It was my fourth phone call with Amit that month. The previous hour-long calls, while managing our work and different time zones, hadn’t brought down the interest in the subject. Instead, the feeling of being on the verge of something important persisted.
The broad question that got us thinking was how careers are affected in uncertain times. The world is changing fast. Employers’ expectations from employees as well as employees’ expectations from employers are changing significantly. Moreover, the classical assumption that merely doing a good job can advance your career is getting beaten to extinction. Along with the right skills, new world order demands you to have a personal brand. Unfortunately, for most of the professionals, this isn’t on the top of their list.
There is a saying, “The fresh crop adopts fast, top rules the nest, and middle adjusts.” Without a doubt, the most affected group in this current atmosphere is middle management. They are always the first to go through the rigor of unlearning, re-learning, and adjusting to new realities.
So, at the end of the fourth call, we decided to dig deeper.
A couple of frustrating weeks later, our research had hardly yielded anything substantial. Typical personal branding advice that we found usually went like this, “Identify your target market, find what they like, consume, or buy. Then polish your offerings and branding to match that.”
Our own experience has taught us that personal branding, by itself, is not complete. Personal background and long-term aspirations have to be aligned and part of this journey. When you start to explore personal branding without due consideration to these critical elements, it feels like force-fitting. Retrofitting seldom works, and hence there’s a weird disconnect.
The result of our deliberation for months was a powerful and practical approach that every professional must understand. Writing YOU 3.0 gave us quiet confidence that it will help you in setting up that foundation.
There is an interesting pattern in every good comedy. First, there is a setup, and then there is a punch line. Our professional life is much like that. We keep accumulating degrees, certificates, talents, resources, car, motorbike, house, and so on - all material aspects of life. That is our setup.
But the problem is, while most people know what their setup is, they don’t know what their punch line is. And, without a punch line, there is no joke. Similarly, without meaningfully using your setup for life’s purpose, there is no self-fulfillment or self-actualization.
As a result of that missing aspect, most people remain frustrated throughout their careers without ever understanding why. They live with unfulfilled dreams only because they remain obscure and can’t create the necessary distinction. They are unable to identify what their punch line is, so they stay in a comfort zone and keep working on their setup. They keep adding more items to their portfolio. It’s an uncomfortable place to live your life in — don’t be “most people!”
Our objective is not just to show you a pathway for achieving professional goals; we want you to do it with self-discovery and personal branding. We want to show you how to stay relevant in any disruption and how to focus on the very thing that you can control the best — you, your reputation, and your brand.
We understand that everyone who will read YOU 3.0 may not be at the same stage in their professional journey. Nonetheless, it will help you with one of the three ways. If you already know most of these things, it will reinforce what you know. If you have forgotten some of them, it will be a great reminder. More importantly, it will also help you by revealing new ideas and insights for progressing and achieving your personal as well as professional goals.
The strategy we explained in the book also has a particular syntax. So, we sequenced each chapter according to that syntax. For example, building and utilizing your connections and network may not be useful until you’ve figured out and fine-tuned your story, expertise, and value proposition. Moreover, there is no point in working on visibility if you haven’t built a significant network of people around you.
But, one thing we are confident of — none of the content is theoretical. We have applied it in our lives, and it has worked for us. And, no matter who you are or what you have done in the past, we believe that everyone has a mountain of value to offer. Of course, you must articulate, package, and showcase it strategically.
What is the point of having a good strategy, but doing nothing with it? Just like any journey, even here, you need to take the first step. Most of us feel that we are not cut-out for all this.
Kick out the imposter syndrome, if you are struggling with one. Don’t give in, just keep going, and it will work. The beginning is always tricky, but if you keep at it, things will improve, you’ve got this!
Disruption is perhaps the one thing you will repeatedly face during this decade. And every time it happens, there will be a tectonic shift in jobs, the economy as well as work in general.
So, go ahead, disrupt yourself, and break out of stagnation as soon as possible.
Learn to become indispensable and uniquely useful.
Upgrade yourself and be the best version of you, become You 3.0!