On Brand

I guess it's time to finally finish this thought. I started this post just over 2 weeks ago, and it's sat idle, since. So here we go; to take you back in time--cue dream sequence.

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It's the weekend. It's 06:30 on a Saturday morning, and I've been up since 02:00. Solid two hours of sleep, followed by three of laying in bed, staring at random objects, unable to fall back asleep. So here I am, with a cup of coffee, left to the devices of my wandering mind.

The nice thing about time off, is it gives one time to return to the passions that typically get forgotten. Yesterday, I did yoga for the first time in ages and man, my booty is sore.

But, back to the topic at hand: Story Time.

Back in September, the company I work for sent myself, and a handful of others, to a career development conference a state over. One of the guest speakers, a successful female who climbed the ladder to become one of the top dawgs in the company, spoke about defining your "Brand". What are you? What are the things that align with the essence of who you are--the things that ring true to you?

Her speech has been on repeat in my mind for the last few days.

When asking close friends what I should do with this, how should I market this, I have all these different thoughts about organising events to raise money for charities, and getting sponsored publicity to go do awesome things that will make an awesome impact; but, in reality, that's entirely too broad. 

In a conversation I had just yesterday, one friend said "Write about your travels. Write about adventures and all of the hiking you do. Test dog friendly gear and write reviews about vegan foods."

My response? Yeah, I guess I could...

So really, this goes to defining my brand. When I'm actually trying to make a physical manifestation of what my brand is, it's a little more difficult to narrow down than "that secretly tree-hugging, angry looking lady, over there."

Yes, the "V" word is a big part of it. Any mentions of food, supps, restaurants, and on the go trail-tips on this site, unless otherwise stated, will be 100% veeg. 

**Dream Sequence Out of Memory**

So, let us continue this discussion. For something to be "On-Brand", it means it fits with who I am, as a person. If I'm a foxy lady that is all about confidence and being bold, then a black body-con dress with leopard print pumps and a bright red lip would definitely be on-brand.

Nature, hiking, running, camping, and the likes, all fall within my realm. Those traits within me have defined me to others in the outside world. The last few major gifts I've received have been epic world maps, and I just had a conversation last week about how a lady here at work saw a world travel ad for Iceland, and then thought of me. (I went for a week-long backpacking trip to Iceland in 2015. It was a spontaneous decision, I had no plans, met a stranger on my way to the airport that I convinced to go with me, and managed to come back in one piece.)

Those are the things, the decisions, that define me. Just about everything I do seems chaotic or on a whim, but it's all oddly structured in my own special way. Take right now, for example. I have this nonsense of a brain-puzzle going on with my employment situation, but I'm doing 20 other things to try and give myself tangible goals for the time-being. Some of it seems to come out of left field, but the rest is just...expected. My father just talked to me yesterday about how I was letting my Rooster show--Chinese Zodiac Sign of scratching and pecking at a million tasks, but to him, it seems as though nothing is getting done. For me, I'm looking for something, and I'm not going to waste my time fully digging a hole if I can tell from the surface that it's not there. While I'm starting to digress, his insight is absolutely true about this site--it doesn't really have a focus. It touches on lots of things that are of importance to me, but it doesn't quite fit into any niche. Maybe it is a representation of the greater me and I'm just unable to see it, right now, but I do see it here on Turning Strawberry. Maybe, if I focus my thoughts here, if I settle into what really defines me and my "brand", I'll have a better idea of what I want out of life, and actually be able to start zeroing in to achieve it. As much as I do not want to admit it, as much as I can try and justify my actions, my faja is spot on with his assessment (and no, dad, I'm not just saying this because you might read this). I have a short string of logic behind why I'm doing a million random tasks, but regardless of the reasoning, the fact still remains that there are a million random tasks. And, the fact is absolutely true that whenever the end hits for this path I'm on now, many of them will be left incomplete.

The saying "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" is something that's been somewhat associated with me, over the years. I do all the things, and I do them well enough to become proficient. But then, I move on to the next thing. I can MiG weld, but I can't TiG or Stick. I can spin some fly looking containers on a potters wheel, but try and attach a mug handle? It'll turn into an elephant (literally...I did that with a mug I aesthetically destroyed...I mean, it's at least an elephant mug). Crocheting or knitting? I've got about 6 different projects, all started and over 50% complete, but very few have every been officially tied off and finished. I'm decent with my hands--crafting, building, making, but unless it's a real gem, I never go 100%. It's always passed as "Good Enough", or more accurately "Better than Most Others". At that point, I feel content and I move on. Moment of deep reflection, over here...

So, right now, what do I have on my plate? Well, the blatantly obvious: My job. Then, I signed up for that snowboarding class in February. Then, yoga, which thankfully I haven't paid for, yet. I did reach out to Manduka to try and become an affiliate; however, I don't think my little bubble is big enough for them to approve it. That could actually end up working out in my favour, though.

What else? My house. I closed in July of last year. I'm not even 6 months in to my mortgage, and it's already on the table to up and move. Let's not even start on the interior renovations (or, just flat-out home repairs) that I need to do, but either haven't finished, or even started.

Maybe once things clear up a little more, I'll be comfortable delving into the topic of career vs. personal fulfilment. There's a serious battle going on there, too, but that could be a novel, on it's own.

Let's start trying to put something tangible, together; something I can work with, here. I guess, in all reality it does go into that career vs. personal fulfilment battle, but bigger than that, it's deciding what matters the most to me. Even as I type out that sentence, the subconscious answer is screaming at me: Personal Fulfilment.

If there's a way to make the two of them blend, then that's wonderful, but I see a conflict coming up. I think the conflict avoidance is really throwing me off. And, I think the thought of letting go of the career I've built, not just within the company, but in industrial manufacturing, is nagging at me. What kind of strong, independent woman would I be, if I let some of these huge deals slip past? Maybe I'm panicked because I still feel trapped, but maybe it's just my background brain telling me I'm making the wrong choice. Maybe it's a statement of my own personal worth, compared to my partner; I can't leave my career, because it somehow makes me less of an equal--less worthy of having a financially successful significant other.

This is really starting to go down a rabbit hole I didn't intend to go down... maybe my pecking actually found something. But I think this is a conversation I'll continue another time. While I started this post with the intention of ending with a nice, clean-cut backbone for this business, I clearly need some time for self-reflection. Some time to really settle on concrete answers, and start to center on what defines me. I think at this point it goes without saying; for the success of everything that is going on, it's imperative I focus energy on sculpting out my personal brand.