Like building a lasting relationship, maintaining our personal brand is something that we have to keep working on. We evolve through our experiences and interactions with others, and our personal brand evolves with us. This is why it's important to continually check in and re-evaluate how we define it.
For me, I know I need to take stock again when my gut instinct tells me I am growing and changing. It often begins with a state of restlessness and I think we all need to listen to that instinct. Lately, I have found myself feeling a bit antsy, and I thought revisiting my Five I AMs might help reset my priorities.
The Five I AMs method, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is as straightforward as it sounds: simply list five things that are true about yourself. These can be statements like "I am loyal" or "I am a thrill seeker." Whatever feels right for you. The first time I played the game was at a dinner party and it caught me off guard because, as easy as you might think this will be, it actually requires a lot of thought.
Knowing how to narrow down the essence of YOU is integral to shaping a consistent personal brand. If we don't know who we truly are, how can we stay strong through the growth and change that we all experience?
When my five words change, it doesn't mean those things are no longer a part of who I am, it just means they don't figure as prominently in my life at the moment. It's really helpful to see how my life fits in with this evolving profile -- especially when I'm feeling that familiar sense of growth -- because it gets me back on track.
Here are my Five I AMs today:
"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."Brené Brown
I AM Authentic. Being authentic is the most consistent part of who I am -- everything I do can be traced back to this "I am." If something doesn't feel authentic to me, I won't do it. That's how I came to wear all black every day. Colour just didn't feel like ME, so I stopped wearing it and, as I mentioned in Marie Claire, people took me more seriously because I took myself more seriously. I have always tried my best to be authentic in all areas of my life, from my #allblackeverything style to the relationships I keep and to the business I have built. I know authenticity is quite the buzz word these days, but to me it is a consistent reminder of where I came from, where I'm going and who I will always be.
"People often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." Mahatma Ghandi
I AM A Believer Of My Dreams. What I mean by that is, although I have always been a dreamer and I do dream big, I am also grounded and able to make my dreams a reality. Dreaming is important because I really believe the sky is the limit, but I know if I want my dreams to come true, I must work towards making them happen. Just like how our decisions determine our destiny, we need to be proactive in realizing our dreams. Understanding this gives me an edge and, with my head in the clouds and my feet planted firmly on the ground, I "Believe" I can make impossible possible.
"We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden." Johann Wofgang Van Goethe
I AM Always Evolving. This is an "I am" that has not changed. Connect with the person you are and the one you want to become. If you let yourself evolve -- even embrace that process -- you can reinvent, refine and explore. By letting myself evolve, I've let go of things that don't work and I've embraced situations that I didn't originally conceive possible. I have a tattoo that says "Be Brave" -- it is a constant reminder to be brave enough to embrace change.
"The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy." Meryl Streep
I AM Empathetic. For me, being empathetic is part of living with an open heart. I feel empathy for people on a daily basis and I always try to see the positive in situations especially if they are behaving out of character. I genuinely care about people and this is what motivates a huge part of my life -- from mentoring my team to supporting the kids in Haiti through Artists for Peace and Justice -- but it's also something that I apply to all my relationships. I am sensitive and feel things deeply, and I always try to understand what other people are going through. The way I fit this quality into my work and life is by listening more and talking less, paying more attention to the people around me, and trying to understand things from their perspective. This also goes back to having an open heart and not judging others. Everyone has their own life to lead, their own lessons to learn. Having empathy is what allows all of us to be more open and understanding of our journey.
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants." Coco Chanel
I AM Mindful. And finally, I am mindful about everything I do. I take deliberate actions in all areas of my life, weighing all the pros and cons, so much that I tend to see three sides to everything! I might be more deliberate than the average person but I feel this is an important part of maintaining a consistent personal brand. Even what I post on social media is a representation of who I am; I never post things without carefully considering how it fits into my brand profile.
The Five I AMs is a simple, fun game that will help connect you with your true self, and it can be a very useful tool to come back to when you're unsure about taking that next step in life. The insights you'll achieve from this exercise can be used on making small decisions, like what style to wear, just as effectively as on large decisions, like what career path to take. It's all part of building a personal brand that grows and evolves, and it starts with knowing what's right for YOU.
If you had to define yourself in five words, what would you say?