I went to a Women’s Conference last year and was excited to attend a workshop about building your brand. Unfortunately, the session ended up being a lot of fashion tips. It’s a fun way to spend an hour, but not really on point. I think of building your brand as being aware of your strengths and finding positive ways to maximize them. If the message boils down to “keep a nice scarf or a cute pair of shoes in the office for those surprise meetings with your VP,” I roll my eyes. (And my internal feminist thinks, “Is this the advice you would give to a roomful of guys?!”)
At one point the speaker mentioned, “Watch your wake.” It didn’t mean much to me at the time, but I was reminded of this phrase during my trip to New York in July.
New York is a busy place during a normal week, let alone during a holiday. These words came back to me as I watched two friends chatting away and fish-tailing their suitcases down the sidewalk. Regrettably, they were totally oblivious to the people behind them trying to maneuver. “Watch your wake” echoed through my mind again as I watched the Millennial trying to check out at the subway ticket machine after the Mets game, laughing with his buddies how he couldn’t remember the billing zip code for his credit card. Pretty funny until you have six people behind you, all annoyed in the humid, 90 degree heat.
It’s easy to snicker at these examples, because the behaviors are so obtuse. But before you laugh too hard, is there a place where you can be a little more sensitive? If you’re traveling over Labor Day weekend, could you be more considerate to others who are struggling with the basics of getting through security while you’re breezing to the finish line? Or could you be a little more self-aware about your own bad habits? (Full disclosure: I’ve learned to stop tapping my foot when people are long winded on a conference call. It only adds to the agitation that’s probably already happening.)
This week, I’ll leave you with an idea from novelist Tom Robbins: “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”