Saturday, October 29, 2011

blank slates

I remember the lavish, freeing sensation I got about two months into college when I realized that nobody knew who I was.  I had spent my last year of high school carrying a ridiculous burden of reputation and gossip.  Every person I encountered there had some distinct preconceived notion of who I was, and it was always tricky to tiptoe through it and attempt to improve or maintain any inclination to think well of me.

And as absolutely nobody followed me from my high school into my college experience, I got to start over.  It was my first encounter with the concept of "personal branding."  I am not generally one to worry about my reputation without worrying more about the substance and integrity behind that reputation, but I can admit that they are both on my radar.  I always prefer that people associate me with happy and safe thoughts.  If I can control it (which I usually can't) then I want people to think of me as trustworthy, compassionate, thoughtful, thorough, creative, and nurturing.  And if I'm being honest then I also prefer that people associate me with good food and well-thought-out gifts.

@ hsf's

( Me with two awesome ladies whom I suspect will totally understand what I mean, even if they also think I'm silly.)

 And so each time we move and "start over," this is the personal brand that I set out to establish.  I inevitably fail, but hopefully the overall themes are similar to those intended.

Somehow, this go-round, I am failing more than usual.  My best attempts at creating and sharing good food have been especially ill-fated.  Either entropy sneaks into my kitchen, or I manage to misgauge my audience so as to produce a perfect version of their least favorite food.

Which is all a very round-about way of mentioning that one of my favorite soups fared rather poorly at the ward soup-and-chili cook-off tonight. Not only was it not awarded any honorable mentions, but worse I brought back home more soup than I would have liked.  I am silly for caring, and I know that.  And so I am writing this to confront myself and shake it off.  But I would really like, someday, to have established an effective enough personal brand that people want to eat something just because I made it.  I want to be perfectly worthy of such a reputation, but watching people look forward to my food and my gifts is my favorite sort of compliment.   It's a compliment that I still need to work to be eligible to fully earn, but reaching that point is awfully high on my list of things to do-and-be.

So, apart from thinking I'm crazy or vain, or both, what sort of a personal brand are you working to create? What do you want to be known for?  Remembered for?  Missed for?  Do tell.

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