Is your word for 2024 an Intentional part of your Brand?
Two words keep coming up for me to select as my WORD of the Year for 2024.
I admit that I like the idea of a word for the year.
Last year it worked to slow me down and moderate my approach. Last year it was Lagom, a Swedish term for not too much, not too little.
Hey, certainly not perfect, but as a self-confessed FOMO addict, at least 50% of the time it supported me to pause and reflect before saying yes.
I do believe that simple things like a word, a phrase or an intention can support us from the busy distracted "always on" lives we lead.
More importantly it can act as an anchor for your brand.
Right back at the start of my career transformation from CEO to the life I lead today, Brave Feminine Leadership did that for me. I would often ask myself what would a Brave Feminine Leader do?
A simple question to ask in the moments I was hesitating to make a decision.
The answer would usually come....
She would have the conversation that needs to be had,
She would make the decision instead of stewing on it.
She might ask questions that polarise sometimes, but most of all she would definitely use her voice to help others.
I encourage all of the leaders I coach to think deeply about their word. Its part intention, part brand.
Take it a step further and I ask what's their one sentence? Mine is....
She challenged leaders to be themselves, to create the space for others to do the same so people feel truly valued.
I leant on this often as a CEO encouraging leaders to let go of all the things, we think leaders are supposed to do or supposed to be. It's also why when I hear someone say I "should" do something, I always respond with "who says?"
Personal brand ties so many of us up in knots.
How do I introduce myself?
How do I share my ideas confidently and influence others?
Who do I want to be and am I showing up as that person when it matters?
Over 150+ interviews later, as part of The Brave Feminine Leadership podcast and one thing I know for sure is we all have moments of doubt.
We all face challenges that test us and that we all question our capability in those moments. The good news is that now we have made it so normal, it's people who never feel this way that we need to be suspicious of.
But even knowing this, we still get tripped up in key moments.
Last year a truly wonderful leader came through our Intention Code program and her test came when the CFO kept bypassing her and sending requests directly to her team. Emails that second guessed her work and left her team confused and unsure of the direction to take. The old narrative, the one where she reconciled this as OK had her scurrying around to find out exactly what was being asked of everyone and then trying to make sure they all delivered. The automatic assumption or default in her thinking was that she wasn't enough, that she was lacking somehow.
Choosing Courage as one of her brand values in one of our core Intention Code Modules provided the Pause she needed to assess her next move.
Is it Path A - the old path of saying nothing, condoning and allowing this to continue? Or is it Path B - an open honest dialogue to seek feedback and change.
Path B won. She prepared to have an open conversation. A straightforward and honest chat to clarify if there was something else that was required? "Are we meeting all of your needs or is there more you require to make sure you have all the information you need? She continued. "I am asking this because I noticed that you are currently emailing my team directly and it is leaving them unclear on the direction and uncomfortable when they see I am not on the message. I want to make sure we are collectively meeting your needs."
Leave space for a response.
The response was good. An acknowledgement of pressure leading to behaviour that wasn't appropriate. An excellent conversation followed about how they could get what was needed on the table to alleviate the pressure.
All from a single word chosen as part of a personal brand exercise. A word that can remind us to choose Path A or Path B.
What's your Word?
I have chosen two.
Presence and Consistency
I battled against the word consistency. I didn't think it was sexy enough.
In the end that is exactly what I love about it.