Master Goenka instructs meditation students
Dear Masters and Friends,
It is rare for me to have chance in sharing a little bit of my early experiences in meditation. Yes, searching around the Internet you can see a lot of meditation courses, organised by most of Buddhism groups. It is normal and easy here in Ho Chi Minh city for youth especially, when you register a course at a pagoda to study how to meditate, instructed by a master or a monk. It is also "very normal" for beginning meditation students to get a "visualised" situation, during which your body feelings can be turned into light weight
, or you can "see" some kinds of colors or lights, or you can also see the spectacular views
by "third eye"... Well, many people can "see" or "imagine" like that!
I will not comment how meditating is right or not right in this topic, since I know every master and friend here could get their own valuable experiences via meditation by themselves. What I mention is - like all courses' instructors could expect - that you SHOULD practice to meditate daily, each 30 minutes to 1 hour every slot time. Why?
Because Meditation is not something very luxurious. Meditation is Yourself
. Meditation is to experience your SELF-FEELINGS inside your body
, which you forget (forget to care yourself) many times and many days... Me myself
during 2 continuous years in entrepreneurship, forgot it
too. And inevitably, I got exact "karma" which had been lead by mistakes after mistakes that I had caused myself. If there were not a Master
called "Self-experience Meditation"
, I might not be here with you sharing some of valuable information, which everybody, if lucky enough, could have chance to join once a year in their lives.
I joined a Vipassana
course with the instruction of Master Goenka
, the first time at Ngoc Thanh Tinh Xa - a pagoda for female monks of a Buddhism branch from south of Vietnam. 10 days to be disciplined in noble silence for you to experience all
feelings of love, sorrow, anger, release and ect
inside your "ADN". Nothing to me could ever be more amazed than that! You tried hard to be in silence, no talk, no little sign to anyone else even the roommates. After the whole course, if someone asked you how you felt, just an answer: "You should experience at least once in your life!" or "Amazing!"
Neither do I know how much happiness or effects could happen to such an amount of meditating students, but all of us - the old students - want to join the course again at least once a year. Many tried to find themselves a more appropriate way and participated in monthly courses. Wow, why it can be so mysterious like that?
This is for you, my Vietnamese fellows and others friends and masters
, to experience yourself
then you tell me why. I am really looking forward to seeing you happy and sucessful in a peaceful-minded life. https://sites.google.com/site/vnvipassana/dhammavinnu
To your success and LOVE
My little experience in an early morning time with Pyramid Group, one of meditation methods from India, Pyramid Valley, Bangalore (Hang Serena)
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Nobody can have a whole life entirely on their own. No living creatures can. If you're a living being, you've got to have an environment in which to live, and in which to thrive. And so is true if you want your brand to be alive.
Your brand, much similar to a human in flesh, is a living entity, not biologically, but mentally, professionally and in times even physically. And if your want this living thing to survive and thrive, you've got to put it in a suitable, nourishing environment. Imagine a fish in an empty pond, with a little water and no plants or microorganic things or essential condition to support its living, could it even exist? Probably not. And even if somehow it makes it way into existence, it'll be pretty vulnerable and sure not to last. Likewise, a brand without any environment to support it would not even be recognized as a brand.
That is where your social network ecosystem comes in. A socially energetic enviroment will boost your brand to high activity and increase the vitality of your brand. In contrast, an oasis brand standing barely in the middle of an all-connected world will soon wither and die. That's why you need a system of online social presence and not just one or two randomly created sites. This will be the ecosystem of your brand. Vibrancy, vitality and virality is what this system will be of great help to you. It is not luxury; it is necessity. It is essential condition for your online brand. Only then can you think of beginning your truly professional branding.
Next time, we'll talk about what an online ecosystem for your brand means.
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This nice Infographics says it all about basic steps on your journey to personal branding. Take a look and see where your're standing.
Wherever it is, remember that this is just a beginning - and a good one. ☺
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"A Brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It's the sum of all the experiences you have with a company."
