Turning the bad into good: leveraging your strengths

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Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

Turning ‘bad stuff’ into ‘good stuff’ is a rewarding and empowering process (although it may not feel like it at the time). It’s also something we can all do if we have the right tools.

Remember the Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton 1996 classic ‘First Wives Club’? In the film, three women start a successful business to revenge the husbands who left them for younger women.

Like the First Wives Club, you can turn bad stuff into good stuff. However, first you need to take stock of what you have, identifying your unique skills and education. You can then use these skills to leverage yourself to greater success.

Step 1: Identify your strengths
To help understand your personal strengths, it’s useful to start with a ‘personal’ brand audit.

I have used this process on a couple of occasions—most recently for a major challenge I was facing. This challenge was bigger than anything I had ever faced before, but I still had a choice: how to respond and move forward.

Initially, my reaction was ‘normal’: I was really upset and then really angry. However, when I was ready to fight, I knew I needed to take my time and plan my response.

I used a personal audit to get myself in order. Even though I don’t advise a ‘Do It Yourself’ audit, I wanted to test my Brand Audits’ tools to see if they translated from the corporate to the personal realm.

The process worked really well and it gave me the outcome I was looking for: the framework to focus on my strengths, my ‘why’ and planning my ‘where to from here’.

I thought of myself as a brand and audited my brand in the context of my values and how these are reflected in tangibles of my brand, such as my LinkedIn profile.

Step 2: Identify the opportunities
The personal brand audit enabled me to identify many opportunities, with the three top projects giving me a clear purpose and direction.

For me, the top three were:

  1. Complete my master’s research thesis
  2. Improve my health and fitness
  3. Write a book about my challenges!

Step 3: Develop your plan of attack
The personal brand audit gave me a plan of attack and allowed me to complete—or at least start—my three top projects.

This goes to show that if you are really focused on what you want and where you want to go, you can achieve things you never thought you could—no matter what your circumstances!

…if you are really focused on what you want and where you want to go, you can achieve things you never thought you could—no matter what your circumstances!

Step 4: Enjoy the results
The personal brand audit process enabled me to stop, breathe, reflect, and to look at the bigger picture before I dived into the next chapter of my life. The process pushed me forward and the results speak for themselves:

  1. I completed my master’s research thesis after starting it six years ago. It really came down to locking myself away for two months. Each day I focused on what I could complete by breaking tasks down to bite-size actions. This structured process meant that I graduated in 2015!
  1. I now focus on my health and fitness to align my mental strength with my physical strength. I joined a group fitness class with a trainer who links your goals to your exercise.This saw me completing in my first Tough Mudder, the hardest thing I have ever done physically or mentally! I also started ballet lessons at Queensland Ballet and Alvin Alley NYC (first time ever for both)!
  1. My book titled—Designer Law School: Lessons from a Designer’s Life will be published at the end of 2016. I started writing about my challenges to help other Designers and this has been my most rewarding project to date! I set up a Facebook site (Designer Law School) and ran a prototype class to test the content and to receive immediate feedback on the topics! My aim is to help other Designers have basic legal knowledge—and therefore the confidence—to understand everything from contracts to supplier arrangements as they move through their careers.

Every ‘bad’ thing that has happened to me—without exception—I have been able to turn around and learn from, and then use the lessons to help others and myself.

So next time you have a challenge, thank the person or the situation because it gives you the gift of proving that you have the skills and the resilience to turn the bad stuff into good stuff, and move onwards and upwards!

If I can do it, you can too!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

Photo credit: Christine Moody from the exhibition, China: Through the looking glass
(The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, July 2015)

 

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