In about two weeks, this will be the message that advertisers will be shoving down your throat.
They will prey on your every insecurity, your every vulnerability to get inside your head. The advertisers know you likely mailed it in over the Christmas holiday, enjoying food and drink and other first-world delights. Their message – you need to spend your money on ___________ to fulfill your New Year’s resolution to yourself. Trust us, they will tell you. We know best.
They will coerce you to adding their magic solution for all that bothers you to a list of things you’d like to do better or differently in 2013. Your list may be 10 or 15 items. Do your best to say no to these false prophets who only care about your credit card.
Most of the things on your list are going to be a fail. But they won’t be fails because you are lazy or slovenly or a terrible person. It’s about first organizing, then amplifying your goal. We need some scaffolding, a network where we can help others first and boldly ask others to help us in return.
My personal branding shaman, Keith Ferrazzi, would like you to consider these two things:
Be concrete. The more specific you are about what you want to do, the easier it becomes to develop a strategy to accomplish it. And the easier it becomes for others in your universe to help you get where you’re going. Nail down where you want to go in life so you can develop a networking strategy to get there.
Know how to talk about yourself. The way you talk about yourself and your goals should inspire others to help you get there.
New Year’s Eve is no time to make a list of willy-nilly resolutions, and have no system to track them. We can decide to reinvent on a Tuesday at the dentist’s office or on a subway train or while walking around the block.
If one of the things on your list is “get a new job” you actually just added an automatic 15 sub items, the steps you will take to get that new gig. Maybe you should stop there!
Over the holidays you are going to be around a bunch of people who love you. These people are among the worst to ask for advice about yourself. Their lenses are colored with their love. Some will point out your deficiencies and flaws. Others will spare your feelings by couching comments. This is not helpful.
Better to seek out some people who merely like you, perhaps a couple of people who are not friends at all. These people can assess your projects and goals with far greater accuracy, and they’ll be able to tell you truths that, if said by a spouse or family member, might be perceived as criticism.
Don’t believe the advertisers. You’re pretty awesome already. You have a unique set of stuff to present to your world, and there ain’t no magic pill that’s going to fix the challenge you’d like to tackle.
Enjoy your holiday. Be kind to those meddling people who love you dearly, and love them back as nicely as you can. A new year is coming, 8,765 hours of time for you to make your reinvention list short, sweet, and incredibly powerful.
John Scott is a media instructor, online education coordinator and the career services manager at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He also counsels individuals and groups in the art of reinvention. John’s debut book Broken Glass and Barbed Wire is creeping ever closer to being real.
- The Joy of Criticism (johnscottstories.com)