- Amir Kassaei
Every time a person comes in contact with you, whether in a meeting, a party, a game session, a lunch, or a business deal, etc. whenever you meet someone, they're all imprinted with a certain image of you in their mind. In other words, you always create an impression in the people you come in contact with. It can be an acquaintances you haven't seen for a long time, a close friends you frequently meet, your manager or colleges, or a business partner that plays a key role in your coming projects. Whoever it is, you may want to create a positive impression in their mind, because each person is a viral point and you would never want to underestimate the power of virality on your brand.
So, how do you create good impressions on people's mind? Tons of books have been written about making you look and act more impressively before people, so we're not laying hands on that. But there's another subtle yet influential factor that greatly affects how people form their impressions of you. That is what experiences they have with you as a brand.
As our quote has said it, those impressions come from the experiences they feel when being around you. When you smile at a person, you give them an experience of friendliness, comfort and kindness. And it feels good. When you shake your partner's hands firmly with a respectful nod, you create an impression of confidence and, more importantly, your appreciation of them, which gives them an experience of being respected and appreciated. And it feels good. When you listen attentively to a person, you create an experience of feeling warm, open, and honest. And it feels good. You see, by being an enhancer of others' experiences, you are sowing the very seed of an oustanding brand. And if kept nurtured time by time, it will grow into a mature, powerful and magnificient brand!
So, what kind of experiences are you giving to the people around? Is it making them feel good? Or is it lowering their moods? Make sure you give your people constructive experiences, and your brand will naturally, automatically be engraved with positive image in their mind and heart.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou
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In other to be a trustworhy person, you have to be accountable for two things: What you tell yourself, and what you tell others.
Let's get straight: you're finding best ways to earn trust from people to build your successful personal brand. And you've got contracts to sign, deals to make, deadlines to run, etcetera and etcetera. And you spend your time running errands from dusk till dawn, days and nights, spring and autumn. And eventually at the end of the year you may find people consider your words less serious. You can say tons of things to keep your pride and give you or your listeners more of instant gratification, yet unless your actions reflect what you've said, your words will lose their value sooner or later. Because, as the wise saying that always goes, "Action speaks louder than words", thus even more than true in the personal branding world.
If you don't give people a sustainable image of yourself, then you'll have a distracted personal brand. And on the contrary, if you can be trustable, meaning aligning your action with a sensible level of truth and do not often wittingly or unwittingly "lie", whether to others or yourself, then you can be a very focused brand.
Do you really "see" yourself?
And that is to be trusted by others. But to do that to yourself is another thing. Being trustworthy to yourself means to actually acknowledge the truth about yourself, whether you like it or not, not to go blindly through deals after deals assuming that you're something different from who you actually are.
Can you trust a dishonest person who tells one thing that they know will turn out to be another? Propably you can't. The same is true to yourself. If you're not completely honest to yourself, it'll give you more self-doubt and distrust of yourself and as a consequence will lower your self-esteem. Moreover, if you cannot be honest even to yourself, if you cannot earn your own trust, then how can you brand yourself as a trustworthy, prestigious person?
Be honest, be true to yourself, as well as be a live paragon of trustworthiness to others, and with that starting point that has a strong basement (not somewhere in the middle of the air), you can start building your skyscraper brand.
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Now, it’s not impossible to have a personal branding campaign that doesn’t have a blog, but it’s difficult. You need a place to refer people and a way to showcase your thoughts, ideas, and work.
- Erik Deckers & Kyle Lacy
You can't live like homeless person in your physical world, drifting day by day without a place to come back, can you? So is your digital life. If you don't have a "house", you cannot invite guests to come to you because if they come, where would they be served? If you don't have an online "house", an accomadation good enough for your targets, how do people find and visit you? How do they get access to your world and know and use your values? (And remember that if you can't offer values, you can gain nothing, professionally or personally.)
