So you are worth more. I don’t want to excite you, I want to provoke you. I am not writing theory, but I write with the ink of my spirit, so I can stir your great within. To go higher you need to dig deeper and mine the great within. External growth is an extension of internal growth. This is the essence of your personal brand – that which is uniquely you. In this series I want to activate your personal brand and divine purpose, awaken your leadership and position you to flourish in the marketplace.
Turn On The Power
Your current temporary position is not your permanent condition. Your situation is not your destination. Your personal brand has nothing to with where you are, it’s to do with who you are. A Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster in a Mini Cooper dealership in no less than a Mercedes Benz in the showroom or assembly line in Germany. It may even look as small as a Mini Cooper, but there is something wired into that car. You just need to turn on the Merc ignition to prove it. The ignition sets ablaze something hidden under the bonnet and wired into the engine – sheer power. What is my point? When you turn on the power hidden in the great within, you connect with that which defines you – that which is in your DNA or wiring. There is conversation which happens between the ignition key and the car engine – the engine does not have to think what to do – it just has to turn on! When you have a conversation with your great within – you awaken that which was in a slumber, you provoke that which was in recess and fan the embers of that which must light the world. How do I actually do that? Good question, but the answer is in Part Two next week.
In the last two articles I took you through the journey through ‘passover’, a ‘makeover’ and ‘crossed over’ stages. Today you are ready to takeover. In the last article I wrote “When you crossover you need a specific toolset and unique set of skills to deal with uncertainty and the unfamiliar” This is the import of this article which focuses on ‘Takeover’
Takeover has to do with the behaviour set , skill set, tool set and mental set that makes you flourish in the new territory. Not every child of Israel who went into Canaan possessed their own piece of land. Not everybody who is given necessarily receives. The hand that gives must be met with the hand that receives. The end game in believing is possession. Takeover is about becoming a possessor. It’s the turning of your dream into reality.
Takeover Stage – ‘Go In’
For the children of Israel the 40 year journey in the desert was not a stroll in the park but it was in search of their promised land. It would be have been tragic for Israelites if after leaving Egypt, crossing over the Red Sea and their makeover into a ‘mean war machine’ they had still remained as slaves with nothing to their name. They had to takeover! Let me quickly share the Takeover set of behaviours, skill set and mental attitude:
Skill Set and Tool Set – Takeover is a game of finesse and panache. In the wilderness the children of Israel were used to manna. It was all hunky-dory. However in Canaan – ‘the manna ceased’ – they had to learn a new skill set: animal and crop husbandry. Once you leave your village you need a new set of skills to survive in town. Develop a new skill set. Each year I have to improve myself because the environment is dynamic. In the last two years I became a Certified Prosci Change Expert and a Certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner. I am building a strong ‘war chest’ of skills and competency ‘tool set’ to dominate or takeover every sector I operate in. Empires of the future are empires of the mind – are you building your skill set?
If you want to improve in your career, business or ministry you need to be learning ALL the time. Each stage of your progress requires a new skill set to unlock and to sustain it. The difference between your current and the next level in your job, business or ministry is in a new skill. Apple, the US maker of iPad, iPhone, Mac and iPod is continuing to define and redefine the post Personal Computing (PC) era by using its unique corporate competencies to develop revolutionary products such as the recently launched ‘resolutionary’ 4G iPad 3.
Behaviour Set – Takeover is a game of strategy. There is‘deliberateness’ about taking over. Like a mother pregnant with child, when you are pregnant with purpose you are selective of what and how you do things. You are strategic. Joshua led the children of Israel in the takeover of Canaan. He was a smart leader. Joshua sent some men on a spying mission in order for him to draft the right takeover strategy. He gathered enough “takeover target intelligence” or information. He then organised the children of Israel into regimented bands before executing a well timed and coordinated takeover strategy of Canaan. The key lesson is that you need to be calculative and wise in gathering key information of what you want to takeover and then you implement a clinical and swift takeover strategy. I wrote an article in 2011 on Takeover Mentality (see http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=495780833197) where I shared at length on how to deal with “strongholds, kings, giants and beasts” when you want to takeover.
