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The Work Life/Personal Life Conundrum

October 16, 2009

In the Age of Personal Branding, are they one in the same?

Yesterday, I went to SchipulCon, a 2-day workshop put on by Schipul, one of the stand-out web marketing agencies in Houston. I went to support my friend happykatie, who was presenting on creating personal brands (her personal brand is pretty stand-out).

Personal brand is “self-packaging,” a way of showing the world what you do uniquely and well. It is also convincing others that they’ll benefit from having the brand that is You on their teams. The Personal Brand phenomenon will help you get a job, get promoted, take in new clients, land speaking gigs, network more effectively, and just be an all-around better person (okay, maybe not so much that last one).

I met one of my oldest friends for dinner last night, an actress in town from LA. She tells me actors walk around LA as if any second they’re going to meet someone who might potentially hire them. My friend has to be a walking billboard for, well, herself.

While I felt a little bad for her for feeling like she has to be “on” all the time, I really related to her in a way I wasn’t expecting. Why did her story sound so familiar to me?

After taking on a bigger role at the company I work for, landing a gig as a co-host of a radio show, public speaking on several occasions, writing more, and generally putting myself out there, somewhere along the way I developed a personal brand. I embrace and love the personal brand I’m (slowly) building, and appreciate that I have opportunities to meet amazing people who have a lot to share.

But I’m always “on” these days too. Is it sometimes okay to step away from the iPhone?

I used to leave work at the end of the day, watch television, relax, walk the dog. Now I leave work and go right back to work. I check my email (what if a reporter needs a fact check?), tweet with the other people who are just like me, and write until my brain has turned to liquid. I love to do it; admittedly, it’s very fulfilling. But how is it affecting my ability to repair and reenergize? What is the price we pay for always being connected, always being reachable?

Learning to strike a work/life balance is just as important as being committed to doing good work. All positive components of your life enhance not only the work you do but ultimately, your personal brand. If you’re all work and no play, who’s going to be interested in You, the brand? If you never get a good night’s sleep, watch a movie, or get some exercise, I guarantee people will start to find you pretty dull.

So embrace your personal brandiness. Dedicate yourself to your career and the glory that is You. But remember to commit to a walk in the park sans Twitter once in awhile.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 4:19 pm

    I dig your brandiness! Great thoughts on the value of unplugging and just being (hopefully more often than not).

    Although I sometimes find it annoying from a productivity perspective, I’m secretly envious of those folks that guard their work and weekend days from email — committing to checking email only during certain times a day or certain days a week!! Imagine!!

    They make it work for them, I’m not sure I can do the same. But holy cow would it be beautiful 🙂

    Perhaps I will grow bold one day and set up a recurring auto reply during my “special hours” that says “I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not. You’ve caught me sucking the marrow out of life offline, playing with kiddos, baking cookies and scouring used bookstore shelves. Let’s catch up later after we’ve both basked in some sunshine!”

    How would those reporters on deadline react to THAT? 🙂 xo

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