In order to craft our personal brand and begin designing a successful and fulfilling life we start with three things:
We need to discover our strengths. To do this, use the Strengths Triangle. Our area for strength is where our Life Experience (stuff we’ve learned and stuff we’ve lived) intersects with our Passions (things that make us jump out of bed in the morning) and our Talents (innate abilities that can be done almost perfectly every time). For most of us, talents are hard to figure out through reflection so I recommend an assessment like the Clifton StrengthsFinder.
Having the time to discover our strengths doesn’t come easy, however. We need to carve out enough space so we can conduct a search into ourselves. Unfortunately, no one in our lives is good at giving us this space — our jobs don’t give it, most bosses don’t give it, and life in general makes it tough to find. It’s something we have to carve out for ourselves. Furthermore, there’s the challenge of money; we can’t focus on learning about what fulfills us if we’re worrying about where the rent check is going to come from. Unless we’re independently wealthy, we must find a way to manage our money and live as lean as possible during the process of discovery.
No one ever becomes successful on their own. To truly thrive we need to find a sensei. “Sensei” is a Japanese word made from two characters meaning “born before” and “one who teaches based on wisdom from age and experience” — much like our concept of “mentor.” The greatest leaders in the world all do this: they are mentored by someone and they mentor someone. We need a sensei to help us see our selves clearly–we can’t do this accurately alone.