The Standards and Codes Academy afforded me the opportunity to develop and present a training class last week (during the Becoming Agents of Change two-day training event) with the same title of this article. During the preparation for the class, I had the opportunity to explore feelings which led me to determine that this presentation became cathartic to me.
I started the session by asking the attendees if change is inevitable. The overwhelming majority of folks responded in the positive with clapping emoji’s and hearts. The chat was filled with affirmations. To that, I followed up with the simple question, “if change is in fact inevitable, what’s your plan?” Suddenly, the chat fell silent and there were no streaming emoji hearts or handclaps to be seen. This amazingly simple question stumped a virtual room full of very smart people from all over the country. It was that moment I understood how impactful this training session would be for both the attendees and for me.
The first take away from the class…you must have a plan!
Why is the change happening, why now, and what if I do not change? All valid questions to ask yourself but understanding how to plan for change makes changing successful. Easier said than done right? but trying to develop coping mechanisms for responding to change has worked for me in the past.
The second take away from the class…inevitably, in addition to change happening, you are going to encounter hate in the form of someone disliking you, or what you do.
Potentially, the hate can come from someone deemed irrelevant to you and your personal mission- no problem; but when there is in fact a connection, it can render your quest for relevancy difficult. People who I have come to believe are simply “detractors” are just unhappy with your “personal brand” and progress. In other words – a critic. During the class, I mentioned the process of personal branding, and how it involves finding your “uniqueness.” I have personally spent years building a reputation on the things that I want to be known for and worked hard to be known for them. In the public sector world, this was a strike against me because my “brand” meant being an integral part of my organization- but my detractors were seeking relevance themselves.
Their hate started with bias that was left unchecked. Bias in this case was a preference against me that affected that person’s ability to judge me fairly. When that bias is left unchecked, it becomes normalized and accepted. I became a perceived threat to the status quo, which I have grown to understand meant I was doing something right! In these times, negative word of mouth can have damaging effects on you, but thanks to the power of social media, people can now easily gather and share information on their experience with you and your brand and choose for themselves. Simply put, use negativity as motivation!
The final take away from the class…align yourself with someone traveling forward in the business you choose.
Build your personal brand around significance; meaning, the activities and values involved in your desired field. Learn how to share your brand values clearly so that those who are in your field recognize your potential and want to connect. Your brand should resonate with your “audience” so even those with high visibility notice you. Think about your contributions deliberately and with a purpose.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “relevance” as “the state of being intricately connected or appropriate to the matter in hand.” In my opinion, the matter at hand is you, so get connected