In Stephen Covey’s best selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit number two is “Begin With the End in Mind.” In other words, before you start something, you should have a clear vision of what you want the outcome to look like.
And as luck would have it, the same is true when you are building a personal brand.
Because it’s a lot easier to put aside everything you should be doing to instead spend your days trolling Aunt Muriel and her ignorant political views on Facebook. And left to our own devices, that is exactly what we’d end up doing.
You see, building a world class personal brand is hard. It’s frustrating. It’s time consuming.
And if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want it to look like when you’re done as well as a solid plan of action to help get you there, you are more likely to give up the second things get a little tough.
And they will get tough.
So, grab a pen and paper and why don’t we figure what this thing is going to look like and what you need to do about it.
Step 1: Think Big
I have absolutely no tangible evidence whatsoever to prove that this is actually a true statement, but I believe that most people do not accomplish what they set out to do because what they set out to do is much too easy.
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You start off with some seemingly impossible thing that you want to create in your life. At first, it’s pretty exciting. But then the voices in your head begin to chime in. They remind you of how impossible it is. How much work it’s going to take. What it’s going to cost. And soon enough you convince yourself that perhaps something a little more “realistic” would be better. And before long, your dream of spending the summer backpacking through Europe has turned into a weekend road trip through New Jersey.
Now, here’s the problem.
As soon as you adjust to something more “realistic,” you have sucked all of the juice out of it. It’s no longer exciting. And while this new outcome may be more attainable, it doesn’t quite light you up like your original plan which means you are much less likely to do the work.
Who wants to go to the gym or eat healthier or save money or plan for months, all so you can go on a roadtrip through New Jersey?
And that’s when you begin to give up.
I remember years ago when I created my first personal brand. I wanted to be a Broadway Musician. Now, if you think you have it tough, try breaking into an industry where thousands of people are fighting for the same eight jobs. And everybody else is better than you.
I had no experience. I wasn’t good enough. And I wasn’t experienced enough. Being a Broadway Musician was about as impossible as you could get. And yet, after spending two years living in the spare bedroom of my Mom’s house, getting hung up on by hundreds of people and receiving a well-deserved restraining order, I made it.
I could have watered it down and chased something more realistic, however, I probably would have failed had I done that. Instead I embraced the impossible.
And I want to challenge you to do the same. Whatever that looks like for you.
- I want to be a New York Times Best Selling Author
- I want to quit my job and make a living online
- I want to earn $1,000,000 this year doing something I love
- I want to be a professional speaker
- I want to be an influencer with an email list of 100,000 people
- I want to develop my own products
- I want to be a travel blogger and work around the world
- I want to be a celebrity chef with my own TV show
Deep down inside, you know what it is. It’s the one that makes your stomach turn inside out. The one that you fall asleep thinking about. The one that you’re afraid to tell people about because you don’t want them to think you’re crazy.
That’s the one.
And as scary as it may be, I want you to write it down, because here’s what we’re going to do with it…
Step 2: Get Committed
Now that you have embraced the big ugliness of who it is you want to be, it’s time to get committed. And I mean really committed. Being “interested” in whatever ridiculous thing you came up with is not going to get you there. Not when it comes to something this big.
You have to be willing to do what would otherwise be terrifying.
Like cut a six figure check to buy the domain name for your new company. That’s what a friend of mine did a few years ago. He believed in his big idea so much that he mortgaged his home for a domain name.
That may sound like a really irresponsible thing to do to you and I. And I probably wouldn’t suggest it. However, that decision is probably one of the main reasons his company is now worth over one hundred million dollars. Failure for him was not an option. He was committed. If it didn’t work, he would have lost everything.
Now, cutting a six figure check for your domain might not be an option for you. But here are a few ideas to turn up the heat and get you committed.
- Write a Check: Think of one of the most horrible organizations you know of and write out a check to them for an amount that would keep you up at night. It has to be at least $2,000. Stick the check in an envelope with the address on it and a stamp and give it to a friend. It will be their job to send it out if you stop doing what you said you were going to do to live into this new personal brand.
- Keep Reminding Yourself: You don’t have to have a vision board, although it’s not a terrible idea. But you must keep this outcome in front of you at all times. Make it the wallpaper on your phone and computer. Use it as your password so you have to type it every day. Post a picture of it on the wall next to your bed. Write it on your mirror using an expo marker. Keep it in your wallet. Say it out loud at least a dozen times a day. Whatever you have to do in order to eat, sleep and breathe this new you.
