Learning Agility: How Flexible & Creative Is Your Brand?

Ever wonder how some people just have greater and better capacity for life than others? I’m not talking just in business, but in what seems all aspects of their live.  Ever wonder why the entrepreuner can really wear all the hats of CEO and Chief Bathroom Cleaner, too?

In my time, I’ve learned that being flexible and open to new ideas is one of the most important attributes  in my life.  The only attribute higher for me personally is integrity.

Being an immigrant has always helped me be flexible, nimble and see the world of options before me. That’s just how we grew up.  We moved to the US with two suitcases thinking we were just here on vacation. We never ended up leaving, which was fantastic. When I stop and think about how much my parents had to tolerate change and be flexible and creative, I’m astounded.

I lost some of my willingness to try new things and flexibility to adapt when I was knee deep into the practice of law. I’m not quiet sure what it was.  Maybe it was because my days were very predictable and the law was founded in precedence.  I really didn’t think anyone cared for me to be creative, flexible and take on new learnings beyond my substantive practice.  Being a lawyer was hard enough, it seemed.

But somewhere deep inside me, I was yearning to learn new things, adapt and try on new roles and experiences in life that may have made me uncomfortable, but would have been fun and creative.  I was used to discomfort and sitting in the unknown. In a way, I thrive on novelty and unchartered territory, but I also have compassion for how others may not share my views.

Fast forward all these years to now, where I run this personal branding company.  What I ask of my clients all day long is for them to sit in discomfort, put on a creative hat and try to learn from new experiences and apply their lessons learned to new situations.  In particular, I want them to apply their lessons to new situations that may not always be predictable and comfortable.

This is the hallmark of a dynamic and creative personal brand.  People will always stand up and notice you and your brand if you are agile, fluid and creative.  People welcome your self-confidence to try on something new.

In the workplace this notion is referred to as “learning agility”.   In fact, The Korn Ferry Institute says learning agility is a leading predictor of talent and leadership success for people.  Korn Ferry also finds that learning agility is rare, with only 15% of the workforce being highly learning agile.

John Delaney, Dean of the school of business at University of Pittsburgh, said it best in a Huffington Post article about this very subject.  Professor Delaney said, “Learning agility is what happens when a lawyer is asked to maintain a robust social media presence or a financial professional is tapped to open a global office even with limited knowledge of the new country’s economy or culture, and yet they overcome their lack of experience and discomfort and find a way to simply make it work.  Those who are learning agile know what to do when they don’t know what to do. They know the questions to ask, the people to work with to find the answers they need and they are comfortable being uncomfortable.

So what does this mean for you? Stop and ask yourself

How willing and self-confident are you to take that next step at work even when you not sure what to do? How about in your personal life?

How often do you find yourself in uncomfortable situations where you are willing to tough it out in order to find a solution?

How creative do you allow yourself and your brand be in order to grow as a human and a leader?

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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