October 15, 2007

The American parabola

Megan Fitzgerald is a "personal branding coach" and ever since I met her last year I have been wondering what exactly that might mean. In the name of curiosity and friendship, I overcame my acquired European-style aversion to "americanate" and excessive American optimism, and signed up for a presentation in Rome by Personal Branding Guru, William Arruda.

The room was full -- Megan had done a fantastic job of organizing and promoting the event -- and 1.5 hours of power point later, I got it.
Personal Branding is about the "unique promise of value" that we each must "extract", then "express" and finally "exude". At the end of the "1-2-3 Success! Personal Branding Process," you find a personal form of success that comes from your "unique promise of value." I must admit that my thoughts wandered to the NPR reported study on why "Americans Fail Self-assessment" as I wondered if Americans also easily fail at identifying personal uniqueness. In any case, it was all very interesting and inspiring. (Megan, me, William Arruda)

Putting down William's book, Career Distinction, on Saturday afternoon and turning to the newspaper, I found an article by my favorite Italian journalist,Vittorio Zucconi, on Al Gore's ride to his Nobel Peace Prize -- a study in personal branding! Following his trials and tribulations, Al dug deep down and found that his vocation/values/passions all revolved around enviromentalism, and he was reborn, as himself, with a "unique promise of value" that carried him all the way to the prize of all prizes.

Vittorio Zucconi calls Al Gore's trip, "The American parabola of second and third chances to reinvent and redeem oneself after falling off and being humiliated -- one of the most admirable and vital of American cultural characteristics." The parabola gets its initial force from optimism and self-confidence, belief in both the future and in our "unique promise of value". Although adding a bit of Italian"c..o" never hurts!

a domani,

PS -- and why do you read my blog? What is my "unique promise of value" that brings you back? Just curious. One of the steps is finding out what other people think of you, which is, in fact, what "branding" is all about anyway.


Roam2Rome said...

I read a lot of blogs, but only around five blogs are truly my favorite, and yours is one of them.

Why? Because you use good reasoning, common sense, your experienced know-how to make sense of life between two cultures... an eye opener.

Those of use who live the two cultures can relate to you, while those of us who cannot go abroad (yet) are able to live through you :)

Great blog :)

jadie said...

I don't know exactly what "personal branding" means, but I'd guess that Al Gore didn't have that concept in mind when he decided to turn his prodigious attention to the issues of global warming. Instead, I'd guess that like most truly inspirational people, he carefully considered his abilities and interests, with an eye toward bettering the world, and realized this issue was a way he could make a difference. I read your blog because you seem to speak your mind, and you consider the nuances that make life interesting.

peewee said...

I read your blog because, no matter the argument, the books and material you suggest, the people you rub elbows with, your own personal experiences, it is never exclusive or overwhelming or intimidating - if you know what I mean. It all sounds like the STUFF and STUFFING of a true sister. Thanks! peewee

Elizabeth said...

gosh, thanks gals.
I guess I am managing to do what I wanted to do when I first started my blog -- get people thinking about cultural differences in new ways, explore, dig deeper, play around with observations and their connections, compare in order to learn, mainly about ourselves.
now I have to get all this into a "brand" (or whatever)

Paul Copcutt said...

The intersting thing about Jadie's commnet on Al Gore is that the environmental angel is a true part of his personal brand. He just chose to appearingly subdue it when he was VP and then running agianst Bush - it might have been a totally different outcome if he had been more true to his brand.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Paul, this is exactly what hit me as I read the article on Al Gore after learning about personal branding. He is finally being true to his vision of the world and his role in it and being true to himself is what lead him to be a true leader -- worthy of a nobel!