Who am I? This is one of the most researched question on planet earth. Every man is designed with an inner desire and quest for acceptance, a sense of belonging. Many have taken on diverse forms of identity as a response to this question.
Discovering and defining who we really are has proven to be one of the most daunting challenge one can ever face in life. As we advance in life, everything we do consciously or unconsciously contribute to either discover who we are or define who we are in the eyes of others. We usually face difficulties in our workplaces, with our spouses, parents, children…, because we are yet to harmonize our being, so as to communicate an authentic message on who we are, why we are and what we stand for. What we mean when we say or do the things we say or do, most often than not is misinterpreted or misunderstood by the opposite party, and this gives birth to a response that creates an image of us, that might or might not be authentic. It can be very frustrating when your intentions don’t translate accurately when implemented or executed, be it by word or action.
This is the frustration that many of us unfortunately face on a daily basis, in their different spheres of influence, in spite of the brilliant ideas we have or projects we are engaged in. In my research and study on personal branding and its importance, if there is a statement i came across several times and totally agree with is, people do not buy what you are doing per say but WHY you are doing what you are doing. The core values and authenticity of your brand story is what attracts clients to you.
I strongly believe and agree we all have personal brands and managing our personal brands is one of the few processes that bring us to a conscious realization and harmony between who we are on the inside (brand within) and how that translates in the way we come across to others (brand without).
We need to come to a realization of our true self, in so doing we can communicate clearly our persona through our product to the clientele.
I will like to share with you a summary of what I learnt during a life changing seminar by Dr Shawn Smith, a Dr in Theology and Divinity, titled theocentric psychology.
He is fond of saying, and i agree, if you can’t quote others, no one is going to quote you in turn and so am quoting him!
In this seminar he said man is one individual with 4 selves. A spirit living in a body with a soul and this soul perceives 4 selves:
- The Public self
It is the you that God knows, that you know and you want everyone to know. The identity we perceive as us and when we are in public it is the part of us we show as the us we want everyone to see. Part of us that has been trained, educated, refined to act in a particular way in public.
The Private self
This is the you according to Dr Shawn Smith, that God knows and the you that you know but it is the you that nobody else knows. And you don’t want anyone else to see. Irrespective of who we are, we have things about us, that no matter how much we love those around, we don’t want them to see. We all have insecurities about ourselves, things we don’t like about us. This is not the us, we show in public. It is the us, we are disappointed with, the self that is always doubting, afraid, refusing to believe. The part of us, we have not yet mastered. We all have skeletons in our closets and if we don’t understand this we will not understand our weakness. When we know this, we will not expose ourselves to conditions that will cause us to compromise, we keep it private. The good news here is the more you grow and mature, the private self reduces and the public self increases.
- The Unknown self
This is the you that God knows, that others know but you don’t know. They are things about us that others will see and we will never see and no matter how much they tell us, we will never see. We are always blind to our unknown self. There are attitudes we have that we don’t know. The root of all frustration in relationships is trying to inform someone about their unknown self. That is why we must always have someone in our lives with the authority to correct us.
- The True Self
Dr Shawn Smith says it is the you that God knows, that you don’t know, and no one else knows. The only way we can know this self, is through a relationship with the one who knows that self. Only God can introduce us to our true self. This self is to dominate the three first selves. The first three selves are all external as a result of determinisms; genetic, environmental, educational, cultural etc. He concludes by saying the true self is an unveiling of your identity otherwise known as purpose or destiny. This self emerges following a threshing or sifting process. This may hurt but when it is done, we realize our priorities, core values, are realigned and the authentic brand story or mission stands clear and strong.
This journey of discovering one’s true self like I said earlier can be very daunting because it requires diligence, patience, dedication, discipline…it is my persuasion that though results are very important in the market place, intent (brand within) is of more importance if you are to be around for a long time and influence your market. It is the bedrock to discovering relevance and differentiation in our brands and products.
To know yourself (brand within) you need to know why of your existence.