- Risk Public Embarrassment: Tell everyone you know where you’re headed. Post it on social media. Write about it. Talk about it. Turn everyone around you into one big accountability coach. Create an environment where failing would mean having to change your name and move to a different country.
- Visualize What It’s Going to Look Like: See yourself living into the personal brand you are creating for yourself. Eventually an opportunity will come into your world and if you aren’t ready to take it on, you are going to miss it.
I know that being committed is hard. But if you really want it, you’ll do it.
And if you don’t really want it, that’s OK too. Now just might not be the right time. Or it might not be the right outcome. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, put it off to the side for the time being and go back to step one and find that thing you are willing to put it all on the line for.
Because once you find it, it’s time to take massive action. And if you thought being committed was hard, wait until you see this…
Step 3: Take Massive Action
The next obvious step is to take action. But not any action will do. You must be willing to do the things that most people won’t.
I believe it was Jerry Rice who said:'Today I will do what others won't so tomorrow I can do what others can't.'Click To Tweet
And that’s where taking massive action comes into play.
My good friend Jeni is one of the world’s most successful bloggers. In fact, they made a movie about her and everything. Personally, I thought I should have been in the movie as the quirky sidekick, but the producers weren’t buying it.
Anyway, do you know how she got there?
She took massive action.
She tells the story much better than I do, but at one point in the beginning, she was blogging so much that she could barely bend her wrists. The pain was excruciating. But everyday she woke up and everyday she pushed through it.
That is what taking massive action looks like.
It means turning off the TV. Getting off of Facebook. Staying up late. Waking up early. Failing over and over again. Working until it hurts. And never losing sight of what you are going after.
And even then, there’s no promise that it’s going to work out. That’s why you need the next step…
Step 4: Adjust
There is no direct path to success. If you read the whole story about how I got on Broadway, you can see how I had to adjust my strategy dozens of times before I actually made it.
You’re no different.
You’re going to hit a bunch of bumps and detours along the way. You can either be frustrated by it and risk giving up or you can adjust.
I would suggest you learn to adjust.
Adjust your strategy. Adjust your timeline. Adjust the platform you are using. Adjust your level of education. Adjust who you are working with. Adjust the tools you are using.
And when you hit that brick wall, try doing something different.
Research. Talk to people. Look at it from a fresh perspective. Walk away from it for a few days. Read a book to help you. Pay closer attention to people in the place you want to be.
There are literally hundreds of things you can adjust and thousands of ways to adjust them in order to reset the sail and keep going. The important thing is that you’re aware of what’s working and what’s not working. That’s the only way you will know what to adjust.
And if you find out that perhaps the thing you need to adjust is your outcome, that’s OK too. Better to find out now that it’s not right for you. Just head back up to step one and start over again. Just make sure you are clear that there is a big difference between adjusting and giving up.
Because only those who don’t give up make it to step 5.
Step 5: Celebrate
This is the step that most people skip. Sometimes because they never make it here. But more often than not they skip it because they move on the second they get the thing they’ve been after.
Look, you are going to get kicked in the teeth more times that you will care to remember. You are going to work harder than you ever have before with nothing more than the hope that it all works out. You are going to deal with more rejection that you ever have. You are going to be alone a lot of the time. And you are going to fail. A lot.
So, when you do get a check in the win column, you’d better celebrate it. No matter how big or small it is. You’ve earned it.
Reward yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Buy yourself something nice. Brag a little to your friends. Or just look in the mirror and give yourself a little nod of approval.
By celebrating your wins, you are not just recognizing all that you have been through. You are giving yourself a little jolt of momentum for the next time you are knee deep in the thick of it and you aren’t sure if you can go on.
You deserve it.
And then get back to work.
In the End, It’s About the Journey. And the Other Stuff.
And now this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that whether you become the big deal you were hoping to or not is irrelevant because it’s all about the journey.
While that may very well be true and while the journey may be amazing, sometimes the outcome is just as important.
Having the life, the business, the income and the freedom you really want and deserve is not easy. But it’s worth all of the effort in the end.
And if you follow these steps and dig your heels in, you will get to experience it. Plus, you get to enjoy (most of) the journey along the way.
Starting right now.
So, share in the comments below who you are and what you want your life to look like and let me be the first to join your accountability team!