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Personal BRANDING sensible suggestions

I picked this up on LINKEDIN

Goldie Chan 8th NOV FORBES

10 Golden Rules of Personal Branding

Having said earlier today I am not a list / recipe / rule fan in the sphere of personal development, I am signposting ANOTHER list. Go Figure……

Personal Branding is at heart about the identity [and all of its associated assumptions and behavioural predictions] that others see in us. We have a choice to attempt to manage that identity by clearly focusing what were we are either deliberately or semi / unconsciously projecting. Although it is not possible to ‘control’ another person’s sense making of YOU, influence attempts can and ought to be made.

And so a catchy phrase like PERSONAL BRANDING pops up and guides a practice that is essentially identity management.

Here are the 10 headlines to think about in personal branding  / identity management

  • Have a focus.
  • Be genuine.
  • Tell a story
  • Be consistent
  • Be ready to fail
  • Create a positive impact.
  • Follow a successful example.
  • Live your brand.
  • Let other people tell your story.
  • Leave a legacy.

“Once you’ve built your personal brand with a reputation and community behind it, the next step is to think about the legacy that you’ll leave behind. What are the keywords and actions that you want to be known for? Blake Jamieson, artist at Blake Jamieson LLC, who paints pop art portraits of famous tech and sports heroes reminds us that: “Building a personal brand is much bigger than building a business. The only exit strategy is legacy.”

I am struggling to think of my legacy phrase ? It would possibly be “we expected too much change in one year and not enough in ten.” either that or ” does your black americano coffee come in a large size?”

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Michelle Obama’s 31 Questions you SHOULD Ask Yourself

Hot off the publication press [19th November 2019] and hot on the heels of a rip roaring best selling Memoir [every middle aged woman I know got it for Christmas last year] Michelle Obama is posing us with 31 questions. And, she suggests we should ask them of ourselves.

Generally, as a psychology professional I am not a fan of

  • the word should or ought for that matter
  • and the dreaded self help formula e.g. list.

Newsflash I think that there are some truly insightful offerings on Obama’s list. Questions I have not come across before that are genuine pause creators and reflection leaping off points.

Here are all 31…..happy weekend. 



  • Describe your childhood home. What are some of the details that stand out the most? What made your home different from your friends’ homes?
  • What did you do as a child when school let out for the summer? What activities did you previously pursue but don’t have time for now? How can you get back to them again?
  • Who was the most influential teacher when you were little? How did this person leave such an impression?
  • Write a letter to your teenage self giving advice and revealing what the future holds.
  • Write a letter to your future self outlining your expectations for the years to come.


  • Where did your ancestors come from and what challenges did they face?
  • What kind of childhood did your parents or grandparents have? How was it different from and similar to your own?
  • Who do you care for in your family? How does that relationship help define you?
  • How do you celebrate the holidays? What traditions do your family hold dear?
  • Describe a specific place that holds important meaning to your family.


  • List three people who contribute to your circle of strength. Next to each person’s name, describe why he or she is so dependable.
  • If you had to choose, who is the most precious person in your life? How did you meet this person and what do you think your future together holds?
  • Who looks up to you? How do you nurture that person’s spark?
  • Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a long time updating him or her on what’s happened in your life since you last saw each other.
  • If you could have a conversation with a loved one who has passed away, what would you ask him or her?

Me, myself and I

  • Where did your name come from and how has it influenced the person you’ve become?
  • How would you describe yourself to someone who does not know you?
  • Have you ever felt subject to a cliché? How did you react?
  • List 10 items of clothing you loved along with when and where you wore them.
  • What is your most prized possession and how did you come to own it?

Health and happiness

  • What happened in your life today? List five things that went well.
  • Describe your perfect day — beginning with breakfast and ending with dinner.
  • Write about the last moment you remember being truly at peace. Where were you? What were you doing? How can you tap into that feeling again?
  • When was your last good cry, and how did you feel afterwards?
  • How do you look after yourself after you’ve had a bad day?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • How has this year been different from last year?
  • “When they go low, we go high.” How do you put this phrase into practice?

