personal development Archives - Cortney Sargent, Sr. | "The People's Entrepreneur"

Self-Awareness Is the Key to Personal Branding Success

If you don’t know yourself, it’s impossible for you to operate in your fullest potential as an entrepreneur and personal brand. Therefore, self-awareness is the #1 key to success.

To be a successful personal brand, it’s imperative that you know your gifts, skills, strengths, weaknesses and abilities. And, to help you accomplish this, I have 3 self-awareness exercises I want you to do that will help you identity what makes you unique, identify your strengths and weaknesses that can be used as essential components of your personal brand.

For example, if you’re a strong communicator, perhaps you want to incorporate public speaking into your branding and marketing strategy. If your weakness is video production, a way to use that to your advantage is to partner with someone (perhaps a college student) who’s getting their start in video production and you can be a case study for them. These are just a couple of examples how you can use your strengths and weaknesses to your advantage.

 

Let’s jump into the three self-awareness exercises.

1. The Mirror Exercise

The Mirror Exercise, which is where you self-identify your gifts, strengths, weaknesses and skills. What do YOU believe about you? This is not going to be an easy exercise, but in order for it to work, you must be brutally honest with yourself.

2. The Peer Revelation Exercise

The Peer Revelation exercise is where you ask 3 of the closest people to you what they believe your gifts, strengths, weakness and skills are. Be sure to ask people who won’t sugar coat it and who will be honest with you. The worse thing you can have is someone who’s trying to be nice just to spare your feelings. This exercise isn’t about being nice–it’s about getting down to the nitty gritty of who you are as a person so that you can become better. If done correctly, after completing this exercise you will be very enlightened about what people think of you–it may not be what you expect.

3. The Reality Check Exercise

The final exercise is called Reality Check because it is the intersection of what you believe about you and what others believe about you. This is where you write down the commonalities from your and your peers’ answers to exercises 1 and 2. What are your takeaways here? What qualities (positive or negative) do you have that can be used to grow your brand? What weak spots do you may have that can hinder your growth if left unchecked?

 

The last thing I want you to do is write your Personal Vision Statement (your vision for your life), your Life Purpose Statement (reason for living) and your Why Statement (the reason you wake up and do what you do).

At the end of this lesson, you will have a deeper understanding about who you are as a person, which is far more important than anything else in business. Again, you are the brand, so having the ability to self-assess is vital to your continued success.

As best practice, go through this self-discovery process at least once per year. If you do all of these exercises with honesty, integrity and with an open mind, you will be on your way to becoming a better you and ultimately a better entrepreneur.

 

To make this self-discovery easier, I’ve created a mini-workbook that has spaces for you to complete these exercises. You can fill it out on the computer or print it. Good luck.

Download the Self-Awareness Workbook

A Personal Story – Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

During the first few years of our marriage, my wife Christian and I experienced some very difficult financial hardships, which dictated the state of our mindset. I had a startup business that was drowning and we were struggling to make ends meet. We were in a very deep, dark financial hole and we couldn’t see any way out. The more we tried, the deeper we went. Then, one day the unthinkable happened—the electricity got turned off for non-payment.

That day I had to take a wash-up in the sink with a freezing cold gallon of water from the refrigerator. I sat on the floor in front of the bathtub and cried like a baby. I screamed up to God and asked Him why? I asked Him was that all He had for us; was that all that life had to offer? Deep down inside, I knew the answer was no, and that was all the shimmer of hope I needed. From that day forward, I made up in my mind that our lights would never be turned off again. I made up in my mind that I would do everything within my power to change all of the financial problems we faced. And, I did. Of course it wasn’t overnight because the problems weren’t created overnight. But, the key is: I made my mind up that we wouldn’t struggle anymore. We changed our perspective about our problems. Instead of seeing them as problems, we used them as stepping stones to financial freedom. Instead of allowing them to kill us, we allowed them to motivate us.

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Whether the problem is with your personal finances, marriage, family, business, job or a combination, you change the trajectory of your life. It doesn’t matter how big your problems are; what matters is what you choose to do about the problem. Life is going to happen every single day and I promise you that it won’t all be nice. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about it. Instead of focusing on the 10%, focus on the 90%.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Will you choose to sit back and dwell in self-pity and apathy, or will you choose to step up and take your life back? Make life worth living, instead of living by default.

