What word do you want to be associated with?

When we think of the phrase “spark joy”, Marie Kondo often comes to mind. She started encouraging people to ask that question about their belongings when decluttering. Her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” was published in 2011 in Japan and translated into English in 2014. Since then, she has sold over 11 million copies of her books. That’s a lot of joy being sparked!

When we associate a word or phrase with someone, it becomes a valuable and useful tool. Here are some examples: James Clear with habits, Seth Godin with marketing, Martha Beck with north star, Kristin Neff with self-compassion, Simon Sinek with start with why, and Brené Brown with vulnerability. Other examples that may be up for debate include David Bowie as a chameleon, Daniel Day-Lewis as method, and Beyoncé as a goddess. What are your thoughts on these associations?

For me, the phrase “never give up” is what I want to be associated with. It encompasses everything I’ve learned in my 25 years of creating content on the internet. I like that it is an imperative, giving a clear direction and action. Even if it’s not related to my current project, I still appreciate its significance.

Why is it helpful to have a word or phrase associated with you? It makes you distinctive and memorable. Over time, people naturally associate the phrase with your name. Likewise, if someone mentions the phrase, it immediately brings you to mind. For example, when you hear “spark joy,” you think of Marie Kondo. It also helps with networking, as people may remember your face and the associated phrase. It signals that you belong to a particular group or share similar values. It can even serve as a conversation starter or a way to introduce yourself. Additionally, it adds focus and clarity to your work, ensuring that you stay aligned with your goals.

Now, I want to ask you: What word or short phrase do you want to be associated with? Imagine introducing yourself to someone new, with no prior knowledge of your work. How would you want to be known? This is not about your personality, but rather about the work you do, the values you represent, or the change you seek to bring about. The goal is to have people say, “Oh, that’s the person known for duh duh duh.” It’s like movie casting, where actors are associated with certain roles or characteristics.

Consider what the word or phrase says about your work, not just your job title or medium. Is there a deeper meaning or association you want to convey? Choose something evocative rather than descriptive. For example, Brad Pitt is known as the aging handsome rogue, not the guy who eats in every film.

Once you have a word or phrase in mind, try reverse engineering it. Can you think of anyone in your field who is already associated with that phrase? If you’re unsure, you can use a search engine to see what comes up. This exercise can help you refine and align your chosen word or phrase.

Take some time today to brainstorm words and phrases. Imagine someone Googling that phrase in a year’s time and your name appearing in the results.

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