We are living in a time of major disruption. All that we have come to know has been thrown on its side or completely eliminated as we struggle to maintain some sense of normal in what we call LIFE.
Homes are becoming offices, classrooms, coffee shops, bars, and gyms. Relationships are struggling as people try to find words to convey what they are thinking and feeling. There’s an upheaval of the education system as parents are now “teachers” both inside and outside of the classroom, and kids are living inside homes filled with folks they are getting to know in a new way. This is MASS DISRUPTION. As a result, we each are struggling to find ourselves - our true selves - and how we fit into this new world amid the chaos.
Time has become the one asset that we all have plenty of, and I think many of you are taking the opportunity to discover just who you are! If you are not, shouldn’t you be? The answer to that question ‘Who am I’ starts in your mind and lives in your heart . . . and regardless of the distractions and disruptions, you can find a way - your way - to make it through. The one thing you can count on is . . . the answers lie within. I believe that clarity of self, understanding and relying on your internal compass, is the one thing you can count on these days. While the world shifts around you, know that your internal compass does not.
Self-esteem, values, leadership, confidence, resiliency are all choices powered by knowing who you are. Out of this mayhem of 2020 and beyond will lay bare a sea of choices. How do you decide what choice is best for you? I had a friend write on Facebook, “Every parent needs to teach their child the difference between an inconvenience and a catastrophe.” I actually thought that was profound. But beyond that we need to understand how to be resilient regardless. Our resiliency to deal with the good and bad things in life, and to push for growth and keep forging ahead starts in your mind, lives in your heart and manifests through your actions—It is your BRAND.
I remember telling executives at Leo Burnett and their clients that in the face of danger or prosperity, the one insurance policy you have, the most remarkable thing about your company is your Brand. Your brand gives you the strategic armor needed to forge ahead. Your brand understands why you exist, what image you project, what makes you remarkable and what gives you the right to say what you say. Your brand points you in the direction of getting the proof you need. Your brand tells the world who you are and what you stand for.
Imagine a world where at a young age people are asked these questions to determine their brand:
WHO ARE YOU?
What is your purpose?
What are your gifts and talents?
What makes you remarkable?
What do YOU VALUE?
The one thing that the education system does not focus on is the charter building foundation that helps us get through these unprecedented times. While the focus continues to be on STEM education, I say let’s focus on the root…let’s cultivate the root that most assuredly will help that stem to thrive. This is unchartered territory, and as we face this disruption, we should be guided by an internal compass that says yes to some things and no to others. Some refer to these as soft skills, I say they anchor you in hard times. Whatever choices you make, know that they are rooted in YOUR truth, not the truth of the masses. Powered by inspired clarity in times of utter chaos and disruption, we are clearer. Driven by the story of these times, I challenge you to be powered by the story of you, and to always allow your internal compass to be your guide.
-by Brenda Russell Williams