Mental Set – Takeover is a game of faith. Believe you can and you will! Faith is the confident assurance that what you hope for is going to happen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith marks the boundaries of how much you can receive or possess. There was an old man called Caleb who was 85 years when they entered into Canaan. He didn’t ask for a small piece of land – he asked for a whole mountain at that age! This is the attitude that you must have – dream big. Think of taking over whole nations, industries, professions, towns. Launch into the deep. You don’t have to launch your net into the shallow where you see everything happening. Just launch into the deep waters of faith…the big fish are found in the deep waters.
Hold your nerve – stay focused until you takeover.
As a coach and mentor one of the things I have learnt is that personal transformation is a journey and not an event. However along this journey there are defining moments or events. A lot of people fail to make the transition from one level of success to the next because they fail to read these key stages. The world abounds with stories of people who did not get great opportunities but made great of the opportunities life presented them. An opportunity of a lifetime exists in the life of that opportunity. The secret is in understanding times and seasons.
There is a simple story in the Bible in Mark 8: 22-26. Jesus encountered a blind man. He took this man ‘by hand’ out of his village. The first time after being laid hands upon this man could see ‘man like trees’. The second time around his sight was completely restored. Jesus then told him not to go back to village. I want to share the 4 vital stages of personal transformation for your success. These stages are Passover, Makeover, Crossover and Takeover in that order.
Passover Stage – ‘Go Out’
Jesus took the matter of this blind man literally into his own hands, by leading him out of the village ‘by hand’. In order to progress in life you need to leave your village. Village represents familiarity, limitations, little exposure and limited vision. Village is not necessarily a place but is also a state of mind. Village is a place of surrender and condemnation. In Africa the old, retired, sick, rascals and hopeless folk are send to the village. The children of Israel once stayed in a village called Egypt for over 400 years until a time to ‘passover’ came.
In order for your career, marriage, ministry, business or project to flourish you need to leave your village. A village or cradle mentality makes you a slave to the familiar, daily grind and routines. In order to experience growth you need to break out of the familiar and go out of your village. For some your job, industry or country has now become your village while others the village is in the mind – you want to stick to the knitting and you think there are sharks out there. This year dare the undared, try the untried, venture into the unknown, blaze the trail, go out, break out – passover!
Makeover Stage – ‘Go Under’
Your mind-set determines your life-set. To upgrade your life you need to upgrade your mind. You may come out of the village, but it’s also important for the village to also come out of you. Your mind needs to go under some transformation. Jesus did a bit of ‘surgery’ on the man’s eyes laying hands and spitting on them. Some scales which were blinding the man had to come off so he could see clearly. Once you come out of the village you need to do a mental and physical makeover. When the children of Israel left Egypt they were used to saying “Boss, yes Master, I am a humble servant, I am a slave”. In the wilderness God wanted to get Egypt out of them and change their slavery mindset. You cannot continue to wear village clothes in town; neither can you walk like you used to do in the fields. Change your style!
There are simple makeover tips such as changing your talk – your talk determines who listens to you. Dress the way you wanted to be addressed. Change how you walk, because it determines where you walk and who looks at you. Urban decorum and etiquette demands a certain finesse and deportment different from a village context. For example while it’s okay to brag about having killed a rabbit in the village, in an urban context this may be frowned upon. In conclusion I want to challenge you to do a self assessment of some of the ‘village’ or cradle mentality elements which have been limiting your progress. You may have passed over from unemployment to a job, but for you to now go to the next level you need to do a makeover. Is it self-evident that you are now ready to assume significant responsibilities and have outgrown your current position? Transition from village to town. Mental transformation is a key element in the journey towards achieving lasting results in life. Without a complete mental makeover you will not be ready to Crossover and Takeover…to be continued…/
2012 has now come. Do not go through the year, let the year go through you. Dictate the pace. Determine the activities. Command the issues. Be in charge. This is your year. A season once came when God wanted to usher his Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua was the commander. God gave Joshua a simple strategy – he was going to use his MOUTH, HEART, HEAD and HANDS to conquer Canaan. It worked and still does. I would like to unpack Joshua 1:8 and share some ancient wisdom relevant for you today.