So, getting a place online to greet your guests and feeding your longterm visitor is just as important as having a physical house. You've got to live in your physical house; similarly, your brand will live in your digital house. And talking a bout a "house" online, a hub to access and connect with you, you would want customize it as musch as possible, that's why, apart from their great use, social network platforms could not possibly meet this requirement, and you need a fully customizable place for yourself online.
This is exactly where a blog comes in. More than just a social hub, your blog will meet almost any demand to express yourself, from visual appeal, sophisticated contents, to highly interactive multimedias to enrich your place, etc. With a proper blog platform, you have more than enough to construct and develop your online "house" to a high quality place where a great number of people would come on frequent visits for the bit of stuff or a kind of support you offer.
And with that, you definitely can expect for positive brand development of yourself. So start with playing a round with a blog, then creating an official one for your own brand. And you can begin the journal of your world.
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If you don’t take some time for yourself, you’ll get caught in the never-ending process of personal branding and be completely void of personality after a couple of years of grinding yourself into the dust.
- Erik Deckers & Kyle Lacy
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Nobody on Earth can just keep running insanely on a road and reach their targeted place without proper orienteation, navigation, fuel and small breaks along the way. The same is true for the personal branding process.
In the personal branding world, it may take you a huge load of information to digest, mountains of things to do, thousands of people to meet, and a million of other stuff to solve. Yes, miryads of things to keep you busy all days and nights and you feel burn out but it makes you feel like you're achieving something because you're busy. But be careful: being busy doesn't mean being effective and certainly does not mean you're coming closer to your goals either! If you run with high speed but on a wrong way, it won't take you to your targeted place. And the dangerous problem is that you may have gone astray without knowing it. Only when you've gone too far from your goala would you realize you've been going so blindly and insanely.
So, how to avoid this common mistake? Simply put: Take time for yourself to get oriented in the right direction. Review your brand journey frequently to make sure it's still on track, to timely "rescue" and control any slight change in your direction, and to keep it navigated to your targeted place.
This is the first big reason why you should take time for yourself, not just blindly go on the personal branding way until you've got no idea where you're heading. Remember: you need to be a real, alive, interesting while focused person for your brand, not just a mere plain image somewhere on the virtual world.
You will most certainly be overwhelmed with the amount of information you receive, content being processed, content being shared, and stories being developed. You need to take some time for yourself. This means turning off everything you’re doing and doing something with family or friends. If you don’t take some time for yourself, you’ll get caught in the never-ending process of personal branding and be completely void of personality after a couple of years of grinding yourself into the dust.
-- Erik Deckers & Kyle Lacy
The second reason to take time for yourself is that you cannot afford the consequences of not taking time for yourself ! Your physic health, your mental sharpness, your liveliness, your energy - you name it. All of the most essential things to maintain and develop a strong brand require a true time for yourself. Even a racing car cannot run its entire trip continually without stopping, fueling, or just some small-but-essential breaks. This is even truer for humans. They need to take freequent time apart from any busy activities so that they may be refreshed and rejuvenated to keep going the personal branding journey - a road that requires a significant deal of personal energy. Unlike others, the way of personal branding is directly connected to your own 'person', i.e. yourself, so maintaining your liveliness is just as important as keeping your brand's aliveness.
Now that you know why you should have freequent time amid your busy schedule to just enjoy yourself, take a step back, see the whole picture, relax and you'll see what's gonna need doing for your brand.
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"Why do we need to invest in ourselves?" - You may ask.
Now for those that the answer has not been clear enough, the question should be "What if we don't invest in ourselves?"
Well, this would be easier to answer, as you can obviously see the consequences of lacking self improvement throughout the years. If you want to be ahead of the game of life, whatever it is, and be more successful as well as happier in life, you're gonna improve yourself first. Or as Jim Rohn has put it, "If you want to have more, you must become more." If you want to attract goodness to your life, you yourself must be a good enough magnet. The better you improve yourself, the greater you become, the more of the same greatness will come to your life. Remember: You're gonna attract what or who is similar to you, in one aspect or another.
