Last Saturday I received a very interesting text message. It was from a former client of mine who was the CEO of a popular American brand. The text said that she wanted to talk about potentially working together on a new marketing campaign. She wanted to know if I could talk the next day. Which, for those of you familiar with calendars, was Sunday.
I have always really liked this woman. She is smart, savvy and aggressive. But what made her text particularly interesting was that I hadn’t seen or spoken to her in 5 years. That’s right. 5 years. So I was quite surprised to hear from her. Pleasantly surprised, yet surprised nonetheless.
Sunday afternoon we jumped on a call (actually there was no real jumping). She told me that about the exciting things unfolding at a new company that she is now leading. She said:
The work we need to do requires someone who is passionate, strategic and highly creative. And the first person I thought of that fits that description is you. -Former Client
That may have been baloney. I may have been the 5th person she thought of. Or the 50th. Or 500th. But the thing that struck me was the Venn diagram she referenced.
Venn diagrams are like filters, sorters or separators. They are like visual algorithms. They help identify people places and things that have a specified combination of required attributes. And based on her evaluation, I fit into the small space at the intersection of strategic, creative and passionate.
I was flattered, honored and appreciative of her comments. And when I quieted my own humility, I had to agree with her evaluation. I have worked very hard at developing both my strategic and creative skills for decades. They are areas of relative strength. And I am a naturally passionate human. However I don’t take any credit for that. Because baby, I was born this way.
Our personal brands are nothing more than Venn Diagrams. We are sorted and remembered for our distinct combination of traits and abilities. It is how we quickly summarize and categorize each other.
Following that phone call I thought a lot about my own VD (um… maybe we should stick with Venn diagram). I wondered about what venn diagrams I had created in the other people’s’ minds. I wondered about the good, the bad and the ugly. I thought about my strengths and weaknesses. I thought and the various impressions I have made along the way. I thought that I should ask for feedback from other people to better understand my venn diagram.
Do you have a strong brand image? What unique combination of assets or liabilities describes you? Do you get sorted into the groups you want to be in? Do people think of you at all? If not, it is time to develop your own Venn diagram. Work on sharpening your strengths. Put them to great use. Add value. And let me know the next time you find yourself in a satisfying venn diagram. We could all use a little more of that in our lives.