The Brand YOU

Answer to your first opportunity with competence and consistently to the rest with character

The whole concept of you as a brand isn’t novel any more. Today, a good number of people understand that they have a reputation/brand that they have consciously or unconsciously developed and that this reputation to a large extent decides how much opportunities people throw their way and how much success they achieve in life. However, I have come to know that strong brands are built deliberately and on purpose and good success is always intentional.

How then exactly do you build a strong personal brand? How do you ensure that people know you for what you want to be known for? How do you make certain that you are not mis-communicating your brand and that your brand isn’t being misunderstood by the people who interact with it?

The place to start is to engage the power of focus. Focus isn’t just the ability to stick to one thing; it is likewise or even more importantly the ability to say no to everything except one thing. Strong brands are built on the significance of one; their ability to be the first associative name when that thing is mentioned. Let me give you examples, when I say nation building, Fela Durotoye comes to mind. When I say change (good or bad), APC comes to mind. When I say soft drink, your mind easily remembers Cocacola. That’s the power of one. So first, identify your one thing.

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After identifying that thing, build your expertise and make enough noise till someone gives you a chance. One grave mistake to do in life is to wink in the dark. You have both wasted your effort as well as denied others the opportunity to experience something good. Yes it’s true that opportunity eventually finds the prepared, but sometimes it finds the fool who isn’t ready for it first especially if the prepared does nothing to be noticed. You must be ready to do all it takes to promote yourself and whatever it is that you do. Stop at nothing to raise your voice; to raise your work!

When opportunity eventually shows up, make sure you exceed expectations. Surprise them and give them more than what they bargained for. One thing that would do is that it will bring them back again. The second time they come, show them they can trust you by being consistent with the experience you delivered the first time.

It takes character to treat every honour as a privilege

However, you can only achieve this if you understand that the first time you get an opportunity, it is a privilege; the second and subsequent time, it is an honour. You must nonetheless be willing to treat every opportunity as a privilege so that you always give your best, thereby always earn the right to more honor.

Obviously, it takes character to treat every honor as a privilege, and character is the end product of a life lived completely on values. Your values are the things that you stand for. They must be invaluable to you because once they have a price tag, someone will pay you to compromise. Do you have values?

So here is the flow of thought:  Values will form your character. Character will enable consistency and competence. But competence should be specialized. Specialized competence should be promoted so as to attract opportunity. When opportunity shows up, character must not die; answer to your first opportunity with competence and consistently to the rest with character.

Afolabi 2(1)

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The Uncle stereotypes.

Hey! Did I share the good news that my only sister (elder) just gave birth to a bouncing baby boy recently. If I didn’t do that before, I am doing it now. So writing this piece today is a proud uncle of a wonderful child of promise.

The first visit I made to my sister at the hospital after she put the bed was quite an epic one. It was my first hospital visit in a long while. I hate hospitals despite the fact that I kinda work in one. They do a good job though, but the smell of it irritates me. And to think that as a fresh secondary school grad I had intentions of studying medicine. Thaaar! Anyway, this isn’t about me and my hate of hospitals so let’s move on to other things.

As I stared into his glittering eyes that faithful day, it dawned on me afresh what a baby represents which is Responsibility. Having a child is a great task and so is being an uncle (he’ll soon start asking for candies and biscuits you know). It is infact one of the greatest responsibilities that exist because you are responsible for a whole and complete new life apart from yours. That’s much! And to whom much is given, much more is expected (parable of the talents).

So all these got me thinking about all the various types of uncles that exist and the type I’d want to be to my brand new nephew. Some uncles are good for nothing, some good for somethings, and others are adorable and fabulously good for ‘everythings’.

Let’s look at them one after the other.

Stereotype1: The uncle that stays with us. This kinda describes me right now because I currently stay with my sister and her husband for reasons I won’t disclose. Not for long though, my escape plan is in order *winks*. This kind of uncle falls into the category of good for somethings. They’ll help with house chores, if smart help with school work, and sometimes pass their undersized shoes and clothes to you. They can also become your confidant, cover up, and first line defence against parental discipline and attacks. But I can’t be this uncle! They really don’t have a life of their own as they truly can’t stay on their own. Simply put- they are over aged dependants!!

Stereotype II: The uncle that lives away but is always coming back. This one is like a step ahead of stereotype I because he has an apartment of his own. But he is always coming back because he needs one favour or the other from your parents. The good thing is that he buys you biscuits whenever he visits. Apart from that, everything else is same as stereotype I.

