What are You Advertising?
Many of us go along our merry way, living life and don’t often stop and think about the question: What are you advertising? The aim of a commercial is to have a memorable take-away to help you remember a product or service. What product or service are you advertising? Many of us are drawn to ads such as the Clydesdale horse commercial with the adorable puppies that make us feel good all over during the Super Bowl. The warmth garnered from that commercial is transferred to the company that it’s advertising, Budweiser.
Most of us don’t have Clydesdale horses or even puppies on hand that we can film, but is there anything in your life that is memorable, that would garner a particular emotion from others? If so, is it something that will inspire or help others? Those are deep questions that not many spend time thinking about. It’s actually easier to not think too hard about this question as it asks these questions: Are you living your life with significance? What are you truly communicating? Many who are faced with the second half of life, or beyond, start thinking more seriously about significance, legacy and what they’ll leave behind. However, it is not too early to think about it much earlier.
What are you advertising? is a good question to ponder about your life and what you want to be known for, if anything. What’s important to you and what is your life broadcasting to others? I guarantee it’s broadcasting something. I want to be known for truth, integrity, trust, kindness, generosity and as a thought leader. That’s a big order, I know! How am I, and how are you, emulating those characteristics? In the book 5 Top Regrets of the Dying, the number one regret people have on their deathbed is not having the courage to live a life true to oneself. This brings up the task of evaluating your core values and questioning if you have the courage to live according to those values. If you were watching a commercial about your life, how are those values communicated? For the messaging of your life, we will focus here on three areas: your core values, your attitudes and positive endings.
What are You Advertising with Your Core Values?
Your core values are the values that are a constant in your life. These can be your commitment to family, a strong work ethic, integrity, giving to others, etc... If you have not spent time evaluating these values for your life, this is a great time to carve out some time to really think through those values. Your core values should be consistent in both your personal and professional life. The focus of your top core values can shift slightly in focus, but the main premise of each value should be the same. (Free Core Values Download here)
Your values will influence what you are known for and even when you’re not aware of those values, you are their direct advertisement. For example, if you are committed to a strong work ethic, the content you create regularly may not only define you as a hard worker, but a thought leader in your field. Most information is usually rehashed and presented in a different way unless it’s cutting edge scientific research. However, there is a huge value in being consistent with valuable information, even if it has been said before. Consistency communicates you care about your message but also says a lot about your work ethic
Honesty and integrity have seemed all but completely lost in our world of misinformation, fake news, mandates and political posturing. Opinion pieces have become the new journalism. (see book: American Muckracker) In communicating opinion, honesty and transparency go a long way in how a message is received. We have recently watched on the world’s stage a leader fighting for his country’s freedom. This is a leader who didn’t leave and hide while his cities were being bombed and many were killed. His messaging and stance advertised to the world that he honestly cared about his country and the people. He didn’t try to fool anyone into the fact that it would be dangerous to stay and fight. His core values portrayed an attitude of a true world hero. Our world could use more heroes like that today.
What are You Advertising with Your Attitude?
Not everyone has the chance to be a hero on the world’s stage, though there are probably not many who would want to fill that role with the sacrifice it would take to do so. However, there are many ways we can live every day advertising a positive attitude with encouragement toward others. There is something refreshing about a person who can walk in a room with a smile and make those around him or her immediately smile in return. When in junior high, I had the habit of drawing and doodling during class when bored, which happened often during the subjects for which I had little interest. One of my drawings was a huge smiley mouth with the letters inside, smile! I’m not sure I ever finished that particular sketch, but I remember how it kept me focused on having an uplifting attitude. It also served to keep me engaged enough to at least look interested during class.
Adopting a smile when you enter a room adds an uplifting and positive energy that can be contagious. That attitude can impact the mood of a meeting or event. This doesn’t mean you have to always Put on a Happy Face, like the song says, but that overall uplifting attitude makes a person fun to be around. The opposite of this is a complaining spirit and I guarantee that is not one that I want to advertise. However, I know of those who may be unaware how they come across. A complaining spirit adds stress, tension and conflict. We’ve all seen many marital relationships that are rife with complaints, barked commands and judgmental attitudes. This only brings division, stress and upheaval to not only themselves, but those around them.
To keep a positive attitude, you may have to let go of some unrealistic expectations. This can apply at home personally or at work professionally. Many are now working remotely discovering the unique challenges of finding the best place to focus without interruptions. From experience, those interruptions are often just part of working from a home office. Greg & I have side-by-side offices and we’ve worked at creating our own space. (See: Working Side by Side) At this point, I try to minimize interruptions by posting signs on the doors when I’m recording and letting things go when not absolutely perfect.
One of my favorite story-teller podcasts is Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. It seems the bigger the guest he has on his show, the more technical issues reveal themselves from mics not picking up, video not working or a number of other technical gremlins that suddenly appear. Having to handle issues in the field of technology should make us all more patient with other areas of our lives, but many times, it just doesn’t transfer! With an attitude of resentment, bitterness, anger or even of a victim, you can stay circling in your roundabout, stuck for a very long time! (see: What is a Roundabout Hero™?) An attitude check for any one of us will help the days, weeks and even years go much smoother.
What are You Advertising for a Positive Ending?
Many who arrive at mid-career or the halftime of life either don’t want to think too far in the future as they may be dreading what the next chapter holds. Or they start thinking seriously on how they can live with more significance. The reality is, when all is said and done, we don’t take anything with us and many of our belongings won’t be needed or even wanted by others when we leave this earth. What we leave behind is so much more than things. It’s building into the lives of others, words you say and write, even some intellectual property that is impactful.
A good question to ask is What would you like to be said about you at your eulogy, or celebration of life? You may not care about or even want a celebration but it’s a good exercise to think about your life and how it could be celebrated! Having had the privilege of speaking a eulogy at both my parent’s life celebrations, the reality of how a whole life can be summed up in twenty or thirty minutes was sobering. What would be said about yours? (FREE Download on Writing a Eulogy)
For me, I have noticed lately, more than ever, that I tend to be in a hurry. I do get a lot of comments on my productivity, for which I’m grateful, but recently I’ve found myself glancing over at my husband holding the remote and if he doesn’t fast forward the commercials quick enough I find myself getting impatient. And then there’s the grocery checkout. When the person in front of you doesn’t have their card ready to pay how do you respond? Frustrated? Of course –especially if you have yours out, ready to go! But we can decide if we let those stress points rule over us. Being impatient doesn’t speed up any of the lines or processes, though if it did, we’d be getting through those lines much quicker!
An attitude of giving, kindness, hard work, and a life of purpose are decisions that require action on our end. We may not think others are watching, but I guarantee there are those who see us in our most unflattering moments. Also, I’d encourage you to not wait if someone has a positive influence on your life. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell them. Life is not that busy to not reach out and encourage others as we all are headed toward what we hope is a positive ending. When all is said and done what matters most are your relationships and if what you are advertising doesn’t include those around you, you may be missing out! Take time to evaluate your core values, attitudes and positive ending and you will be in a better place to live with fewer or even no regrets with the courage to live a life true to oneself!
Many who are faced with the second half of life, or beyond, start thinking more seriously about significance, legacy and what they’ll leave behind.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning