BRAND OR BE BRANDED.
"The world makes way for a man
who knows where he is going."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
When a livestock is branded with the symbol of a ranch, the rancher is indicating to all parties that that animal is his and should be returned if found. The animal really doesn't have a choice in the matter.
You, as a non-livestock (though there are many in society that are "sheeple"), can carve your niche and unfurl your banner so that people know that you are your own person and that you can't be lumped in with everyone else.
Or, you can either be misunderstood, misrepresented and mistaken.
You can be branded a coward, a hero, or fearless, or a weakling, or any other creative descriptor someone would like to apply to you.
You can stake your claim. You can raise your standard. You can stake your tents on the front lines of whatever it is that you espouse. And with the tools handed to you on a silver platter, most of which are on the internet (and free), you can do this even easier these days.
Friend, you can create the brand of you, or you can get lost in the crowd. You can carve your niche, or you can get lost in the herd. For that matter, you can establish your strong voice or you can get lost in the heard, or not heard at all. You can make yourself known so that when adversity strikes (aka, cutbacks, layoffs, restructurings, business closures, etc.) or if you decide to go a new direction with your career or change careers entirely, you already have a network of people that are plugged in to what you're doing.
In "Crush It: Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion", Gary Vaynerchuk states, "Whether you're delivering your content by video, podcast or blog, it's the authentic you, the one thing that is guaranteed to differentiate you from everybody else, including those who share your niche or business model... The thing that most people don't realize is that in today's world your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same... Your latest tweet and comment on Facebook and most recent blog post? That's your resume now... Think about how different your situation would look if you got laid off but had been keeping up your personal brand and become well established as a hot commodity... Consumers want you to tell them the truth, they want to know that the person they're dealing with is honest..."
"No man who bothers about originality
will ever be original: whereas if you
simply try to tell the truth
(without caring twopence how
often it has been told before)
you will, nine times out of ten,
become original without
ever having noticed it."
You can be led by the nose to the next pasture, or even to the slaughter, and you never had a choice in the matter.
Or you can be authentic and real and your audience will gather like iron filings to a magnet.
It's been said hundreds of times, but just in case you've missed the message, the days of working for the same company for 30, 40, 50 years are over. You cannot afford to be blown in every direction by the winds of change WITHOUT having your own network in place. Change is inevitable, but you can position yourself to best weather that change.