Stereotype III: The uncle that still is still a bachelor at 40. This reminds you of that your player uncle right? LOL. These are the lover boy uncles. He is not married, neither is he single. He just doesn’t want to make commitments and as soon as his present girl starts pressurizing him to pop the question he runs! He is likely to have a nice apartment, good car, good job but still thinks he is a kid and lacks the idea that he is getting old and time is going. This kind wont give you cousins or at best he’ll make you a ‘uncle-cousin’ i.e. cousin to people you can father. By the way, he is a bad example for you despite the huge influence he is likely to have on you during your teenage years because of his flashy lifestyle. The countless tales and pictures of the uncountable beautiful women he has dated is no good for the mind of a growing boy.

Stereotype IV: The uncle who is a wife in his house. For some reason there is a husband in his home but its not him. This type doesn’t even encourage any family member to visit him except those that like house chores and doing laundry. They get to assist him with his house work. The real issue isn’t that he isn’t winning the bread for his family (some stay home dads do), but that he lacks a sense of purpose for his life. He is a bundle of wasted potentials.

Stereotype V: The uncle who is rich and famous, but who you have never met. I hate this type. They are only good for when you want to feel important amongst your friends and so you start bragging about how related you are to someone important. He is consumed by work and has forgotten that family comes first. He has no time for even his wife and kids so…hello, who are you? Nobody should have success that comes at the expense of the people you love because in the end you’d only find loneliness and dissatisfaction there. By the way, most of them end up being suicidal and unfulfilled.

Stereotype VI: The uncle your dad hates receiving calls from because he’s always asking favours. Oh, he is also like stereotype II but this one doesn’t really visit. He is probably in a distant city just like stereotype V but this one is poor and not famous. Worst thing is that he is proud and egocentric and also feels your family owes him the favours he is always asking for. He’ll also accuse you of being proud when you don’t call him or send those ‘happy-new-month’ texts his fellow strugglers send monthly. (that was a joke. lol)

Stereotype VII: The uncle who is a model of all round success. My last but in no way the least stereotype falls into the category of the good for everything. Good family life, thriving business and/or career, great personality, awesome spirituality. Infact, your parents would regularly recommend that you go spend time with him and his family of which you yourself wont try hesitating because you know it would be fun and worthwhile. You find it easy to call him Dad because he is in many ways like a father too. He is a type of uncle you can call when you need money, need advice, need a proper scolding or when you just need to feel important amongst your friends. Now that’s me briefly described 😀

This is the kind I’d love to be to my nephew. But I cant just wish it, I have to become it. All we potential uncles will fall into one of these categories. As much as we would prefer one to the other, it is our actions and decisions today that will eventually choose for us which category we fall under.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. My nephew represents to me responsibility. I owe it to him, to myself and the whole to be the best me possible. I need to take responsibility for that today if I will become it tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m presently stereotype VIII- the uncle that drives him around and takes his pictures. Ciao

Soaga AfolabiIMG_20150608_085136

value: the eliab concept

Imagine yourself lost in the desert for like a week with no food no water and nobody to talk to; Just you and this vast expanse of dry land. And then maybe somewhere along the way you get to a junction that leads to two different destinations. You can only make one option and so choosing one is forgoing the other. In taking option A you are sure to find a million dollars in cash along the way; while in option B you’d find a store where you could get water and food and people to talk with (remember you have been lost for like a week with no food or water). Well, I believe the obvious option most people will go for is the latter. Reason is because, of what use is a million dollars if there is nobody to sell stuffs to you and nothing to buy. Moreover, if you choose the former option and go for the money, what use is money to a dead man (Just in case you don’t know, they don’t spend dollars in heaven). So to a man near death who is lost in the desert, a cup of water to revive his thirsty self is of more value than a million dollars that can’t buy him anything. Of course if he wasn’t near death and if he had hope of one day surviving through the desert without that water, his option would have been totally different. In fact, if we add an additional clause to the previous scenario saying that if he walks just a little further down that million dollar road, he’d find a place where a glass of water sells for $1000 and an helicopter for hire to fly you anywhere in the world for say $100000; even if he was near death, some would probably still go for the money.
This illustration points us to the fact that value is a very relative term. One man’s meat is indeed another’s poison. What is termed valuable to one man, might be perceived worthless to another. Beauty in life is always in the eyes of the beholder; the woman who one man would die for, another might not even wish to be sick for.

I have come to discover that value is seldom a function of the object in question but rather it is more about the subject. In the example used in the first paragraph, the object is the cup of water or million dollars while the subject is the pathetic fellow who was lost in the desert. What that means is that what determined the value of the object wasn’t the object in itself but rather the person who wanted to acquire it. And so what person A might be willing to pay 1000 bucks for, person B might feel it isn’t worth more than 200bucks. A real life example was the case with the recent signing of soccer player Gareth Bale by giants Real Madrid FC for £100 million. The transfer caused a lot of bubbles in the media with all sorts of person giving their own opinion on the matter. Most people said he’s not worth that much but as far as the Madrid guys were concerned, it was the right price and they paid it.