Confession Brings Possession
“This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your MOUTH…,”
It matters what you say. Say right. Use your MOUTH. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for many years because of their mouths – they complained too much. You can build or destroy yourself by the words you speak. The worlds were framed by the word. In the beginning God spoke things came into being. It therefore stands to reason that words are the building blocks of your life. Death and life are in the power of the tongue – speak life! You shall declare things in your life and they will be established because words have creative power. This year master your tongue.
Meditation Leads to Gravitation
“…you shall MEDITATE on it day and night…”
It matters what you think about. Think right. Use your HEART. Feed your spirit with the right thoughts. Marinate your heart with images of your desires. What you meditate on gravitates towards you. Your thoughts create a force field of possibilities and opportunities. Ideas, innovation, creations are all products of thoughts. Brood over your thoughts. Incubate your ideas. Pray over them, speak the word over them and soon they will hatch. Guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life.
What You Watch, You Can Match
“…that you may OBSERVE…”
It matters what you understand. Understand right. Use your HEAD. Joshua was told that he was to “observe” to do. The word used here – “observe” also means to understand; to figure out; mark, protect, preserve or reserve. Like a watchman or sentinel look after your ideas and meditations. As you watch you gain exceeding amplitude of understanding to navigate forests and evade predators. Observation brings preservation. A farmer understands the soil because he has observed it for some time, just as a seaman will understand the seas because of observation over some time. Master your game. Observe…
It matters what you do. Do it right. Use your HANDS. The ultimate pillar in the strategy given to Joshua was execution. Many people dream but few execute. This year means different things to different people. If you like the script then join the cast – what’s your part? It’s not enough to make slogans if there is no execution. Your MOUTH, HEART and HEAD will direct your HANDS in what to do. Thoughts must become words, words must become ideas and ideas must become actions.
I encourage you to read your Bible, locate yourself in the word. Appropriate the promises of God concerning you. Feed your spirit with materials that inspire you to become the person you were created to be. Your life is a product of your words, meditations, observations and execution.
This is your year!
On 5th of October 2011, co-founder of Apple passed on aged 56. He was hailed by friend and foe as a global icon who impactfully transformed multiple industries with his creative genius. In telecoms he gave us the iPhone, in music the iPod, in personal computing the iPad. An “i-conic” impact! I celebrated Steve Jobs while he lived and therefore it’s not my wish in this article to extol his virtues to fulfil mourning decorum but to share a few reflection points.
Excuses Don’t Change Your World
Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock to a Syrian immigrant father in America, adopted at birth by foster parents, a university drop out, fired from a company he had formed and lived with a rare form of pancreatic cancer for almost 10 years. In spite of such a constrained circumstances Steve Jobs changed the world. What is your excuse? His story echoes that of one Moses a ‘basket case’ who became the deliverer of Israel from Egyptian bondage. In the last 10 years of his life, Jobs virtually transformed Apple from a bottom tier hi-tech company to the most valuable technology company in the world.
Steve Jobs illustrates the ability of human beings to transcend challenges. He was fired from Apple and was in the ‘business wilderness’ for about 10 years. During that period Apple lost market share and money. Dell and Microsoft were leading and raking in the billions. Without going into detail, Apple was for years a David and Microsoft was a Goliath. Steve Jobs was rehired by Apple and transformed the business with game changing products such as the Mac, iPod iPhone and lately iPad. Steve Jobs grew the business from USD5 billion in 2000 to USD350 billion when he handed over to his successor in August 2011. To give you perspective, this is more than the value of Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia all put together. Terrific!
