Have You Accepted that YOU Are The Brand?

Today I have a gift for you: It’s my favorite sound in the entire world HERE

 

Did you listen? Did you smile in spite of yourself?

 

 That recording was of my son on his first birthday, almost five years ago. I don’t remember what we were doing that had him belly-laughing like that, but frankly it doesn’t matter. 

 

I don’t care who you are or what mood you’re in, the sound of a child’s laugh can melt even the iciest of hearts. Forget aroma therapy, this is audio catharsis.

 

We are currently celebrating the overlapping seasons of Easter, Passover and Ramadan – seasons of renewal, of new hope, and new beginnings this spring. That sound of a baby’s laugh (or ANYONE’s laughter) reinforces that feeling of renewal and hope.

 

The other side of the coin, however, is just as powerful. Few things create the feeling of despair and hopelessness experienced by children (and the heartbreak experienced by their parents) when the children are struggling with speech, sensory processing disorders, attention deficit/executive functioning, autism and other learning differences, all of which can create and be created by trauma, and can prevent them (all) from freely experiencing the regular joys and fulfillment of daily life.

 

Enter Maude Le Roux, occupational therapist, founder of A Total Approach and the Maude Le Roux Academy, and this week’s Speaking to Influence podcast guest.

 

Maude and her cadre of therapists and other service providers give hope and new beginnings to children and their families through her advocacy, development and occupational therapy programs at A Total Approach.

 

Moreover, through her eponymous Maude Le Roux Academy, she provides training and continuing education for occupational therapists and related professions in pediatric care around the world to ensure an ever greater number of children get the chance at new beginnings and a life of fulfillment.

 

 

She shared how she, too, loves hearing children’s belly laughs when she walks down the hallways of her center. Beyond the inherent beauty of the sound, when she hears it coming from her clients, in her hallways, she knows it’s the sound of success: she’s making a positive impact on their lives.

 

Nevertheless, despite her success, Maude also revealed how difficult it was for her to name The Maude Le Roux Academy after herself without fearing that she was “being egotistical.”

 

She founded the academy because she had created assessments and intervention programs that were unique and effective, and word spread. When other professionals in her field from around the world wanted to learn more about what she was doing, they googled her name as the primary search term.

 

The simple fact was that she was the brand.

 

She came to realize that if she wanted to have the widest reach possible, to help as many children and families as possible, she had to be as discoverable as possible. Ultimately, she made the smart, objective business decision – not the subjective emotional one – and named her academy after herself.

 

The biggest revelation: she had to learn to put aside her fear of ego and own her achievement.

 

Listen to the full conversation here or watch it on YouTube here.

 

It's a funny thing — fear of ego. In other words, the fear that if you truly own and claim your success, it will be seen as bragging.

 

Worse, that concern can lead to imposter syndrome, and the fear that someone else might look at you and say, “Who do you think you are? You're not so great. As a matter of fact, you're a fraud!”

 

This can be a particularly sensitive issue for those of us who are independent business owners and service providers. I know I'm constantly navigating the mental tightrope walk, because for marketing purposes, I have to promote the business (which is my programs and intellectual property, developed from my skill, knowledge and experience), without sounding like I'm “self-promoting.” Clients want to work with me, specifically.

 

In other words – I'm the brand.

 

What about you? Maybe you're an entrepreneur like I am, and you are the face, voice, and primary service provider within the company. If so, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.

 

But what if you're thinking, “Nope, I'm one of 100,000 employees in a Fortune-500 company. I'm definitely NOT the brand!”?

 

I have news for you: You're not just a brand, you're TWO brands: You represent your company or organization when communicating with external clients, vendors, collaborators and other stakeholders, AND you represent your OWN brand, no matter WHOM you're speaking to.

 

Your energy, integrity, commitment, confidence, empathy, authenticity, passion, and more are reflected in every conversation you have, whether in person or on video. The quality of the experience others have with you and come to expect from you in these interactions becomes your reputation… in other words, your brand.

 

And nowadays 99% of the world knows the “virtual you” far better than the “in-person you,” especially since most of the world will never get the chance to meet the “in-person you.”

