(And yes, I frequently use crayons in my work. No, I'm not worried it makes me look childish. Well, maybe a little. But not a lot.)
(Also, Part 1 of this post is here, if you're just joining us now.)
Before I did this work that I'm about to share, I'll admit that the word "values" made me think of dull, boring things like right-wing conservative politicians yammering on about "family values", which to me personally means very little. Actually, come to think of it, it does mean something, but when used in that context, it feels like words that are smokescreens and that have other, devious meanings, like "oppression" and "intolerance" under the guise of "family values."
But I trust Tiffany (my life coach). And I'm learning to trust the process. So when, after a coaching call where we talked about how I wanted to use social media less, she gave me her workbook "Social Media Rehab" and I read a section in it about values, I thought, "OK, I'll trust Tiffany on this. I'll give this values stuff a shot."
Also, Tiffany had shared her "brand tree" with us in the 100RL program. I'll show you my own brand tree in a bit (once I tell you how I figured out what to put in it) but this, basically, is a brand tree:
And your values are at the bottom, and what the rest of it all springs from. Well, without knowing my values, I couldn't fill in the rest! So I took a deep breath, and stared down the big scary list of values to pick out the ones that resonated with me.
Like all the other exercises so far, at first, looking at the task, I was scared. I didn't know where to start. I wanted to just not do it. But then I picked up the pen, and wrote something. (Or in this case, circled something.)
The thing about values is, they're super subjective. What do they really mean? You could argue that forever. But I haven't got forever, and if I did, I wouldn't want to spend it debating what "accomplishment" or "goodwill" really look like. So, again, another theme that's emerging (along with "so I picked up the pen, and wrote something"): I went with my gut.
The other feeling I encountered was feeling like I should value all these things. These are all good things. But, to be blunt, you can't pick them all. So move on, Leah!
After I picked my top ten, I ranked them using this exercise.
And then a week later, I had a call with Tiffany, and that's when the fun started. (Ha!) It felt like Alice in Wonderland a bit, because what she did was then compare each value to one other value. "Would you rather have wisdom without trust, or trust without wisdom?" Well, how the heck do you decide that? "Would you rather have wisdom without love, or love without wisdom?" "Would you rather have wisdom without fun, or fun without wisdom?" I quickly felt disoriented in a never-ending maze of values that quickly lost meaning. But it was fast. Pick one of the two and move on. It took about thirty minutes and in the end I was a bit worn out. And in the end my list of values had got re-arranged again.
The good thing to keep in mind is that these things are always in flux. This list is not set in stone. I will grow and change as my life continues and my values can too. But having a list is a starting point. It's a solid base to stand on. To look at and say, "I need these things to be present in my life, day to day, to feel good." You can also think about how you are honoring each value, in a given day. How am I honoring wisdom today? How am I honoring communication? And the honoring of them can be small acts, like for example, going to the library to be surrounded by many people's wisdom in the form of books.
So then, the next step: I put those 10 values in my brand tree.
The next thing is coming up with your three brand words. I asked Tiffany about this and she said to spend some time looking at brands I admire and think about what I connect with, about them. And to think about the brand words in this way: "I want everything my business/I does/do to be __________ or ___________ or __________." And, to think about the value I want to provide to my customer, and how I want to provide it.
The three brand words I came up with are clarity, groundedness, and beauty. Again, these can change! That's the freeing part.
Then it felt like it was time to start creating a brand look. And that's where I hit another wall. I'm a designer, so I feel a lot of should inside myself about what I should be able to do. I did some research (which, to be honest, is usually a way of stalling, for me, not actually productive) and downloaded some free and cheap PDFs from other people talking about how to brand yourself.
And then (can you see a theme here?) I picked up the pen, and wrote. LOL.
Next week, I'll share my branding process so far, which will include a cool eCourse I took from Braid Creative. (Which, holy crap, if I could afford them at all right now, would I ever want to work with them! Check them out, they're badass lady bosses. I love it!)
I hope you have a wonderful, productive and inspired week, my dears, and don't be shy -- it thoroughly makes my day to hear your thoughts!