Category Archives: Origin and Identity

Find Your Voice Instead

For years I was told to build my brand at work, my professional one. This was new because I had never thought it applied to me. I equated brands to products and companies, not people. I thought people had to work hard and be known for their contribution.

Building my brand

Without knowing anything better I set about building my brand. At the time I started working for a competitive and entrepreneurial company where networks were the currency of the culture, and having a brand was important for how people perceived you.

Feelings of anxiety

This led to heightened feelings of anxiety for me. One of the unintended consequences of this type of culture was that you were only as successful as your last project. But what if your last project wasn’t successful? The halo-effect was alive and well which was mitigated by having regular performance assessments.

All was not dire though. This company had some great aspects too, like encouraging autonomy, mastery and purpose – both professional and personal. Performance reviews were driven by the employee and not the manager which meant that I could have one as soon as a project was completed.

I think I built a good brand, I was told many times this was so. But when it came to moving upwards or even sideways to new opportunities it didn’t help me much.

General or local brands

That is the thing with brands – most are localised and only a few are generalised. Everyone knows Coke, MacDonalds and KFC. But not everyone knows Mugg and Bean, Liqui Fruit and Mrs Balls Chutney because they are localised to South African culture.

The same applies to people as brands – I imagine that the whole world knows Elon Musk but that only South Africans know Richard Maponya. Both are business visionaries, leaders in their field and respected widely for their accomplishments. And they changed or are changing a bit of the world.

Find your voice instead

Leaving two-dimensional brand building for people behind, Sheryl Sandberg proposes to find your voice instead.

The idea of developing your personal brand is a bad one, according to Sandberg. “People aren’t brands,” she says. “That’s what products need. They need to be packaged cleanly, neatly, concretely. People aren’t like that.” (Source).

People are multi-dimensional and more than what the world sees. Often our voices are drowned out by the cacophony of multiple other voices louder than ours, divergent voices, angry voices, dissenting and contrarian ones. But they are voices nonetheless.

“Who am I?” asks Sandberg. “I am the COO of Facebook, a company I deeply believe in. I’m an author. I’m a mom. I’m a widow. At some level, I’m still deeply heartbroken. I am a friend and I am a sister. I am a lot of very messy, complicated things. I don’t have a brand, but I have a voice.” (Source).

Focus on developing your voice, she says. Figuring out what’s important to you and being willing to use your voice for that purpose is incredibly valuable. “If you are doing it to develop your personal brand, it’s empty and self-serving and not about what you’re talking about,” she says. “If you’re doing it because there is something you want to see changed in the world, that’s where it will have value and depth and integrity.” (Source).

After years of so-called brand-building, I now am exploring what my voice is. The idea is more in tune with what I feel to be true, without the clouding aspects of money and status, and open to making a real difference to the world, no matter how small. This blog is playing a role in this exploration, much like a trusted travel companion, comforting at times and challenging me to go outside of that comfort at others.

I would like this piece to open up a conversation on what is a voice, what does it mean and how it can be expressed. Please accept this as an invitation to have the conversation and let us see where it takes us.


Reference:

Kinni, T. (2017, July 17). Sheryl Sandberg: Develop Your Voice, Not Your Brand. Retrieved August 09, 2017, from https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/sheryl-sandberg-develop-your-voice-not-your-brand

 

Infused With Excitement

I spent the last two days on a training course, this time as a delegate. For the introductions we had to interview another person and write key attributes on separate stickie notes. As I look on how the other person interpreted what I said, I saw something unexpected, surprising and pleasant reflected back at me…a gradual and gentle shift awakening to a new version of me infused with excitement. Take a look at the photo below.

Infuse.

 

Mercado Da Ribeira aka Timeout Market Lisbon

If you’re a foodie, you simply have to visit the Mercado da Ribeira. It’s across from the Cais do Sodré train station, so an easy walk from anywhere in downtown Lisbon. It reminds me of the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv but about 5 times larger.

I met my friend, Cristina, and we took a slow walk down the Rua do Alecrim to Cais do Sodré. I knew about this market but had never thought to visit. I was surprised at how the space had been so smartly converted into what it is now – the Time Out Market – combining the best of fresh produce, flowers, artisanal goods, an organic market, fresh fish, meat, a concert space, a start-up hub upstairs, and off course, all the eating places. You simply have to go and experience it for yourself.

©2017 Regina Martins

According to the Project For Public Spaces (PPS) “great public spaces are those places where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges occur, friends run into each other, and cultures mix.” They go on to say that “when theses spaces work well, they serve as the stage for our public lives.” The Mercado da Ribeira and Time Out Market certainly lives up to this premise.

©2017 Regina Martins

Like most public spaces in Lisbon, history and culture is inextricably intertwined with food, wine and convivio (Portuguese for being together socially) – the things that characterise Portuguese culture.

©2017 Regina Martins

This market can trace its roots back to the 13th century and was once one of the most famous fish markets in Europe. In 2010 the Lisbon City Council began the process of rehabilitation and renewal into what it is today (you can read more about it here).

©2017 Regina Martins

The photo above and the one below show some of the original tiled murals which have been preserved over the centuries. They are intricate and beautiful. These murals have been recreated in some other places in the mercado as wallpaper or painted on.

©2017 Regina Martins

You can eat food created by high profile chefs who have established concept stalls of their restaurants in the food court.

©2017 Regina Martins

There are “24 restaurants, 8 bars, a dozen shops and a high-end music venue, all with the very best in Lisbon (the best steak, the best hamburger, the best sushi and the best live performances, amongst others)” – info taken from the Mercado’s official website.

©2017 Regina Martins

This is one of the many living heritages of the city of Lisbon.

©2017 Regina Martins
©2017 Regina Martins

The space includes a concert venue and a cooking academy.

©2017 Regina Martins

The Mercado also houses Second Home Lisboa, a workspace for start-ups, entrepreneurs and social impact organisations. For more info see here. I didn’t go up to take a look, something to do next time I am there.

©2017 Regina Martins

Cristina and I could not leave the Mercado without sampling pasteis de nata from Manteigaria, with coffee, off course. Doesn’t it look good? It tasted delicious!

©2017 Regina Martins

This was a wonderful find and I wish I had more time to explore it. I love the concept. When you are in Lisbon, you simply have to visit it. To whet your appetite even further, take a look at the concept video.

Heritage.

 

WordPress Weekly Challenge: Path – Making My Own Way

 

I like forging new paths where previously there was none
©2016 Regina Martins

 

Put me in a box at your peril. Keep your unsolicited advice to your yourself.
©2016 Regina Martins

 

WordPress weekly photo – Path.

 

My Biggest Words Of 2016

It is not surprising that my biggest word for 2016 was Home. I wrote about Home and Identity many times on these pages this year. With all the travelling I have done, coming back home was awesome. I enjoy travelling and seeing new places and I do it because I know I have my home to come back to, to ground, recharge and reconnect with myself.

Continue reading My Biggest Words Of 2016