I don’t know about you, but, some days, I sure as heck want to simply stay in bed under the covers instead of working. But that is not an option if you have a job or have a business to run. 

Because commitments need to be kept. 

Not to mention bills need to be paid. And, let’s also remember your goals and dreams; though they may temporarily fade to the back, they don’t go away.  

Even in heavy times, others are depending on you and me to do the work that is ours to do.

And what I find ironic about times like these is that when you most feel like retreating into a cocoon is often when you need to do the opposite?

As Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”

A few examples: My neighbor just got an offer from Google and is getting ready to relocate to the West coast. One of my business buddies posted on Twitter that she’s had “some of [her] biggest opportunities” since being in quarantine.

Amidst the job losses, closed businesses, stalled promotions and furloughs, and social protests, it may be hard to remember that some companies are still recruiting and that some people are still hiring professionals for advice, help, guidance and support. In heavy times like these, it can be easy to: 

  • feel disempowered and to focus mainly on the things you cannot control; 
  • wonder if now is a good time to look for a new job from the “safety” of the one you currently have or to promote your products/services (if you are an entrepreneur/small business owner);  
  • become risk averse and lose sight of, and thus not pursue, the opportunities you have right now to build, rebuild or reinvent your career or business.

In heavy times like these, it is easy to overlook the power of your brand and message.

And yes, regardless of how you work, you have a brand and message! 

It is how you stand out and a part from others who functionally do the same work as you.

Your personality, skills, experience, strengths and perspective are just some of what constitute your brand. This concatenation is what helps you rise above the noise, so you can get that promotion, close that deal and/or earn more money.

It is why, even in heavy times, perhaps especially during difficult times, it helps to view yourself as a brand. Doing so is paramount to your success now just as much as it is in the best of times.

However, as you reflect on your brand and message I’d like to offer a few suggestions…

Choose a redefined “normal”

There is a great deal of talk about going back to normal. On some level, I get it because doing so represents a desire to return to what you knew and found comfortable. And that may be ideal for some. 

But I wager there are others who are actually looking at this moment in time and hoping that what comes next doesn’t resemble anything like the past – even if the “past” is measured in as little as three months ago.

For even others, there’s another challenge with going back to some semblance of what was normal: It’s too costly. I’m thinking of the restaurants that have decided not to reopen – even though they can now do so.  

So, as you exist in a state of betwixt and between make sure the desire to go back to what was isn’t blocking you from the chance to create a redefined normal.

Think of your brand/message as a form of leadership

I truly believe that everyone is a leader, even if they don’t officially have a title that goes with. Especially when you consider that circumstances will often cause the leader within to emerge. All you need to do is recall the numerous instances when, within the last few months, people without the label have displayed extraordinary leadership.

Leaders can influence how others think and behave. Leaders can influence the culture of the spaces they occupy. Viewing your brand/message as a form of leadership can do the same.

Ask three questions 

What is it you want to be known for?

When someone says, “I have a friend who…,” how do you want to be described?

How are you using this time to refresh your brand and message? After all, they evolve – they are not static!

These are but a couple of questions to ponder and choices to make if you need and want to attract more opportunities right now – whether that is more responsibilities in your current job; a new job; or new clients for your business. 

At the end of the day, your brand and message are how you get seen and are heard; it’s how your contributions are acknowledged.

Ultimately, your brand and message become one of your greatest assets. And they play a key role in how well you thrive in difficult and uncertain times. 

In heavy times, it may be hard to resist the temptation to retreat and wait for things to “get back to normal.” Yet, I wholeheartedly believe that for the benefit of others and yourself, you must. And it is why I suggest this instead: double-down on one of your greatest assets! 

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