Nice chat yesterday evening with my sister. She was talking about how great she feels right now, taking charge of her own life, with new projects, good bank account balance, and all, and how she has this accomplishment feeling after her coming back to Brazil, having lived for so many years in Boston.
As we progressed in our conversation, and it is always soul talking for hours in a row, my sister mentioned one dinner she had with her partner and a friend, and, all of a sudden, after her partner mentioned how hard it would be for her to have graduated and be unemployed, there was this unsettling question to her, “What’s your trademark, anyhow?” The tone was one of disbelief. After all, my sister was not a lawyer, an engineer or a doctor… Justine wittily answered that her trademark was herself. At that point, it was just a way to give an end to what could have become an embarrassing moment of dinner table discussion in front of a guest. However, Justine has come full circle, with an enlightened understanding that exactly at this point her TRADEMARK is really HERSELF, clearly stated in her well-designed business card.
This revelation got me thinking about this whole issue of our trademark, identity, personal and professional lives. Have you ever thought of what your TRADEMARK is? What makes you unique as an educator, a professional, for example? What do you bring with you when you enter your classroom that it is part of who you are, what you believe in? How do you express yourself in very singular, incomparable ways? If you asked your students or co-workers what they think your TRADEMARK is, what do you think they’d say about you? Would it be more related to credentials, formal education, expertise, or would it be more on your expression uniqueness, how you connect to others and help them connect the dots?
So, here’s my challenge for you: get a piece of paper, your notes app, whatever. Write in big capital letters MY TRADEMARK, and jot down your ideas on what makes your trademark.
The next time, you doubt about your skills, ability to go beyond, your worthiness, make sure you remember who you are and what your trademark is. The next time someone doubts your own capacity, remind yourself of your uniqueness. Whenever outer forces want to push you down, keep your spirit strong, breathe, face things up, having your distinguished, exclusive self in high gear. Keep moving, cultivating your uniqueness.
Remember, your trademark is yourself.