Have you joined the rat race? Are you spending your days chasing other people’s goals, working other people’s hours, living someone else’s life?
Do your credit card debts or student loans or both; now define what you do and how much you do it for? Or is it some other obligation, like simply earning a living to gain back some dignity after returning home to the parents you once left with hopeful abandon?
Have you stacked up a bunch of mindless diversions or substances or both to make your off time tick by in slow motion? Are you a fan of sleep? Is foggy an attribute of your personal brand? Or does irritable suit you better.
Behaving just like a rat
There’s a reason we call it the rat race. It’s when you feel locked in a maze, bumping up against walls, scratching your way toward a small reward.
For the rodents among us, I hope you get your cheese. Sorry if someone moved it. There’s a Spencer Johnson book that helps you stop caring where it is. I may be wrong because I read it a long time ago, but I think his advice is to just keep running.
Personal brands: consider a different track with a different trajectory and a different outcome.
Design your own amazing race.
Make a life list. Never stop adding to it.
Start off with a blank Word doc, the notes function on your phone or – my favorite – a spiral bound notebook with a cover that represents the best part of you. If you know me, you know that my notebook cover is Hello Kitty. Her personal brand is uplifting, chic, funny, and sometimes dark. So is mine.
Write down everything your head or heart desires. Put in experiences, adventures, access to important people, travel, occupations, friendships, and if you must: stuff. I’m not big on visioning boards filled with photos of yachts and big houses, because I’m not sure they represent the feelings you actually want. Dealing with broken pipes and watching the deck peel isn’t really the good life.
Want to write a book? Put that in. Want to end hunger or homelessness? Put that in. Want to speak at TED? Put that in. Want to meet a life partner who takes away all the pain and anxiety of the single life? In. Want to remain single with the freedom and excitement to engage in new romances? Also in.
Your amazing race
Your amazing race will be different than anyone else’s – although you are sure to meet the right people if you put yourself in the right places. That’s whatever is right for you.
Personal brands: take it solo or find a run buddy. Get ready, set, and go.