However, despite value being more dependent on the subject than on the object, the object however can influence the subject’s opinion of it. This implies that a lady that is not getting noticed by a guy she has a crush on can hit a bit of luck and get that guy to notice her if she can invest little bit more into what I call ‘the magic of cosmetics’(there are always exceptions to this. No amounts of makeup or make-down make some people change their minds. A friend recently described it as “the kind of ugly that makes ordinary ugly people feel like prom kings and queens” just kiddingJ). In Madrid’s case, though they were the ones who placed such huge figures on Bale, there must have been something they saw in him or saw him do that probably other teams didn’t and so they valued him more than other teams were willing to.
What all this is about is how to influence anybody or any subject to place as much value on you as you desire or probably deserve or how to sell yourself well to any individual or organization. In this season of valentine and love, this might be a life saver for some persons.

First thing to do is to pay attention to your image. Many Christians refer to the story in 1Sam16 to imply that God looks at the heart. True! But often we neglect what God was also trying to communicate which is that men look at the face and so we fail to take wisdom from that. I believe this was one of the secrets to joseph’s success story as recorded in the famous book of Genesis. When he was going to appear before Pharaoh, he shaved his beards so as to make a solid impression on the king. If he was just looking like a prisoner with all the beards and all, all Pharaoh would have probably had for him was pity and so the best he would have gotten from that encounter would have been a royal pardon and a release from jail but definitely not an appointment as prime minister. But he shaved and cleaned up, he looked like he could be a prime minister and so he was appointed the prime minister. My pastor will always tell you, men look on the outward, and so if you’ll be dealing with men, it’s always important to make a good impression there. In Malcolm Gladwell’s blink, the chapter ‘the Warren Harding error- why we all fall for tall and handsome men’ discussed this a little further. If not for God’s special intervention because of his special purpose and intention for Israel, even the mighty Prophet Samuel would have fallen like most men do and Eliab (king David eldest brother) would have charmed his way into being king!
Pay attention to the way you look even in pictures. The way you dress is the way you’d be addressed. But not only dressing because that’s just one part of your image. 3 places where you need to make a statement of a good image include your face, body and voice. So the way you walk, talk, smile, smell and even sit in a chair matter. Prov22:11 says , ‘for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend’. So just by talking, a king can value a mere man enough to want to be his friend. Eccl 9 tells of a wise man (i.e. he had substance) who wasn’t paid attention or justly rewarded because he was poor. Joseph could have been that man but thank God he was smarter…..he paid attention to his image.

Let’s look at the part B of this ‘value’ thing. A Russian proverb says that when you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes but when you leave a man, you’ll judge him by his character. Image without substance is like death cased in a medicine. A medicine is supposed to administer health but this one will ultimately steal health away. This was the error of the fig tree in mark11 (you can do a little study of it). It is said that one good service will bring you 3 customers but 1 bad one will drive away 30. The emphasis of this is that for a greater good, we must place character over beauty i.e. more emphasis on content than the packaging. We have established why beauty and image is very important. But beauty can only attract people and value to you, what sustains that is substance. While beauty is a necessary condition for patronage, it is usually not a sufficient condition. Value not deserved but gotten is soon so easily lost. So having said that you should pay attention to the way you are perceived by people by looking convincing on the outside, make sure you don’t do that at the expense of your quality on the inside. Perhaps if Eliab had the kind of heart David had, the value and respect Samuel placed on him would have been sustained and God would have allowed Samuel to crown him king.
And so although the value people attach to us is entirely their opinion which they are very entitled to, there is still something we can do to influence their opinion and thus a part to play in how people perceive and respond to us. The strength of any brand is 2 ways: quality on the inside; quality on the outside. Do your best to have both, when you do, people will see your outstanding-ness and how you are truly a one-in-a-million.
Have a splendid week.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

value: the eliab concept

Imagine yourself lost in the desert for like a week with no food no water and nobody to talk to; Just you and this vast expanse of dry land. And then maybe somewhere along the way you get to a junction that leads to two different destinations. You can only make one option and so choosing one is forgoing the other. In taking option A you are sure to find a million dollars in cash along the way; while in option B you’d find a store where you could get water and food and people to talk with (remember you have been lost for like a week with no food or water). Well, I believe the obvious option most people will go for is the latter. Reason is because, of what use is a million dollars if there is nobody to sell stuffs to you and nothing to buy. Moreover, if you choose the former option and go for the money, what use is money to a dead man (Just in case you don’t know, they don’t spend dollars in heaven). So to a man near death who is lost in the desert, a cup of water to revive his thirsty self is of more value than a million dollars that can’t buy him anything. Of course if he wasn’t near death and if he had hope of one day surviving through the desert without that water, his option would have been totally different. In fact, if we add an additional clause to the previous scenario saying that if he walks just a little further down that million dollar road, he’d find a place where a glass of water sells for $1000 and an helicopter for hire to fly you anywhere in the world for say $100000; even if he was near death, some would probably still go for the money.
This illustration points us to the fact that value is a very relative term. One man’s meat is indeed another’s poison. What is termed valuable to one man, might be perceived worthless to another. Beauty in life is always in the eyes of the beholder; the woman who one man would die for, another might not even wish to be sick for.