If you want a successful Brand, constant development is a must!
So, what does this have to do with personal branding? Well, Everything !
You would not like your brand to be as empty as a meaningless name widespread across the world. In order words, you want your popularity to match your true capability! You're famous for Web Development and you wanna make sure that you're truly good at it, so that when clients come to you for their website as a result of your Branding will get what they expected (or even better) and they can go on 'viraling' your services as well as your Brand. So, the point is not just good reputation, but also good, true, real talent.
Thus, never stop at thinking you're too good to develop anymore. Do invest in yourself - improve yourself. Either by reading books, having more new experiences, talking to people, or develop your own way. And you're in for the ongoing, constant branding of yourself.
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"Your role in building your personal brand is twofold: To help other people, and then to help yourself."
- Erik Deckers & Kyle Lacy
You may think that your personal brand is all about You and Yourself all the time. It's not wrong, but not enough. In fact, to successfully brand yourself, you have two roles to play.
You have to increase your value, and you also have to bring value to others.
Increasing your value is about self-development and also self-marketing. You have to make yourself truly excellent, truly quality, truly helpful to people, and you also have to make sure people know about it so they will refer more people to your help, your solution.
Bringing value to others is about proactively offer help to them in time of need or even before they realize they need them. By doing so, you reveal yourself as a positive, opstimistic, kind and giving personality - and you actually are - who is truly helpful to the community. And it all will pay off later when you're in need of help from others.
Or shortly, as Erik Deckers & Kyle Lacy put it, "your role in building your personal brand is twofold. To help other people, and then to help yourself. When we help others, we all succeed, not the other way around. When Erik offers to help Kyle with a project, Kyle is more likely to help Erik when he needs it. If Erik asks for help first, Kyle may be busy at the time and can’t help out. Later, if Kyle needs help, Erik will remember that, and he’ll be “busy” as well."
So, be proactive to help. Observe people in need and offer them a hand if you can. Then you're in for the true world of personal value and branding.
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“If you can build a powerful brand, you will have a powerful marketing program. If you CAN’T then all the advertising, fancy packaging, sales promotion and public relations in the world won’t help you achieve your objective.”
Al Ries and Laura Ries
"World Class Brands” in Executive Excellence, March 1999
We're coming closer to a day when personal branding becomes a must for every one. Let's assume that personal branding is about the image of you in others' eyes. The following words by Pamela Poole is a good point to start with why personal branding is not something luxurious, but essentially necessary and it is not only "out-there" but also "in-here".
If everyone is a distinguished brand, then the world will become a garden full of different flowers - and each of them is beautiful in their own way. Image: Internet
"Image is unavoidable. If you have an online presence, people are making assumptions and forming opinions about you. They’re putting you into categories. It’s what people do. The conclusion they reach constitutes your image, whether you like it or not.
"Maybe you don’t care. Not caring is certainly an option. But if you’re a professional, and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this, you should probably care.
"Image is like a shirt. Every morning you get up and pick out clothes that will be appropriate for what you’re going to do and who you’re going to see that day. So you just have to decide if the “online you” that you present is a guy in flip-flops with two days of stubble, or a well-groomed guy in a smart suit, or something in between. And you can have an “off-duty online you” and a “professional online you,” no problem! It doesn’t hurt someone’s image to seem like a well-rounded, multifaceted person.
"Image shouldn’t be artificial. A lot of people seem to have that ickiness reaction because they perceive that a personal brand is something like a fake facade. But the general consensus is that you have to be genuine in this day and age. So, just be yourself. Or, more accurately, your image should reflect the parts of your self that you want to show the world. If your image is a fabrication, people will figure it out eventually, so honesty is the best policy."
So, now you can see that personal branding - despite its seemingly "bombous" name - is almost an indispensible part of every one of us, unless you plan to become a monk living in some far-off mountain completely unoccupied by civil humans. The point now is just to realize it or not, and once you do, you may begin to take a step into the world of proactive, conscious personal branding.