A wave of discomfort always washes over me when I see the airline safety instructions that order you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. It’s always a child sitting next to the adult who calmly places their own mask on and then turns to help the little one. It just kind of goes against basic instinct doesn’t it? Kicking the seat in front of him for a four hour flight or not, that kid deserves a chance!
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Then again, I guess it makes sense right? You need to get yourself in order so you can effectively help someone else. If you are going about things in a rational way, you make sure you’re fully equipped to assist before lending a hand. Either way, if an oxygen mask ever dropped down in front of me on a plane the only thing you could count on me for would be a full fledged panic attack… but I digress.
I bring all of this up because starting my business, although wildly disproportionate in intensity to the oxygen-mask-plane-going-down scenario, was one of those situations. I found myself fully focused on helping others develop a coherent message and brand that I completely overlooked my own. Now at first, it really didn’t make a difference to me whether or not I had an established brand or presence in the market. Frankly, I didn’t have time for it to matter. Taking on random freelance opportunities on the side of my full time job pretty much meant never, ever being able to catch up. Then all at once I began to wrap up the projects I was working on and when I finally was able come up for air, it dawned on me… The growth and success of my own business was extremely important to me. This was that pivotal moment where I decided to put my own mask on before continuing to help others with theirs, and I haven’t looked back because getting behind my own brand was a crucial part of growing it. I mean, how could I possibly be providing these services to the public without having an established message and plan of my own?!
Now, I’m not saying apply this “help yourself before you help others” mentality to all aspects of your life. Don’t place a higher priority on blowing your nose before saving that elderly person from falling off of a cliff. I’m just saying give your brand and your marketing a little TLC, and give yourself some oxygen. Your business will be better for it.
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