Never Change Your Message
To change your world and your condition you need to be fully persuaded in what you believe in. Steve Jobs was ‘brave enough to think differently’, bold enough to follow through his ideas believing he could change the world. When competitors were going for making cheaper products, Steve Jobs decided to go for expensive products. His conviction was profoundly simple – make a great product, put it before a customer and they will open their wallet. This is brave in a world which puts a premium on cost cutting and cheap to push volumes.
A pastor who does not believe in their message is like a parrot, a teacher who does not believe in their material is making a recital, just as a salesman who does not believe in their product is no different from a clown in a circus. Moses could not lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land until he was convinced that bondage was not the right place for God’s children. Never compromise your message to please people or to go with the wisdom of the crowd.
Garments of Passion and Personality
Your greatest asset is not your education, job title or size of car or office. Steve Jobs brought his passion and personality into Apple products. He turned simple products into “rock stars” He did not create the MP3 player, but gave it personality when he created the iPod. Neither did he create the tablet computer, but through the iPad, he redefined the concept of personal computing using a tablet. Images of an emaciated Jobs launching iPad 2 just shows the passion this man had for the products he created. You cannot talk of “Apple’s Jobs, but about Job’s Apple”. He earned the naming rights through his actions, not because he was a co-founder. Your actions must be clothed with the garments of your passion and scented with the perfume of your personality. Has your organisation, ministry, community or friends come to now know the typical “you-sque” performance. Passion and personality are not techniques or tools; they are about who you are.
A man called Lazarus lived during Jesus’ time. One day he died. Jesus who was a family friend was told and only came four days after his death. As Jesus arrived everybody was wailing and Jesus wept too! Beloved Lazarus was dead. Oh no. But Jesus had other ideas. He decided he loved Lazarus too much to let him die. So he did the unthinkable and declared, “Lazarus come forth” The dead Lazarus resurrected. Wow. This is pregnant with lessons on how to resurrect your dreams. Lesson One – Dreams Don’t Die Lazarus was the hope of his family. He was beloved of Jesus that is one instance in which it’s recorded that “Jesus wept” Jesus could not accept that the one he loved so dearly could die. The key lesson is that love is the fulcrum upon which the levers of faith move your dreams. The love Jesus had for Lazarus would never give up on him. How much passion do you have for your dream? Is your love tank full enough to last the distance? Lesson Two – Never Listen to Wailers For every dream there are wailers. These are people who are ready to help you bury your dream. They will sing songs of lament the day your dream dies. They will usually weep more than you do. Jesus did not regard wailers – he saw them but ignored them. If he had listened to them he would have been filled with fear. Jesus was thick skinned. The key lesson is never listen to wailers where your beloved dream is concerned. Lesson Three – Compose Yourself Jesus arrived when Lazarus had been dead for four days. Surely he must have been stinking and in a state of decomposition. The best way to face a decomposed state is to be in a composed state. There was no drama around Jesus. He worked his way through the chaos of wailers and did not cringe at the stench of dead Lazarus. It doesn’t matter how stinking your situation is – just be composed and just declare “Dream come forth!” Lesson Four – Your Dream Hears Your Voice Let me put my imagination to work a little. As the wailers wept for dear Lazarus, I imagine one mourner must have cried, “Lazarus please wake up. How can you live Mary and Martha your two sisters alone?” But alas he did not wake up. It took Jesus to just declare “Lazarus come forth” and come forth Lazarus did! The key lesson is your dream only hears your voice. It therefore stands to reason that if God has given you a dream, the life of that dream is connected to you. Speak to your dream today. You can reinvent, repackage, reorient and resurrect every dream. Your dream could be your marriage, business, idea, job or relationship. You are back!