Hopes and dreams

  • Describe the world of your dreams. What changes — whether on a local, national or global level — do you wish to see?
  • How do you want to contribute to the world? What is one small step you can take this year towards that contribution?
  • Change happens from the ground up. What is one small thing you can do this week to bring about new change in your life or in the life of someone else?

© Michelle Obama. This is an edited and abridged extract from Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama, published on Tuesday (Viking £15.99)

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I saw an article in the LAW section of  The Times this week [published each THURSDAY].

It offered a damming diagnosis of legal training in England Wales and N. Ireland. The spotlight has been shining upon legal training with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination [SQE] in Autumn 2021. This reform will result in

  • Much streamlined process
  • Examination pass & some work experience
  • No University degree required.

This is a major shift in offering and mindset and in the higher education sector, this usually means new entrants into the market. Whether you are of the view that legal training needs a shake up or not, it would appear it is happening.

The College of Law [Australia and New Zealand based in a JV with US firms] is offering a cramming model that they claim will push a ‘faster, cheaper, better’  form of solicitor training.

Faster and cheaper will appeal to the students who can clear the debt accrual stage and into income generation asap. It is the word better that will prove contentious as it plays out.

Better in whose terms?: Less experienced ‘qualified’ professionals in the job market pushes the training agenda into the firm. Just about doable for mid to large firms [not known for outstanding HR practice]  but smaller firms will have neither the will nor the skill to pick up the mantle.

In this area, as is many many others in the University / Higher Education sector, the blurring of boundaries between University as educator and industry as consumer of education, will increase. The prediction post BREXIT is for that to accelerate as Educators can a afford to do less with less talent [brain drain of EU national academics already happening].

So Universities and other Higher Education instructions can offer less, will industry offer more ? Is industry capable of offering more ?

Watch this space I guess.

Meantime, we at H2Pro continue to develop our latest additions to UK University-based legal training programmes.  We are designing and will be offering content around

  • well being a legal practitioners
  • the psychology of the law
  • client psychology
  • lawyer as leader

Most enjoyable process to be involved in course design and the production of something pioneering and new for the new year of 2020.

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January Diary Filling Up Already

It is remarkable that every year at this time I still ‘take a moment’ each time I book diary dates into the ‘new year’. It is a surprise [here already !] gate closing panic [ahh need to get X, Y, Z done before everyone starts Christmas shut down] and relief [another year, another fulfilling year, I feel lucky] that the new year is upon me.
Today I added so much into my January 2020 schedule that it is virtually full.
Am meeting with or networking with people from the Media, the Drinks industry, New Non-Executive Directors and key stakeholders in the Northern Power movement and colleagues in this field looking to collaborate.

Happy with that so far, more than happy. #Blessed.

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Systematic Inventive Thinking: Stay INSIDE your Box….no really for once it is advocated!

On listening to BBC Radio 4 [BBC SOUNDS APP] I came across a ‘Lose Ends Programme’ in which the author [Jeff Kinney] of Diary of Wimpy Kid [one of the worlds best selling children’s authors] spoke about SYSTEMATIC INVENTIVE THINKING. He was sharing how he ‘does’ his creative process and it was systematic, a daily routine and delivered high quality outcomes for him.

I confess I had not come across it so had a hunt about and discovered:

  • Its been around since 1993
  • It is about thinking INSIDE the box
  • It suggests you work with what is familiar and known to you
  • It has 5 techniques to be applied singularly or in combination
    • Subtraction
    • Task Unification
    • Multiplication
    • Attribute Dependency
    • Function Following Form

If it interests you I an sure you will research the technique fully. A quick example would be subtraction. The principle is that inside a complex whole is usually a simple element that is the golden thread, the causality or the point of engagement. Strip back to that and that is where the creative solution will be.

