You are today what you experienced yesterday. You are a function, today, of all of the life experiences you have had to date. These include, but are not limited to, your major accomplishments and significant setbacks.
Jerry Wilson and Ira Blumenthal, authors of “Managing Brand You,” have contributed a very helpful body of work to anyone wanting to explore the Brand You concept more thoroughly. Subtitle “Seven Steps to Creating Your Most Successful Self,” it draws on corporate and product branding techniques and applies them to becoming the person you want to be, with the life you want.
Step One of their process is to conduct a Brand You audit. In order to conduct an effective audit, the authors suggest that you take a methodical approach to understanding more about yourself – by looking into your past memories, feelings, and experiences in various stages of your life. Specifically, they suggest you imagine your life as a series of five distinct phases. Each phase is rich with experience and learning that influence your life.
Phase One comprises your childhood from birth to 12 years of age. The key word here is “memories” – your earliest memories and experiences shape your development in profound ways.
Phase Two covers your teen years from age 13 through age 17, and can best be characterized as years of “change.” The high school years are when you faced enormous challenges of acceptance and rejection, and more than likely include periods of confusion. Though only four short years, this time has played a big role in shaping who you today.
Phase Three encompasses your young adult years – from ages 18 through 22. It is in this time period that you first experienced “independence.” During these years, it is what you learn and reapply that will really matter to understanding a new you. What you learn from your experiences is what you do to continue moving forward, to continue growing.
Phase Four is the period from ages 23 to 30, when you have reached adulthood. This is the “proving ground,” the period of establishing yourself as a real adult. It is a critical time for you: to be viewed, treated, and respected as an adult. The name you make for yourself will be a strong part of who you are becoming.
Phase Five is the longest phase, encompassing age 31 through your present age. This entire phase is about “adaptation.” By now, you are a fully functioning, full-fledged adult with all the responsibilities that go with adulthood. This longest phase represents the highest potential for growth and fulfillment. Looking at this phase with a opportunisitic and positive mindset will ensure that you continue to develop your Brand You.
Now it is time for you to dive into your own Brand You audit. Using the five phases of your life described above, the authors developed a worksheet designed to guide you through the process of a comprehensive survey of your life experiences, without regard to importance or relevance. Then, you identify the core themes from each life phase. Finally, you develop thee core themes into life-learning.
Want to know more? Check out page 49 for a blank audit form, with the following pages giving a real-life example.
If you are going to create the best Brand You possible, you’ve got to start with the experiences that made you, well, you!