I have come to discover that value is seldom a function of the object in question but rather it is more about the subject. In the example used in the first paragraph, the object is the cup of water or million dollars while the subject is the pathetic fellow who was lost in the desert. What that means is that what determined the value of the object wasn’t the object in itself but rather the person who wanted to acquire it. And so what person A might be willing to pay 1000 bucks for, person B might feel it isn’t worth more than 200bucks. A real life example was the case with the recent signing of soccer player Gareth Bale by giants Real Madrid FC for £100 million. The transfer caused a lot of bubbles in the media with all sorts of person giving their own opinion on the matter. Most people said he’s not worth that much but as far as the Madrid guys were concerned, it was the right price and they paid it.

However, despite value being more dependent on the subject than on the object, the object however can influence the subject’s opinion of it. This implies that a lady that is not getting noticed by a guy she has a crush on can hit a bit of luck and get that guy to notice her if she can invest little bit more into what I call ‘the magic of cosmetics’(there are always exceptions to this. No amounts of makeup or make-down make some people change their minds. A friend recently described it as “the kind of ugly that makes ordinary ugly people feel like prom kings and queens” just kiddingJ). In Madrid’s case, though they were the ones who placed such huge figures on Bale, there must have been something they saw in him or saw him do that probably other teams didn’t and so they valued him more than other teams were willing to.
What all this is about is how to influence anybody or any subject to place as much value on you as you desire or probably deserve or how to sell yourself well to any individual or organization. In this season of valentine and love, this might be a life saver for some persons.

First thing to do is to pay attention to your image. Many Christians refer to the story in 1Sam16 to imply that God looks at the heart. True! But often we neglect what God was also trying to communicate which is that men look at the face and so we fail to take wisdom from that. I believe this was one of the secrets to joseph’s success story as recorded in the famous book of Genesis. When he was going to appear before Pharaoh, he shaved his beards so as to make a solid impression on the king. If he was just looking like a prisoner with all the beards and all, all Pharaoh would have probably had for him was pity and so the best he would have gotten from that encounter would have been a royal pardon and a release from jail but definitely not an appointment as prime minister. But he shaved and cleaned up, he looked like he could be a prime minister and so he was appointed the prime minister. My pastor will always tell you, men look on the outward, and so if you’ll be dealing with men, it’s always important to make a good impression there. In Malcolm Gladwell’s blink, the chapter ‘the Warren Harding error- why we all fall for tall and handsome men’ discussed this a little further. If not for God’s special intervention because of his special purpose and intention for Israel, even the mighty Prophet Samuel would have fallen like most men do and Eliab (king David eldest brother) would have charmed his way into being king!
Pay attention to the way you look even in pictures. The way you dress is the way you’d be addressed. But not only dressing because that’s just one part of your image. 3 places where you need to make a statement of a good image include your face, body and voice. So the way you walk, talk, smile, smell and even sit in a chair matter. Prov22:11 says , ‘for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend’. So just by talking, a king can value a mere man enough to want to be his friend. Eccl 9 tells of a wise man (i.e. he had substance) who wasn’t paid attention or justly rewarded because he was poor. Joseph could have been that man but thank God he was smarter…..he paid attention to his image.

Let’s look at the part B of this ‘value’ thing. A Russian proverb says that when you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes but when you leave a man, you’ll judge him by his character. Image without substance is like death cased in a medicine. A medicine is supposed to administer health but this one will ultimately steal health away. This was the error of the fig tree in mark11 (you can do a little study of it). It is said that one good service will bring you 3 customers but 1 bad one will drive away 30. The emphasis of this is that for a greater good, we must place character over beauty i.e. more emphasis on content than the packaging. We have established why beauty and image is very important. But beauty can only attract people and value to you, what sustains that is substance. While beauty is a necessary condition for patronage, it is usually not a sufficient condition. Value not deserved but gotten is soon so easily lost. So having said that you should pay attention to the way you are perceived by people by looking convincing on the outside, make sure you don’t do that at the expense of your quality on the inside. Perhaps if Eliab had the kind of heart David had, the value and respect Samuel placed on him would have been sustained and God would have allowed Samuel to crown him king.
And so although the value people attach to us is entirely their opinion which they are very entitled to, there is still something we can do to influence their opinion and thus a part to play in how people perceive and respond to us. The strength of any brand is 2 ways: quality on the inside; quality on the outside. Do your best to have both, when you do, people will see your outstanding-ness and how you are truly a one-in-a-million.
Have a splendid week.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.