It reminded me of film director Peter Jackson talking about how to reduce the huge Lord of the Rings Trilogy into three movies. He said on filming the first instalment he had hours and hours and hours of film in the can and was lost in the editing suite. It then occurred to him [SUBTRACTION] to strip away everything that was not Frodo’s story. That would be is arch and that would be his moment of creative forward leaping.

Overall, I thought the idea had utility. Specifically because most of the decision making and task based implementation we are engaged in inside organisations is related to adaptations and re-alignments not radical shifts, revolutions or huge leaps forward. I thought this thinking discipline was therefore sympathetic to most people’s [1] lived reality [2] comfort zone.

However, if I were to truly create and wished to veer toward bigger leaps forward and or an artistic aesthetic, I think I would still look outside and not inside the box.

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Women in Business Conference has been a Networking Success

We both attended the LEEDS WOMEN IN BUSINESS #SHEThrives conference yesterday. It was a good event on the whole. The upsides were

  • Full 200+ attendees
  • Varied attendees though the dominant demographic seemed to be smaller owner managed businesses.
  • The format was OK with keynote speakers and panels.
  • Good speakers and panel members who spoke well and were thoroughly engaging:
    • Nicky Chance Thompson CEO of The PieceHall Halifax
    • Sophie Jones Heads of Corporate Comms Channel Four

were the highlights.

The less good elements was the general tenor of most of the speakers and debate was all somewhat, how to say this, tame. Given that we are in a position of shockingly minimal dial shifting in….

  • gender pay gap
  • women in power positions
  • female well being at work 
  • even distribution of caring roles in male / female life partnerships

….one can’t help thinking the debate ought to be more

  • demanding, much more demanding,
  • louder,
  • more radical and with
  • bigger picture thinking. 

It is a hard balancing act between more radical and yet remaining inclusive for women who are just commencing their business journey. However, mixing it up a bit would seem to be worth a try. A question Phyl asked that picked up a theme of bigger radical action picked up a lot of positive comment. As did Sophie Jones’s clarion call for a healthier form of political engagement in the UK.

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Networking Many ways Does the Trick

Monday 18th NOVEMBER 2019

Building a Network is Crucial for us

We are heading into a busy week for H2Pro. Both Phyl and Alison have clients to work with, clients to collaborate with on the ‘next steps’ design of a culture change programme, and a conference to enjoy.

As we have learned to network alongside one another we have taken the lead in some areas and fully shared in others. It has been an organic process as we interweave strengths and time pressures.

We have been present on

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Somewhat on Instagram
  • Offering pro bono talks etc
  • Writing Papers, Reviewing Books,

Seeing people, meeting contacts old and new.

At this stage, all media are important. Our target audience need to know what we do how we can lift individual and firm performance. But social media has played a big big role: can’t imagine how we all built networks before it.

It is a game, as all networking is game-like….there are players, tacit rules, strategies for success in play etc…….the way we engaged has been:

Watch an learn how the game works differently on the different social media

Then after a period of observation / reflection begin a journey.

It’s been highly educative, high velocity and it WORKS !

People have started to come to us, approach us and there is genuine reciprocity in much of our social media activity.

We have Zoom Calls, face-to-face meets, information exchange activity as well as good old follows, likes and sharing.

#Lesson it takes time and you have to put that time in everyday to start with

#Lesson Be positive and contributory otherwise what is the point?

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Our Wheels Have Traction

Friday 15th November 2019

Setting up a new business is genuinely an incremental process. From an aspiration, to an idea that takes shape, to testing that idea, to network network, then to bring that business alive.

Alison and I have been thoroughly engaged in setting up H2Pro. We are now at the stage where this business is alive: our wheels have achieved traction.

We’ve happily been delivering for clients, we’ve been growing our network, we have a strategy ..oh yes we have… and are being really planful about how we develop and market.

This week we have:

Continue reading Our Wheels Have Traction