21 Questions That Will Change Your Life

These 21 thought-provoking questions will change your life if you honestly and transparently look inside of yourself. The key is to be bold enough and decide to take action on what you see.

  1. What is it that is keeping you from being great?
  2. What area of your life are you not giving all of your effort to?
  3. What are you not doing that you know you should be doing? And, why? For most people, there is only for a few years of life when you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life. The rest of your life is the real challenge…actually doing it. When you do what you know you’re supposed to do, your life can go to another whole level.
  4. What are the small foxes that are hindering your progress? When you’re faithful over the small things, you will find that the bigger things that you’re striving to accomplish, actually comes easy. Be faithful over the few…
  5. What is your purpose and are you fulfilling it? Your purpose is the reason you were put on this earth. When you pursue purpose, you discover success.
  6. What is your gift and are you using it? You gift is the tool that will help you fulfill your purpose. It’s what you the absolute best with the least amount of effort.
  7. What are your values? Write down the 3 most important aspects of each of these areas in your life: personal development, family, relationships, work, health and spirituality. These are your values.
  8. Are your “shoulds” and “wants” getting in the way? The desires of our ego are often in conflict with the values of our heart. If we allow what we think we SHOULD do and what we WANT get in the way of what’s actually right, that will lead to destruction.
  9. What did I learn today? Who did I help? What made me laugh? Ask yourself these 3 questions at the end of each day to help you maintain clarity in your life.
  10. How can I make today better than yesterday?
  11. Am I over my past? Yes, the past happened, but it can’t be changed so get over it. It may be difficult to do, but you have to make the most of what’s in front of you– the opportunities, people and moments.
  12. What company do I keep? Birds of a feather flock together. You are the company you keep. It’s impossible to consistently hang around someone and one person not change the other. Are you changing them, or are they changing you?
  13. If you weren’t afraid what would you attempt? If you knew you would be succeed, what would you do? Whatever that is, go do it! The only limits and boundaries to success that exist are the ones you create.
  14. If I were dying, would I worry about this? So often and so easily we lose perspective on what’s important in life. We allow so many small unimportant things consume our attention and life. We’re all dying. The older we get, the closer to the end of life we become. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this in order to enjoy living.
  15. Have I forgiven all the people who hurt me?
  16. Have I asked for forgiveness from all of the people that I hurt? Things happen. People hurt us and we hurt people. That’s a part of being human. But learn to forgive and don’t hold grudges. You can’t move forward in life if you don’t.
  17. What’s your WHY? Why do you do what you do? If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough. If your why isn’t big enough, you’ll always use the what and how as an excuse to failure.
  18. Who did you make better today?
  19. What legacy do you want to leave for the generations to come?
  20. What do you want people to remember about you when you die?
  21. What would Jesus do? This may sound cliché, but it is a serious question we should ask ourselves because Jesus was the epitome of a perfect human.

What’s green in your life?

What’s green in your life? When you don’t take care of a pool or fish aquarium, algae grows, bacteria gets in the water and eventually it turns green, or even brown. To get rid of that algae, you must treat the water with chlorine and pool shock. Depending on how contaminated the water is, it can take several days for the water to clear up. In order to keep algae from growing, you must take care of it on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.

Our lives are the same way.

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Is your marriage contaminated? When was the last time you took your wife on a date? When was the last time you appreciated your husband. At your wedding when you said “I do”, the real dating started at that moment. Never forsake being friends with your spouse; this is what keeps the fire burning.

Is your family life turning green? How much quality time are you spending with your children? Right now your children need you more than ever; don’t ignore them because you’re too busy. How about your other family members? Don’t be so occupied with work and life that you don’t call those family members that you don’t talk to often. We’re all busy and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon. I know you’ve said before that you don’t have time to do something. The reality is though, you DO have time, you just choose to do other things with it. Make time for what’s important.