 

How well does the “virtual you” reflect those brand qualities you WANT people to associate with you, as part of your reputation for excellence?

 

If people's virtual experience of you is still a B+ at best (and let's be honest — if you never turn your camera on, it's a D: it's passing, but barely), it's time to up your game. Check out my self-paced online course Virtual Influence to learn how to deliver a consistently excellent “BRAND-YOU” experience for everyone you encounter.

 

Don't let fear of ego keep you from raising your virtual bar, for fear that someone else might think you're showing off or trying to make everyone else look bad by comparison. Raise the bar, and help everyone else rise to that level too! Then everyone wins.

 

You'll be giving them a GIFT.

 

Speaking of gifts, in the spirit of giving hope to children and families, Maude is giving two extremely generous gifts to our listeners:

 

First, if your child or a child you know is struggling with one of the challenges or disorders Maude’s therapists address at A Total Approach, she has offered a free consultation call to discuss their needs via Zoom. Just send her an email at maude@maudeleroux.com to set up your call.

 

How do you know if you should take her up on this offer? As Maude wisely said, “When the strengths and weaknesses don't balance each other out and the child is not happy, it's time to do something.”

 

And second, you can also get $100 off any course at the Maude Le Roux Academy using the code Influence100.

 

At the very least, in this springtime holiday season of fresh starts, if you’re tired of the stale experience of video conferencing with people using 2020-quality standards for what’s minimally “good enough” for your virtual experience, download my free guide to equipment recommendations to improve your virtual influence here.

 

Trust me, there’s a whole different kind of catharsis in store for you (and everyone you connect with online) if you do!

9 Ways to Finish 2021 With a Smile

Be thankful for what you have;
you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have,
you will never, ever have enough.
– Oprah Winfrey

 

We did it again! We are in the home stretch of 2021 and looking back, I am incredibly grateful for everything I have:

  • a nice home and wonderful, healthy family
  • a great job that pays the bills and makes me look forward to getting out of bed every day
  • plenty of good food, clean air and water
  • a fully functioning body and mind (okay, that last one might be debatable, but just go with it for now)
  • and so much more.

 

On the morning of the 31st I plan to take some time to reflect on the entire year and make a special “gratitude journal” entry for 2021. It’s so easy to get lost in the frustrations, losses, disappointments and everyday annoyances, but this practice helps keep things in perspective, and that changes everything.

 

Sometimes, however, that’s easier said than done.

 

Maybe you feel like there are a lot of unfinished things on your “to-do list.”

 

Maybe you suffered the loss of a job or a loved one that has cast a shadow over a big chunk of the year.

 

Or maybe you’re just exhausted at the end of yet another pandemic-driven year (is there anyone this does not apply to?)

 

The good news is that it’s not too late to end the year on a WIN!

 

As my little gift to you, I’m giving you a menu of NINE different ways to do something good for yourself and/or for others. Each of them can be done in minutes or hours, so even if you only pick one from the list, you’re virtually guaranteed to end the year with something that makes you smile inwardly and outwardly, and say to yourself, “I’m so glad I did that!”

 

You may recall that each week on the Speaking to Influence podcast, our guests participate in the “24-Hour Influence Challenge” – inviting you to take and complete just one step in 24 hours to have more influence. These are the good kind of challenges, the transformative ones. And this year, 38 guests provided 38 unique, creative, and inspiring opportunities to do just that.

 

That’s why this week’s Speaking to Influence episode is the “Best of the 24 Hour Influence Challenge from 2021. ” I’ve compiled a “listening smorgasbord” of nine guests’ challenges over the course of the last year, each of which falls into one (or more) of three categories:

 

  1. Personal vision and clarity;
  2. Skill Development; and
  3. Leading (and giving to) others

 

And yes – all of those categories help to increase your powers of influence!

 

Listen to the full podcast here or watch it here.

 

 

Whether you use a vision board, a to-do list, a flip chart, a SMART plan, or anything else to plan ahead for the upcoming year, let me know which of these other nine challenges you accepted as a way to close out the current year with a smile and a WIN.

 

I can’t wait to hear about your success, and how they change YOUR outlook for 2022.

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