I ended my last post by sending out personal emails to 15 people. I chose these particular people for three reasons.
I have worked with all of them in either a business setting or outside of work, my relationship with them was such that I had a high confidence they would respond, and finally, their opinion really does matter to me.
I respect all of them enough that if their responses came back with something that really gave me pause, I would begin taking actions to change my behaviors.
I was a little concerned from a timing standpoint when I sent the emails because it was spring break for nearly all of them. For this reason, I decided to allow five days after sending out the emails before I would go into “panic” mode.
I had already decided that I would not send a reminder to those who did not respond. I was really hoping I would not need to pick additional people for this task. Much to my surprise, the first response came back within an hour.
As the responses came back, I chose not to read them right away. Instead, I created a folder in my Gmail account and moved them, unopened, into that folder.
Why I did this I'm not really sure. It might be because I was actually a little concerned about what the responses would be. What if they chose completely different skills or attributes that I've never considered? Remember these are people whose opinion I value.
Demons in my head aside, I waited, and after 5 days I had received back 10 of the 15 requests, 66%. Not bad. After my 5 days self-imposed injunction, I sat down and read each one. I'm glad I waited, as some of the responses really surprised me.
CONSTRUCTING MY PERSONAL BRAND “SMILE FILE”
Kathy recommended I compile all of the responses into what she affectionately calls a Smile File, which turned out to be a very apropos as this is exactly what it made me do.
You see we spend so much time questioning ourselves that we rarely spend any time “seeing” the good things. When you have the opportunity to see what others think about you and your skills it is very eye opening. When was the last time you had that happen to you?
Task Three A:
Recall in task two I had to list out what I thought my friends and colleagues would say about me. The second part of task three take the smile file and list out the top 5 skills and attributes that were actually said about me.
According to those who responded to my request, these are the top five skills and attributes they believe I exhibit.
In addition, to listing the skills and attributes, I was also asked to list out any phrases that may have come out of the emails. Fortunately, I had a good mix of words and phrases. Here are the phrases that really caught my attention as I read through my smile file.
The final task was a repeat of tasks one and two with a slight spin. This time, I needed to list out the top 5 skills and attributes that I aspire to be known for and to choose a date when I want this aspiration to become reality.
Consider this for a minute. What if what you want to be known for is different from the skills and attributes you demonstrate today? The skills part will be a little easier because skills are learned but what about changing your attributes?
Remember these are inherited traits. To change them takes intentional, purposeful actions. I chose December 31, 2013, as my date for the following skills and attributes.
Task four was the final step of exercise one, Assessing your Brand. In exercise two, which is much more challenging, I begin to put together everything learned in exercise one in order to Create my Brand Message.
QUESTION: What would be in your Smile File if you sent emails to your friends and colleagues?