How about your finances? Is your bank account green? What are you doing today to get you and your family’s finances in good shape? Set small goals and take small steps toward fulfilling those goals. It’s not impossible; you just need to adjust your mind-setting from I CAN’T to I CAN.

Finally, has your spiritual relationship become contaminated? Again, yes we’re all busy but you must make time to spend in your Bible, meditation and prayer. There’s an awesome 5-day Bible plan I read a couple weeks ago that I’d like you to check out. It’s called The Lies of Busyness: Devotions From Time Of Grace. It’s very challenging and straight-forward. It has encouraged me to make spending time with God a priority. This really hit home for me and I’ve found myself reading the plan over and over. Here’s the link.

What’s green in your life? This week, I want to encourage you to start the maintenance process to get you water clear. Get rid of all that algae and make your water blue, again. It may seem impossible, but it’s not. YOU GOT THIS! Be encouraged and have an AWESOME week!


 

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8 Ways to Be an Awesome Friend

Have you ever had a friend who you thought was a real but turned out they weren’t? Yeah, I think we all have. Just like good help is hard to find, good friends are sometimes hard to find as well. I’ve learned though, that in order to attract and have good friends, you must first BE a good friend. Here are 8 ways to ensure you are being the best friend you can be so that you can have the best friends you’ve ever had.

  1. Add value. The #1 way to be an authentic, awesome friend is to add value to people’s lives. Money can purchase valuable things, but value itself cannot be purchased. Adding value is not about buying things or giving nice compliments. Adding value is about giving people something intangible that can positively affect their life forever. Whose life will you add value to today?
  2. Always be truthful. Along with loneliness, there’s almost no feeling in the world than being lied to by someone you care about. Lies are like milk: they have an expiration date and end the end, they smell horrible! The truth is refreshing and goes a long way, so why not tell it?
  3. Remember the small things that make a big impact. Anyone can remember a birthday, an anniversary or a holiday; it takes a real friend to remember those small things that only a friend would know. Whether it’s grabbing a favorite snack, remembering their favorite color or special dates of the year that are significant to them. A real friend remembers the small stuff.
  4. Be consistent in your character. Fake friends are nice today and rude tomorrow. They call you friend today and enemy tomorrow. Real friends don’t do that. Real friends are consistent in their character and personality; they don’t take you on roller coasters. Real friends are the same in every environment and around everyone.
  5. Be there. If you want to be an awesome friend, then just be there. Nothing hurts worse than a person you thought were a real friend not being there for you. If your friend needs you, then be there. If they’re in trouble, then be there. If they’re down in the dumps, then be there. That’s real friendship.
  6. Listen and respond. One of the biggest problems men have in relationship is listening. I know because I’m a man myself. It’s just something about hearing a woman speak for long periods of time that causes us to tune out. We have to be purposeful in listening. Listening is a very important skill in friendship. If you’re friend is venting about something, do your best to not only listen, but respond as well.
  7. Realize that relationship is more important than anything. It’s inevitable that friends will have disagreements; it’s just a part of life. You have to realize though that the relationship is more important than any silly disagreement you may have. Disagreements are problems are temporary, but relationships last forever.
  8. Be genuinely concerned. People ask you, how are you doing? But, most of the time they don’t’ care. It’s only a formality. Real friends are genuinely concerned about the people they call friend. If they’re having a bad day, they really do want to know so they can try to help them have a better day.

 

At the end of the day, you can do all 8 of these things from start to finish, and with all of your power. But, sometimes people don’t reciprocate good friendship, which generally causes someone to be hurt. No matter hurt you’ve been and how broken you may feel right now because of previous broken relationships, I encourage you to continue giving all you can to be the best friend you can be.

Bible Scriptures About Friendship

John 15:12-15 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Proverbs 27:5-6 – Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Proverbs 22:24-25 – Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,  or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

 

Quotes About Friendship

  • Fake friends are like quarters, they change for a dollar.
  • A friend who became enemy, wasn’t a friend to begin with.
  • Friends make the worst enemies.
  • Don’t tell me all they said about me, tell me why they were so comfortable saying it to you.
  • I don’t need a bunch of friends. It’s better to have 4 quarters than 100 pennies.