Let’s start with the Good. Tributes and memorials to John McCain recently dominated the news for weeks. The word most used to describe him was Maverick. Close behind were many more accolades such Hero, Patriot, Courageous, Honest and Likeable. What a wonderful footprint to leave behind. He was a leader and role model who led from within – from his positive core values and deep beliefs.
Examples of the Bad and the Ugly also dominate the news. Sadly these examples seem to outweigh the Good. All of the prominent names brought to light by the #MeToo movement. All of the hidden names in the Catholic Church abuse and cover up scandals. All these numerous examples of bad behavior are outward reactions to bad moral principles. And then there is the President who demonstrates core beliefs and personal attributes that few want to model.
What is the footprint that you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about you? Whether you are leaving a job, a relationship, or ultimately this life, you will be leaving a footprint behind. Be proactive and consciously develop your personal brand. Here’s how to begin to shape that brand.
- What you do is a reflection of who you are. All of the examples above and the many more role models and leaders in the news clearly show that actions and core ethics are directly connected. Behavior and actions follow values. In order to achieve good results, start with a solid foundation.
- Consider who you want to be. What core principals or core values resonate with you? To get started, a simple internet search can provide numerous lists on this topic. Narrow the possibilities to a personal top 5 by reviewing times when you were happiest, or times when you were the most proud, or times when you were the most fulfilled. Check your list with a friend or someone who can give you valuable feedback.
- Pick a theme. In addition to your core values, you can envision your life according to a theme. Think of your theme as a recurring melody that plays through the seasons and creates the energy for your actions. As examples, consider how you relate to or embrace Love, Adventure, Change or Learning.
- Create a Visual. A visual display will keep your theme and values at the top of your mind. Be artistic or be practical with your visual. Post it on the mirror, a wall, or the refrigerator where it calls attention and serves to remind. Your visual display will need to be changed from time to time because your mind absorbs the display over time. It will no longer be eye catching. Move it or change it in order to refresh it.
- Develop habits. Start each day with affirmations. Acknowledge your core beliefs and inner strengths. Anticipate the events of the day. What actions will you strive to take that will be a reflection of your core beliefs and personal theme?
- Pause to reflect– Wrap up your day with reflection. Did you do your best to incorporate your core values and theme? What change would you make? What do you want more of and what do you want less of?
Begin now to shape the footprint that you will leave behind. Be proactive and develop habits that are a reflection of a core belief that you have consciously acknowledged and developed.