April 15, 2010 § 6 Comments
So where are the posts, David? Yes friends, I’ve been a little delinquent in my writing, but inspired today by a post written by the awesome Fabeku, I decided to just show up.
Now I don’t want you to think I’ve been idle in my absence. I’ve actually been putting out a fair amount of content, but it has been of a more whimsical and decidedly visual bent. I’ve been a doodling fiend. If you’re interested you can check out the magic marker output (along with the occasional picture shot on the go from my phone) by visiting my posterous at http://davidscohen.posterous.com.
I’ve been enjoying this resurgence of my creativity, and frankly a little nervous about ramping up the degree to which I show the world my soft and silly side, but the fact is I preach authenticity in branding, and by gum I mean to practice it as well. (and how often do you get to say “by gum”?) I expect that the current flood of doodle inspiration will abate a bit over time, but it has been bottled up for a while and it feels good to let the drawings flow and not get too judgmental about them. I’ve picked some fairly humble materials to work with too: basically I’ve been drawing on 4″ x 6″ blank index cards and mostly using Sharpies, pens and highlighters. Sometimes I’ll use nicer art markers too – the highlighter palette is a bit limited. I keep it all on the desk so I can take my doodle breaks, scan them and tweet them to the world. So far, the world hasn’t complained, and I’m grateful for that.
I’m also cooking up a new website for Equation Arts. It’s not quite done yet, but I think it will be a better expression of who I am. Here’s a hint of things to come:
There will also be a lot of the color orange ( I love orange), and some crossover doodles will make their appearance there as well.
I hope that people who connect with me know that I’m a big believer that we all have something special to offer the world and each other, but sometimes we find ourselves framed in the wrong context – that “something special” ends up hidden, muffled, suppressed – unable to shine. So the new website is for me a shift in context toward something more authentic. I hope you’ll stick with me through the transition. Thanks! And remember…
January 30, 2010 § 4 Comments
In the last couple of years I’ve found myself steering more of my time, attention and business towards something I’m very passionate about: that is helping people to get a handle on the things that they have to offer that are truly different, special and valuable, and then helping them to connect with a community, a market, an audience that values the very difference they bring. Then we work on how to tell the story so that those who value what you have to offer don’t miss you or overlook you because you haven’t made that story prominent or clear enough. I want everybody to have the opportunity to do more of the work that they are excited about – the work that stirs up their energy, that taps their skills and brings out their best. That also means I’d like to liberate them from having too much of their time filled with the work that they are just adequate at – the stuff you say yes to because you need to pay your bills or because you’re too polite to say no, but it’s not the stuff that gets you jazzed, the stuff that taps into your particular flavor of awesome.
I think that words can help people steer their vehicle away from the merely adequate (or worse yet, the suppressed and oppressed) and get on a course toward the awesome. But the words don’t just drop out of the air. It takes introspection, it takes reflection, it takes a search for patterns, habits, values and often a process of giving yourself permission to change. In my personal branding practice I help people through all of that, and then I capture the words that become the identifier, the entry point to make brand connections. It’s an intensive process, in fact that’s where the term brand therapy came from – I didn’t make that one up, it was one of my clients who said it first, but I loved it – it stuck. And you know what? I LOVE MY JOB! But I can’t work with everybody. There isn’t enough time, and I realize that unlike a big corporation, individuals be they business people, freelancers, artists, entertainers, coaches, consultants, or folks in career transition, aren’t all going to be in a position to enlist the one-on-one attention of their own personal brand therapist.
I’ve decided that this year I want to develop some offerings that are more accessible – entry points, if you will, that will allow more people than I could reach one-on-one to explore the concepts behind branding and learn how they can apply them to their own goals, businesses, and talents. I’ve got a few things in production that I will be releasing over the course of the year, but the first offering is a teleseminar: Personal Branding Fundamentals: Be a Beacon. In this three session class I will explore the fundamentals of personal branding, go over why and how the Internet has changed your opportunities and some of the risks of sitting on the fence, and then we will dive into the Beacon Principles to give you a foundation for effectively restating your personal brand. If you’ve been struggling with how to tell your story, if you know you’ve got something great to offer the world, but aren’t getting recognized for the value you could bring, then I hope you will consider beginning the process of exploring your foundation and clarifying your message. You can’t just aspire to reach your dreams. You’re going to have to perspire too.
And remember, when you shine you make it easier for all those around you to shine too.
October 23, 2009 § 4 Comments
“Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red ‘S’? That’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. THOSE are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume.” ~Quentin Tarantino
I love that because I believe that we all have something authentic to offer, something that makes us special, something that can make us a beacon to others if we would just let that light shine for all to see. However we don’t always trust that talent, that passion, that superpower – we hide it behind a job title, we bury it underneath professional conformity. We’re taught to fit in, not stand out, but branding is about standing out. Branding requires the risk of being noticed, especially when it comes to personal branding. If you’re not noticed then your brand never has that seed from which to grow. You may be awesome, heck I’ll even go out on a not-so-skinny limb and say that you are awesome, but if we don’t know you and don’t know you for your awesomeness, well then we can’t help you and sadly we’re not going to give you the opportunity to help us.
My ambition, my purpose, my superpower if you will, is to help others to identify their difference, to give their powers a name – to accept the mantle of their inner superhero. Yes, I’ve got a soft spot for the mavericks who were born on Krypton, but there are plenty of Earth-born humans who are mutating, who took the super-soldier serum, who’ve been
bitten by radioactive spiders and feel that light burning inside. I see them all around me. I meet them every day, but they haven’t all yet come to recognize their powers or to trust them.
Kryptonite! Poisonous vapor of doubt. Kryptonite! Energy-sapping force of the dont-make wave (believed to emanate from meteorites made during the explosion of planet Me-Too). Admit it, it’s not easy to give yourself permission to stop being a face in the crowd. The life of a superhero can be super-risky, even super-embarrassing.
Have you ever worn a cape? It’s a tough look to pull off. Even Clark Kent can’t work that look because it clashes with the briefcase – it is not part of the costume, but when you dare to shrug off the Clark Kent disguise and reveal your authentic super self that’s when the cape fits – it’s not a costume it is a part of who your are. That’s when you’ll pick the color of that cape, stock your utility belt, build your secret lair… and name your powers.
“Look! Up in the sky… It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s you!” Super.
October 1, 2009 § 1 Comment
My good friend David Bailey shared the following with me. He begged me to edit it, but I liked it in its raw form:
“Human problems, top and bottom:
Top: call it the ‘kitten syndrome’.
People who find themselves with no path down from where they’ve gotten themselves in life. Even the soft ground below looks like a fatal drop, so they climb higher and higher and the problem gets worse. How to find yourself where you need to be without breaking your neck?
Maybe it’s the tree itself – the tree syndrome.
Your job is to be a tree. That’s pretty daunting, since you’re a seed.
1) What do I need at this stage?
What do I need at this stage? Water is your limiting nutrient. If you don’t soften that outer core and fill yourself with a medium for reactions to take place, you’re going nowhere. So you need water now, but what you need will change.
2) Oh, crap, where did I end up? Which direction now?
There’s no light here. Fortunately in this story, you’re not just one seed, but several.
1) Good. Got water.
2) Got light. Lucky.
1) Need soft soil for roots.
2) Okay, reach down a little to the left.