Patagonia, Competition and Your Personal Brand:How to Best Co-exist

When I was a practicing attorney, it felt to me like everyone was in constant competition with one another. I was competing with other attorneys for billable hours and clients. There was a feeling of competition for jobs and accolades. And of course, there was competition for “stuff”. You know- cars, clothes and friends.

I was fortunate to practice in Washington DC and have lots of wonderful colleagues and friends around me. So the impact of competition wasn’t so bad on me. Yet, it was the nature of the game. Or so I thought. It wasn’t until I had left the practice of law for several years that I started to really see things differently.

Fast forward 10 years later. Now, as part of personal brand development of professionals, I take a very different stand on competition. I want all clients to stay in their current careers. I reexamine competition for them to be able to do so effectively.

I believe that if we really know how we are unique and different, then no one is competition. Everyone is complimentary. This serves to reduce the stress of competing. It also serves to elevate our self-confidence and open our eyes to creative thinking and “being”.

One of my favorite quotes on competition comes from environmental scientist, Donella Meadows. Meadows profoundly stated, “…Yes, the earth says compete. But leave enough for your competition… Don’t annihilate….We are not in a war, but in a community…”

Case in point is the privately held company Patagonia. It was profiled in Fast Company Magazine recently. Run by CEO, Rose Marcario, a practicing Buddhist, the company is referred to as a paradox of sorts. Why? The company has ad campaigns stating, “don’t buy our products”. Yet in recent years Patagonia’s profitability and operations have grown. How is that possible? Well, in order to save resources on Earth the company values consumption based on your needs.

Guess what else? Patagonia freely shares it’s expensive R&D findings with its’ competitors. Why? As Marcario puts it so eloquently in her Fast Company interview, “Here, you can have our intellectual property because at the end of the day this will be better for the planet. If you guys (competitors) adopt it you can scale more, because you’re way bigger than us.”

And that’s called co-existing in a community, profiting AND having a fabulous personal brand (Marcario) and business brand (Patagonia). That’s what integrity in business looks like.

So what does this mean for you? Well, stop and consider:

– How much does competition drive your life? Does it feel healthy or obsessive?

– If you are ultra competitive, how do you show up as a personal brand to others- attractive or otherwise?

– What’s one step you can take to shift your way of “being” to view competition differently for yourself? Don’t wait to do so. Start now so you can transform your life, career and brand.

katypurispersonalbranding-com

I moved to this country with my family in 1979 from Iran. We came with two suitcases thinking we’d stay for two weeks. We stayed a lifetime. I went to law school because I wanted to help humanity AND because I felt that if I was a lawyer, then I would fit in and be accepted and respected. I practiced for 15 years as a successful securities lawyer. One day I realized I was wealthy, miserable and no longer helping humanity. I quit my job as a lawyer within a month. As a spiritually-minded business person, I started to listen to the Universe and my intuition. Through a series of miracles, I ended up finding my natural talents and gifts, which are the ability to realize and evolve peoples’ assets very clearly. During the first two years of my “retirement” as a lawyer, I saw an ad in a community college catalog that read, “What do Oprah, Bill Gates & Warren Buffet Have in Common?” The answer was said to be that they were all practicing their natural talents. So I went to the workshop and learned excitedly and incredulously that my natural talent is in personal brand management for others. From this workshop, my horizons opened and I devised a number of programs highlighting others’ talents and abilities, wrapping it in a “personal brand” package. Initially, I had no idea how these gifts would work in coming together; but for the past seven years I have been running a personal brand management company. We work with individuals and companies to unearth their uniqueness, communicate this to their target audience, and then manage all perceptions. The mission of my company: While appreciating the oneness of humanity, my goal is to highlight for others their specific talents and abilities in order to bring greater joy and success to all areas of their lives. This is how I do my part to cultivate a world of love and kindness where I promise through my example that no one is forgotten and everyone is appreciated. Personal brand management is based on defining and understanding your uniqueness, communicating it effectively to your target market and managing the perception of your personal brand. Your personal brand comes first. It is about you and NOT your business logo or marketing materials or PR. YOU must have a personal brand before you: a) can have marketing material and b) are press worthy. An effective personal brand starts with the understanding of who you are as a business owner and an individual. Without this solid foundation of a sense of self, it is not possible to build an effective personal brand that then translates into effective business branding. Throughout my career and life, I have been blessed with an eye for the creative process around building a successful personal brand. I finally stopped and listened to all the people who kept asking me for help in making their personal brand and business a success. Most of these people were lawyers trying to figure out how to stand out as attorneys in society. I was enlightened by the concept of following my natural talent. I wanted to help other businesses have an effective personal brand and thus, increase revenues, productivity, morale and sales. For fifteen years, I worked as an attorney in multiple areas of corporate America. For over eight years I practiced in Washington DC: the Securities & Exchange Commission, lobbying on Capitol Hill, and working in a law firm. I then moved to California working as in-house corporate counsel and then consulting via my own business. I hold undergraduate degrees in Finance, Accounting and Economics and a law degree. My clientele include numerous law firms , corporations, law schools, specialty institutions, retail corporations, CPA firms, engineering firms, financial services firms, dental professionals, medical professionals, as well as many smaller businesses. I am an author and public speaker on personal branding, leadership, marketing and business development. I have been appointed to serve on the ABAs Law Practice Management (LPM) Division Webzine, Nominating Committee and Women Rainmaker Boards. I have contributed numerous articles to the ABA and been a frequent speaker at various ABA conferences. I believe in being active and giving back to our community as part of your personal brand and mainly because it is good Karma! I am on the national board of directors of The Women Of Color In the Law. I also serve on the San Diego board of directors of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

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