"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain
Over the last several years, I have embarked on a focused journey to develop a global personal brand. The initial inspiration was Apple's discerning attention on simplicity in both their hardware and software which disrupted multiple industry sectors and revolutionized personal computing.
The insight was transitioning Apple's level of continuous innovation to the personal level. Formula elements that coalesced to shape my brand definition included constant career re-assessments, an interesting mix of personal passions, global leadership skills, and the recognized importance of staged goals for success.
Constant Career Re-Assessment
Remaining relevant with your employer has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The era of showing up at work every day with the same skills of your job on day one are over. A recent headline heralded "You Should Plan on Switching Jobs Every Three Years for the Rest of Your Life". Changing jobs every three years is a symptom of a labor market requiring continuously improving skills.
A key personal driver to brand identity has been constant attention to career re-assessments. Am I fulfilled in my current role? Is this what I want to do when I really grow up? Do I have the passion to exceed my personal expectations? Are my skills improving every single day?
Find your Passions
My success to date is driven by the following lifetime passions:
- Continuous Learning - Key to improving skills is constantly searching for new ideas to improve both your personal and professional skills.
- Extinction versus a Change Agent - A 2009 "Did you Know" video reminded us that the amount of technological information is doubling every two years. For students starting a four year technical degree, this means that half of what they learn in the first year of study will be outdated by the third year of study. You can either become personally or professionally extinct or you can aggressively become a change agent to shape the life you always imagined.
- Creativity Plus Innovation - The new currency for success is creativity. Monotonous jobs are being replaced by technology. Creatively find new ways to innovate your life. Chase innovation as an enabler of change. The results will be amazing.
Leadership Without Borders
The great news today is that personal and professional growth no longer has international borders. Through the Internet, your creativity and innovation can very quickly reach global markets. Build a new customer base through leadership without borders.
It starts with a Life Plan
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." Creating a successful life starts by planning multiple horizons for your journey. My particular life goals are segmented into three, five and ten year set of objectives. Constantly redefine success and what's possible when you really do grow up.
Checking in at different periods in your life's progress and re-tooling for the future are the two keys to a great life. "It's not where you start - it's where you finish that counts."
My Personal Journey To Date
Several years ago I decided to re-tune my personal and professional life using what was then the emerging concept of social media. The medium was the Internet. The messages would be focused on past successes around retail, technology, and leadership concepts.
Much like Apple's invisible software releases, my personal journey has evolved:
- Version 1.0 - Blogging on Google, experimenting with early versions of social media including Twitter and Linked-In
- Version 1.5 - A focus on productivity tools to improve the global visibility of the messaging.
- Version 2.0 - Next Generation Social Media by consolidating all my content into a personal web site www.tonydonofrio.com
The Transformational Digital Branding Journey
My personal digital global branding journey to date has been amazing.
- An exploding audience of followers on Linked-In
- Top 50 Retail Influencer - For three years in a row, a top 50 retail industry influencer. In 2016 at Number 12.
- Top 25 Retail Website - One of the top 25, "best retail centric blogs, publications, and sources that every retailer should check out."
- Top 40 Retail Blogs - One of the webpages that brings "the most value to retailers, the leading criteria was the quality and arrangement of information, as well as an overall impression."
- The Disruptive Future of Retail"- Have shared the global stage with retailers and industry experts in cities such as Cartagena, Mumbai, Amsterdam, Chicago, Hong Kong, etc. delivering the positive message on the bright future of retail.
With personal branding version 3.0 on the horizon, what is really amazing is that I am just getting started.