I woke up this morning, opened one sleepy eye and embarked on a new and very bad habit - Iphoning first thing. Deep down I know I should probably have a cup of tea, do some yoga, mindfulness meditation, or another aspirational morning activity. Yet for some reason finding out what has happened in the world overnight and reading emails from tastecard, Myfonts News, and Greater Anglia is more important.
As I browsed, I was drawn to an article about David Beckham and the emails that he’d written. Unfortunately for him his emails were hacked and he's been in the news over the past couple of weeks. The writer noted that David is suffering from 'brand fatigue'. His leaked emails show a less than squeaky clean side of him and one that is not in line with his work, his ‘brand’ or how he’d like the world to see him. He may, or may not have been involved in tax avoidance, and saying some fairly nasty things about other celebs. A quick google and it’s impossible to avoid the David Beckham ‘email scandal’. Poor Becks.
So what has David Beckham got to do with my Clore Fellowship and with me, a 28 year old woman from Wakefield? Well. I have realised that I have been behaving(ish) like him. I too, am suffering from brand fatigue. Not in such a profoundly public way, but in a series of actions or lack of actions. I’m not replicating the values that I am always talking and advocating for in my own life.
I am passionate about community, I value collaboration and respect in my work and I advocate for these values every day. Recently, I went wild buying books like ‘Creative citizen unbound’ and ‘Creative community builder’s handbook’, reading them with excitement. However, the unfortunate truth is that I am notorious for being late to meet my friends, often don't give my family enough time, keep meaning to cook a crumble for my neighbours but haven't invited them round yet (I moved in over a year ago...) and insist on checking my emails far too often, at ridiculous times of the day, usually when I’m in a room with someone else. Not massively respectful or collaborative. Just like Becks, my professional ‘brand’ isn’t in line with my personal one. How can my work have integrity if I don’t action these values in my own life?
I realise that this first post isn’t particularly profound but to me this tiny realisation that being an authentic leader and having a believable brand is about living your own message, will be life changing.
One of the speakers at our recent Clore leadership residential gave us the following advice: ‘know your message and keep repeating it over and over and over again.’ I’m going to add to it – it’s not enough to know your own message, it’s not even enough to repeat it over and over again, you have to breathe it. Your brand can’t be ‘brand fatigued’ in the same way Becks’ has been.
Over and out, I’m buying a new diary and a watch.