“Paint Your Own Umbrella” speaks to capturing your uniqueness and your individuality and demonstrating it with confidence and, perhaps, even flair. A few shots of gusto and enthusiasm thrown into the mix might help as well.
“Paint Your Own Umbrella” was originally the title for my workshop on personal branding. When you paint your own umbrella, you choose
- the colours that represent you,
- the core components of your circle of influence, and
- the way you choose to manifest your persona “out loud.”
If you have painted your umbrella once, are you allowed to repaint your umbrella? Yes, of course. People do this all the time. One example is when you go from being a student to being employed in the world of work. A role, for instance, as a retired lawyer may turn into a role as a volunteer gardener and community choir member.
With respect to both the student and the lawyer in the paragraph above, what began for them as one sphere of influence, changed when the title of their persona changed. That’s what happens. The change comes with
the territory. For starters, their spheres of influence are different. Their voices come to rest on different audiences. The medical intern becomes a fully-fledged doctor and moves into private practice away from the emergency room of a hospital. A computer technician in training becomes certified and accepts a position on the help desk of a major IT supplier. Wardrobe may change. Attention to personal hygiene and appearance may change. Lifestyle may alter with the changes in hours spent working and diet may even change with a change in income.
Is it possible to paint your umbrella more than one colour? Why not? Most people have more than one role…or at the very least, they perform a variety of tasks within a single role. Each role might have a different colour by which it is represented in your daily life. And if someone who does exactly the same job as you do happens to paint their umbrella a different colour than you choose for yours, that’s okay.
What about different sizes of umbrellas? Does everyone have the same sized umbrella? Why, there’s a huge range of sizes from the tiny parasols that bartenders sometimes use to adorn drinks to huge patio umbrellas large enough to provide shade for ten people at a time. If you think of your umbrella—be it real, virtual or imaginary—as being any size you wish from miniature to global capacity, you can see how you can choose the size of the circle of influence you wish to develop.
Is it possible, therefore, to re-invent yourself? Is it possible to become more assertive with respect to the construction and management of your circle of influence? Is it possible to express your persona out loud as gentle as a whisper or boldly in capital letters, if you so desire?
Is it possible to carry two umbrellas at one time? I suppose one could, but it might get tricky. What is more likely to happen is that you will carry one umbrella and then trade it off for another one. You might even switch back and forth among several umbrellas. People with three part-time jobs could find themselves doing this all the time.
Paint Your Own Umbrella is all about making choices to support the actions you take regarding the development of your personal empowerment. This blog will address features and factors as they relate to personal empowerment through the concept of painting your own umbrella. Watch for new ways to develop your personal empowerment. In this, the introductory post to my Paint Your Own Umbrella Blog, I share three ways to paint your own umbrella with personal empowerment.
1. Voice – How you sound when you speak is part of your persona. The sound of your voice might be described as confident and reassuring. It might be described as raspy and dull. Ask someone you trust to tell you how you sound when you speak. Ask more than one person if you can. Try to get people who hear from you in different settings to give you a cross-section of responses. This survey of your friends is not necessarily valid. It’s definitely not scientific but it may get you started on examining your voice as a key part of you.
2. Posture – Your simplest of gestures and your natural physical stances send messages to those observing you. Some would call these messages your body language. Whether you agree with the interpretations people make concerning the way you sit or the way you stand, meaning will be derived from the way you physically present yourself. Go with the flow. Hold your body presence in your awareness. In fact, adopt a stance that says you have the authority to make your own decisions. Practice it standing up. Practice it sitting down. Carry your authority wherever you go.
3. Reflection – Reflective practice increases self-awareness. Reading about the behaviours and situations that interest you and seeking expert counsel are all part of reflective practice. Your mindful attention to your personal empowerment is a powerful skill for those interested in leadership roles.
Here’s to your personal empowerment. Here’s to painting your own umbrella. If you painted your own umbrella, what colour(s) would it be?
Donna Dahl is an energizing and imaginative professional coach with over ten years of experience serving both private citizens and members of the business community. Author of three self-help books, she was recently invited to be a co-author for the fourth book in an international series called The Change. Her third book, Lessons I learned from the Tortoise, has been described as “timeless masterpiece” and “challenges the reader to explore.”