Why Personal Branding Is Like Big Magic

9 February, 2017

You never know what giving a gift can inspire you to do. You might want to choose the perfect wrapping, spend some money on yourself, or just tick the chore off your list.

Or, like me, you might decide to buy a gift you’d like to have yourself. This is how I got to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I spent a glorious summer holiday eating crisps on a lounger with Liz. What I loved most were her simple but profound insights on issues that confuse us all, causing me to stab animatedly at the page with my knuckle, mindful of getting chip-grease on my husband’s new book. Munch munch.

Big Magic offers a wise, brave take on creativity, why perfection is your killer, and how to escape from being pinned beneath the boulder of your own reputation. Above all, this book appealed to the authenticity-hunter and personal branding specialist in me.

Liz writes:

Look, I don’t know what’s hidden within you. I have no way of knowing such a thing. You yourself may barely know, although I suspect you’ve caught glimpses. I don’t know your capabilities, your aspiration, your longings, your secret talents. But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

 The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living.

 The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.

The often surprising results of that hunt – that’s what I call Big Magic. [I like to call it Personal Branding]

So, to quote [and paraphrase] Elizabeth Gilbert in a selection of her charming observations on authenticity:

  • The thing about the Unique Selling Proposition – the USP – is that people expect it to be original. Well, it doesn’t. It just has to be authentic. [That’s why it should really be called the ASP – the Authentic Selling Proposition.]
  • Authenticity has a quiet resonance. Be who you are with all your heart. Share what you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, it will feel unique.
  • Perfection is the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun. It’s the enemy of your authentic self.
  • Do what you love to do and do it with both seriousness and lightness. At least then you know that you’ve tried and that – whatever the outcome – you have traveled a noble path.
  • The work wants to be made. And it wants to be made through you.

In Big Magic, the author tells of a clever, independent, creative and powerful woman in her mid-seventies who said:

“We all spend our twenties and thirties trying hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realise this liberating truth – nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.”

They aren’t. They weren’t. They never were.

And that’s awesome.

Now you. Where do perfection and fears about other people’s opinion stop you from being your authentic and creative self? Hit reply.

Love and Big Magic,

Robyn x

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.