In today’s 24-7 culture, most of us are rushing around so furiously we don’t take the time to take stock of ourselves.
There is a terrific article in the October 2007 Harvard Business Review by Tony Schwarz called “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.” If you haven’t seen it, grab it now. It could change your life. And I don’t say that lightly.
The article makes the point that “most people are living at such a furious pace that they rarely stop to ask themselves what they stand for and who they want to be. As a consequence they let external demands dictate their actions.”
Sure, we may have a perfect elevator pitch and are making great strides at work, but ultimately true personal success comes from deep within. The idea is to create more meaning and focus in our lives and align what we’re doing with whom we want to be. Putting it like that may sound a bit new agey but the author makes it all very real. Here are some questions he suggests you ask yourself:
Are you not spending enough time at work doing what you do best and enjoy the most?
Are there significant gaps between what you say is most important to you in your life and how you actually allocate your time and energy?
Are your decisions at work more influenced by external demands than by a strong, clear sense of your own purpose?
Are you not investing enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others in the world?
Do you spend much of your day reacting to immediate crises and demands rather than focusing on activities with longer-term value and high leverage?
If you answered “yes” to those questions, you may be headed for what Schwartz terms an “energy crisis,” where you’re not managing your energy effectively.
What does all this have to do with personal branding?
Your personal brand is ultimately a reflection of your character. If your life is out of synch, you’re working too many hours to be healthy and not taking time to recharge yourself, your personal brand will suffer – not to mention your life. Schwartz’s studies have shown that “personal renewal leads to more sustainable performance.” Simple things like taking time to eat better, exercise, reframing negative emotions and developing healthy rituals to replace negative ones can result in more energy and productivity. Feeling renewed can’t help but recharge how you articulate and translate your personal brand into action.
What are you doing to boost your energy and productivity and put your life in balance? How has that helped you improve your personal brand? I’d love to hear from you.
Wendy Marx • Public Relations and Personal Branding • President, Marx Communications, Inc.