What’s your secret sauce?
What makes you unique?
How is your approach different from that of everyone else?
What makes you, you?
When it comes time to package a message around one’s personal brand, clarity on those distinguishing factors seems to be where most people struggle.
But I’ve found that our pivotal life moments – the moments that are forever etched in our memories – tell the story of who we really are.
Because more often than not, who we are is who we’ve always been.
The life moments, our first or earliest memories of feeing disappointed, torn, devastated…
Our first recollections of feeling powerful, exhilarated, energized…
Those first memories of feeling confused, furious, or that life was unfair…
What do you remember?
What sticks out to you, even now?
How did those life events change you?
I have a vivid memory of playing on the playground in elementary school. My elementary school was pretty racially diverse, but socially segregated. Yet somehow I always found myself straddling the line.
Back then your ‘cool quotient’ was calculated by how fast you could run on the playground at recess. The 3-4 other Black girls in my grade were fast; and as the only Black girl lacking speed, I felt cursed. But I was cool enough, just not as cool as the girls who came in first and second place in every foot race.
I remember one day another speed-less girl – a little White girl – was accused of having the dreaded ‘cooties’ during recess. The playground suddenly cleared out after this accusation, and the little girl was left dangling on her swing, all alone.
I can remember as the crowd sped away, one reluctant classmate turned back and asked me “Aren’t you coming? She has cooties, you can’t stay with her…” and there I was, torn between going with the crowd, and doing what I felt was right.
I knew then that I couldn’t leave her, that the rest of the students would be alright, that I may have to pay a price for being in such close proximity to her cooties. But it was a price I was willing to pay.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her there all alone with no one to play with. It just wasn’t in me to do it.
And it still isn’t.
Years later, I don’t like leaving people behind. It’s who I’ve always been. I have attended expensive conferences only to go home and blog about everything I learned so others could learn, too. When I was a journalist, I dedicated my beat to giving voice to those who didn’t have a microphone. And as a PR woman and a coach I’ve used my skills to amplify the voices of others. I’ve built a business around unlocking the gifts of people who may not have felt they fit anywhere else.
And every time I do that, every time I make a choice that may not necessarily be the most popular or profitable, it speaks volumes for my brand on my behalf.
And better yet, it attracts people who are also on that same frequency.
What are some of the pivotal life moments that you remember?
What memories are etched in your brain and heart, years later, even now?
And what story are those memories – the ones you’ve held on for decades – telling about you today?
Applications are open for the next round of Package Your Genius Academy
I’m excited to work with a few more high achievers who have a track record of professional success and need help framing their story, articulating their value to the clients who need them, and becoming more visible through media and speaking.
have had some success in one area, but want to make a shift and do something you’ve never done before,
don’t know how to clearly describe what you do, package who you are, or sell yourself to others, or
have had on the job successes and are often praised for your work but now want to translate that into more consulting opportunities, apply here.
As always, Package Your Genius: 5 Steps to Build Your Most Powerful Personal Brand is available on A