Jeff Bezos (the Amazon guy) defines your personal brand as the thing that people say about you when you aren’t in the room – I heard that on a podcast that I recently listened to. (I am totally into podcasts lately, a post about my favorites is coming soon….)
I’ve also (lately) been obsessing about all things career, creativity, business, projects, etc. etc… I think I might be having a some version of a mid-life “crisis”. That is, if you define a midlife crisis as the subconscious dawning of awareness that you only have so much time (in a completely practical sense as opposed to a ‘yeah yeah yeah we are all going to die… someday’ sense) and you subsequently start to adjust your ideas about how you want to spend your time. You somehow simultaneously gain clarity while also feeling like you are constantly upended. Some days it is easy to completely forget who you are, thinking that you need to change everything, and then others you realize that nothing is really different, you just have your panties in a twist and need to chill out. Which can be harder than it sounds. This little “crisis” isn’t going to result in me having an affair or buying an expensive car, but I have decided to take a stand-up comedy class this spring (if I don’t chicken out first). Because being this chaotic makes me realize that I need more people in my life who will make me snort my milk — or for whom who I can return the favor… Does any of this make any sense? Do you see what I am getting at? I’m a bit all over the map.
Questions about where am I going, what am I trying to achieve, and why, play constantly in my head — which all, according to that same podcast, is a big part of an overarching question – what is my brand? You’d think I’d be pretty clear on what my brand is – I used to be – but sometimes lately – everything that was once totally obvious, for strange and inexplicable reasons, sometimes seems less clear and concise.
You never know what will inspire clarifying thoughts though. Sometimes it comes when you listen to a podcast that gets to the point and helps you start to pull your head out where ever confusing place it might be — and sometimes it happens when someone sends you a box of bulbs that they hand-picked for you…. or in my case a little of both has gone a long way.
Here is the thing — the podcast boiled down brand to a few basic questions about values, the essence of you and what you uniquely offer. Pretty easy really. All questions that I can answer in about one second. All I really need to do is stop over thinking and just keep my eye on that ball.
The box of bulbs was a gift from the staff at John Scheepers – people who I know, but not as well as I’d like – but who know me primarily through my online brand.
So when they asked if they could send this nice gift – they wanted to know if I had any special bulb requests and I said two things:
“I don’t know – send me something cool and interesting that you think I’d like”
“nothing sickening candy pink”
The box that arrived was a total surprise and was absolutely perfect. My husband doesn’t even pick gifts this good (after I’ve told him exactly what to buy). I love everything they chose and could not have made a better selection myself. In fact – I’d have probably picked a worse selection given my recent state of mind. And it reminded me that when given the opportunity to say something about me when I’m not in the room – the John Scheepers staff must have said not only what I’d have hoped they would say, but what is my truth….and that is not only a huge compliment, but a satisfying reminder that all my silliness with my mid-life “crisis” isn’t actually much of anything at all. I’m still the same person with the same values and uniqueness as I was 5 years ago and 10 years ago and as I will be 5 years from now and 10 years from now….(though perhaps I will also have the skills to tell a better joke).
Black and white and the classic, clean, sophisticated, sensibility that those two colors can bring to any scheme is something I constantly crave in my projects. And a fresh green is always a nice addition. So the Tulips ‘Green Star” and ‘Black Hero’ are perfect. I am going to plant them with the Fritillaria persica ‘Ivory Bells’ next to the patio. I am so excited to see these bulbs this spring – the Fritillaria has some serious wow factor with that glaucous foliage that stands nearly 3 feet tall. I love these sorts of unexpected surprises. Allium are a constant favorite and I can never have too many or too many varieties. These will look gorgeous with the shed (which is being painted from dark brown to black) as a backdrop. I can’t wait to take that picture in the spring. The two-toned Muscari latifolium is so stylish – I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to force it and enjoy those flowers inside, or if I want to let them naturalize in the garden.