PA Branding Part 5.2 – Acknowledge the value of your talents, efforts and time
Your personal brand is strong when you are fully reliable and accountable for the execution and delivery of certain things. Note: certain things! In our world where good is never good enough we all strive to be perfect at everything we do — and that is exactly the reason why we fail at having a strong brand. Please don’t argue yet, there is a method to my madness!
When we want to get the maximum out of every minute, every penny, every contact, every idea, every meeting and every task, somewhere along the way we realize that we are exhausted! Chances are you will drop the ball at some point and usually it happens at the wrong moment. You know how it goes.
The issue with a brand is that it takes time and effort to build and only one single slip-up to ruin it. Which, by the way, is not fair. Not to you and not to others. We are humans and all humans make mistakes by default — that is how we learn and progress. Remember not to be too tough on yourself when it happens.
You might not know all the reasons behind why something goes wrong. I love the story Stephen Covey tells in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s about an incident in the metro, where Covey met a guy whose children were going ballistic on the train and he did nothing to stop them. Covey confronted the man, telling him to control his kids. The man came to his senses, saying that they had just come from the hospital where the children’s mother had passed away. That changed everything and Covey felt awful! You never know why things are happening. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
‘Dropping the ball’ is unfortunate but very common in our speedy, high-expectation society. The fact is, we need flow, personal balance and awareness to perform at our best and overdeliver. But do we cut ourselves some slack after realizing we are running at 200 miles an hour? No, we don’t!
We all know the overwhelming negative effects failure has on us. Therefore I want to stress a PA Branding 101 remedy to break out of this state and never enter the danger zone again.
The long answer? Engage in personal development to know your strengths and weaknesses. Invest serious time and effort into taking steps towards self-mastery. Identify past experiences that set standards for your belief system and expectation patterns. Redefine your goals according to new beliefs and create new habits and be persistent while implementing them to make this transformation happen.
The short version? Make peace with your weaknesses and focus on your strengths!
Before I go on, I want to highlight two facts about our human nature. First of all, most of the answers we look for are simple, even too simple. We humans tend to ignore simplicity, but the truth is always simple. We tend to ignore simple truths because if we don’t, we would have to agree that we have been blind or even stupid for not seeing the simplicity. And our precious egos will never allow us to be deliberately blind or stupid.
The second fact actually works in our favor. It’s been psychologically proven that when we understand the mechanics of any system or mechanism we tend to believe more in its purpose and reliability. In other words, if we get how it works, we believe it will work for us too. So here are the mechanics behind why this 101 remedy has an extreme impact on your effectiveness and your ironclad Personal PA Brand:
It’s all about time and attention management. Et voila… it’s simple!
Nowadays we strive to focus and invest our attention equally in everything we do! Both things we are good at and things we are less than perfect at. The logical result is that we spend way more time and effort on things we are not good at. Why? Because when we know we are naturally not good at something we try harder, look for supporting apps or coaching, pay money to improve etc. You get the point! Things we are naturally good at we do on the fly, it’s easy and fast — so we spend less time and effort doing them. When I realized (and analyzed) this I felt stupid, because it doesn’t make any sense.
Logically… the secret to your effectiveness is to focus more on what you are good at and outsource or delegate things you are less good at!
See, it’s very simple! If you spend MORE time in the area of your strengths you will achieve way more in terms of results and eventually thrive. To do that, we need to acknowledge that we are not perfect. And that is a difficult thing for our egos, but it’s a necessary evil.
Make it easy for yourself to get used to your imperfections. Don’t spend your precious time on things that you just can’t seem to get a grip on. Focus your energy and efforts on things you like and do more of the things that come naturally to you.
The logical outcome is that when you let go of the hard work of trying to do something you don’t want to and like, you will get more time and energy to focus on your strengths. Everyone has their own area of true mastery! And it is this way for a reason…
The world is not made up of perfect people, and was never meant to be. We imposed this on ourselves. Humans are made as a perfect combination and addition to each other.
The road to every change starts with a first step. Define one weakness that is easy for you to embrace and let go of trying to master it perfectly. It doesn’t mean you won’t have that element in your life anymore. Assistants have to do a lot, the things which fall into the scope of our official tasks are only the beginning. In some cases we do need to be good at everything our exec asks of us. But the true professional will know when to say ‘I can do it’ vs ‘I will find someone to do it’.
Guard your time and your resources like a treasure worth more than money can buy. Because if you do not deliver, it’s your head on the line. Unfortunate but true.
I know, saying NO is difficult. I’m right in the middle of a period in my life where I simply need to say no more often or I will not have time to deliver on my promises. Or worse… not spending time with my daughter who is growing up too fast. I realized that some moments I will never be able to get back (like the moments with your loved ones). That was groundbreaking for me. Nobody says on their deathbed that they wish they had spent more time at the office, right?!
What changed my perception of life is the realization that if I ‘break down’ I will not be able to deliver at all. We, Assistants, tend to forget our main tool of productivity — our body! We tend to skip lunches, rest, exercise, sleep… let alone meditation, personal development and time to read.
Find your ways to pamper yourself, set date nights with yourself and don’t let anything come in-between. I promise you one thing: you will fail the first few times and you will not even feel bad about it. That is your warning sign that you need to slow down now!
Yes, spending time on yourself will be awkward and you will probably be checking your phone or email every three minutes. Be nice to yourself! Simply acknowledge the interruption and return to your personal awesomeness. At some point you will feel the difference in your mood, energy levels and mindset after just 30 minutes of exclusive me time. That is all we need to recharge. Start with 30-minute blocks. You will cherish and look forward to those moments. Brian Tracy explains it like this: our mind needs about 20 minutes to calm down. Like in a bucket of muddy water, after 20 minutes the dirt sinks to the bottom and you will experience a clear and fresh mind. I love this metaphor!
Define and focus on your strengths (one to three are good enough). Set more time aside to engage with them or start a project with your strength as your core element. This will recharge you like crazy!
Admit your weaknesses and find a ‘delegated’ solution for it, one that balances out your weaknesses and completes your skillset. Start with one. Once mastered, you will take on the rest of them with ease and great determination.
Don’t forget to spend precious me time on Personally Awesome YOU!
This is the holy trinity to ensure your ICONIC PA brand thrives and stays unshakeable. Furthermore, you will set an example for others to follow. You will represent a strong professional through action and consistency. This way your exec will know you obviously value yourself, so you know how to value them too. Remember that a personal brand is a ‘social reflection’. If you show that you acknowledge yourself, others will do so too! You set the outline for your brand, not others.
Use this ‘weakness’ selection tool to form your dream PA brand. It’s really a game of simplicity, combination and completion.
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