Do your Beliefs help your Brand?

If you meet someone for the first time, one of the first questions you exchange is “What do you do?”. Our reply tends to focus on what we do for work, our occupation. We label, or “brand” ourselves as “a student”, “a nurse” or (dare I say it) “a plumber”.

There was a very interesting  post recently on one of my favorite blogs  The Positivity Blog. In describing 10 steps to be the brand you want in life, Mike King says:-

“Work is really just a portion of our lives since working for 40 hours a week and 50 weeks a year for up to 40 years (about 80,000 hours) is actually only about 11.4% of our entire lives (700,000 hours) if you expect to live to an age of 80 years old.

Even if you took 1/3 of your life away to account for sleeping, you still only work about 17% of your waking hours in a lifetime. Think about that for a minute. Is work really that important in the whole scheme of things if it is such a small portion of our lives from birth to death?  I’d say not.”

After going through the 10 steps he feels we need to take to review and build the “brand” you want to be, Mike closes the post with another interesting statement:-

“It will drastically improve your confidence in yourself and can really give you the boost you need to become happier, more effective and much more consistent in your life.  Don’t settle and be complacent with your current brand unless you can honestly be described in your life as the way you want to be and the best person you can possibly be.”

I’d encourage you to read the original article to see the 10 steps Mike suggests.  Some of the questions he raises boil down to trying to know yourself better:-

What are the things that are important to you?

What do you live for?

What is your purpose in life?

What things are meaningful to you?

Do you have and know your morals?

What makes you unique?

My own take on such a process is to start with our beliefs. If you recognize that its the belief system that we carry around with us that forms the foundation for everything else, then getting to know ourselves becomes more straightforward (although not necessarily easier).

Another blog I follow and enjoy, Craig Harper’s Renovate your Life, has recently had a 3 part series on Do you Determine Your Beliefs, or do your Beliefs Determine You?. Again, although its quite detailed, I’d recommend reading the original posts. Craig asks the questions:-

“Do your current beliefs propel you towards greatness or do they keep you trapped in mediocrity, monotony and misery? Do they serve you, or do you serve them? Who’s really running the show?
Do they help you achieve your dreams and goals, or do they keep you in your own private mental and emotional prison? Do they enable you to explore your potential and do amazing, or do they keep you in your safe, familiar, predictable little box (Under-Achievement Central)?”

Most of our beliefs take root with no conscious decision making on our part. They are a result of our influences – parents, peers, teachers – and the experiences we go through. And just because you’ve believed something for a long time, it doesn’t mean its correct.

I have written a post Challenging Beliefs about the actor John Hurt, whose deep seated belief that he was of Irish decent was shown to be false when he investigated his family tree for a TV programme.  Finding this belief was false devastated John:-

“what has changed is a belief that had been a foundation of how he saw himself, had been suddenly removed. It was now impossible to sustain any thought that when visiting Ireland, he was “coming home”.”

We don’t grow up challenging the beliefs of those around us or the beliefs we adopt. Craig Harper grew up in a Catholic home and went to a Catholic school. As he so beautifully puts it:-

“Here’s a sentence I was never gonna hear from the Nuns in my religious education classes at school; “Okay students, we’ve decided to provide you all with an extensive overview of the core theology, philosophy and teaching of all the major religions of the world, then we’ll leave it up to you to explore the ‘God thing’ in your own way and see where you land; it’s important that you find your own truth, listen to your own heart and develop your own religious and spiritual beliefs and understanding.”

Even in adulthood its often easiest to adopt the beliefs of those around you and it can take some courage to start openly challenging the beliefs held by your peers. Because most people aren’t prepared to step outside the comfort zone of their beliefs, anyone challenging those beliefs is likely to be criticized, ridiculed or ostracized.

Some of our beliefs are quite disempowering – that we are incapable, inefficient, never be up to much, we’re stupid. Craig breaks beliefs into 3 types- positive, negative and incidental. The latter don’t have much bearing on our day to day functioning. I believe the sun will rise tomorrow and I believe eating porridge for breakfast is good for me.

Positive and negative beliefs are opposites and fairly self explanatory, Some negative ones came up at the start of the last paragraph – anything that stops you, undermines your self esteem and self confidence. Whereas positive beliefs help you fulfill your potential with confidence, they keep your self esteem high.

The problem can be identifying what you believe and what do you do about the negative unhelpful ones. I will look into that more next time. But in the meantime, try to identify your beliefs yourself. And do you agree, that beliefs are the foundation of our “brand”?

Cheryl Antier October 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Great post – rather than “food for thought” you’ve laid out an entire banquet here! I guess I’m going to have to subscribe to your RSS feed so I can keep up with what you’re offering next!

Cheryl Antiers last blog post..Comment on Writers: Does the Law of Attraction or Positive Thinking REALLY Help You Build a Successful Writing Business? by cheryl

Vincent October 26, 2008 at 4:36 pm

Nice post David. Our belief definitely shape our life. What is in our mind tend to manifest in the outer aspect of our world. If we believe that we can do it, we can.

Personal Development Blogger

Vincents last blog post..Is Your Attitude Bringing You Towards Success?

Mike King October 26, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Thanks for the mention David and a really great article. You’ve taken a few ideas and expanded nicely on them and as Cheryl said, you have a whole “banquet” of content here on your site. I’ve connected with your social media sites (stumble, technorati, digg) as well now to help follow more stuff like this. Thanks…

David October 26, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Thanks to you all for your early, helpful comments. Mike, thanks but the post was inspired by your original and I do hope people take time to read that as well.

Perlapennylope November 3, 2008 at 7:18 am

Nice post. Belief it is the one which can shape the world we see. only because of belief we lead our lives.

Perlapennylopes last blog post..An Informative Bulletin On Stucco Siding

James November 11, 2008 at 10:28 pm

you are right, often, people introduce themselves as someone who works for mcdonalds, someone who works at a law firm or any other label/brand rather than introducing a person, a whole person… in reality it can be one of the most difficult things to achieve, that is to understand who we really are… lots of introspection and discoveries to work through…

Emma Brand March 25, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Hi David,

Great post, I think many of us need to step back sometimes and gain new perspective on life. What you do does not necessarily define who you are Many people forget that.

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