Leaders: This is the #1 best way to invest in yourself for 2021.

by | Dec 30, 2020 | Community Engagement | 0 comments

I spend my days in conversations with leaders from across California and around the country. Two themes that I keep hearing as 2020 draws to a close are a) Leaders feel that the pandemic has held them back from taking bold actions and b) They’re optimistic and energized about 2021. It’s time to harness that energy. It’s time to invest in yourself for 2021.

2020 was about “getting through it…”

Leaders are, by definition, exceptional people. But in 2020, we didn’t always (or often) feel that way. Like everyone else, we spent 2020 reacting, responding, locking down, improvising, home-schooling, and generally just trying to get through it. (Not to mention processing COVID-related losses.) We were rarely sure about what we could accomplish, or even with whom we could connect.

Yes, the future remains uncertain as we step into the new year, but we can also feel the ground solidifying under our feet. The ground is solid enough that we can begin to act again on our hopes for a better future.

… but how well did YOU get through 2020?

It's time to invest in yourself for an effective 2021After a year of disruption and dormancy, do you still know what you stand for? Do you still know what you want to accomplish (or has it changed)? Do you know how to get there? Do you know whom to enlist to help you get there?

After the 2020 we’ve all been through (and no one’s promising a total turnaround in 2021), we each owe it to ourselves to pause, take stock, and think honestly about how we can make the year ahead better—starting with ourselves.

In other words, I propose a recommitment. A recommitment to who you want to be for the people that matter to you as you strive to achieve your goals: Your community.

Invest in yourself to be a more effective leader—for 2021 and beyond.

If you’re feeling stuck coming out of 2020, then you don’t have to settle for where you are. There’s no need to feel frustration over not being able to be the leader you feel destined to be. But only YOU can get yourself unstuck—and that requires an investment in new thinking, strategies, and actions.

To accomplish your goals in a community you first need to visualize your place in the community. You have to know where you need to operate and, yes, “live” in the community you seek to influence, lead, or change.

To see your place in the community—to lead boldly, credibly, authentically, and effectively in that space—you need a clearly defined community brand.

Your community brand: the #1 best way to invest in yourself for 2021

Your community brand is the #1 way to invest in yourself for 2021.Stated most simply, your community brand is the image and reputation that you’re known for (or wish to be known for) in the space where you want to lead, influence, and change. It’s indispensable for your success for two reasons (both of which I believe to my core):

  1. “Without a community, you’re nothing.” Think of all that you want to accomplish in the community you’re targeting. How far do you think you’d get without their cooperation and collaboration?
  2. “WITH a community, you can accomplish anything.” You CAN effect the change you envision when the community stands and works with you—advocating, participating, and investing their own time and resources.

So let’s get started:

Your first community brand-building steps for 2021:

  1. Define your community. Identify where and with whom you want to make your impact.
  2. Engage with the people you need. Listen to them, then listen some more. Learn about their visions and goals, then determine how your own goals align with theirs. Remember: You are going to them, they are not coming to you.
  3. Organize media coverage. Leverage the power of media to restructure your relationships with your community and better define your community brand.
  4. Create an online presence that will support your vision. Website, social media, emails, blogging… these brand-building efforts work for you 24/7/365.

Invest in yourself more for a successful 2021.These are just four starters—and let’s be clear: You’re really not doing this work for yourself. This isn’t an act of narcissism or selfishness. You’re doing it on behalf of your community. NOT doing the work is selfish because you’re not leading in the ways your community needs (and expects) you to.

Start making the investment NOW (here’s why).

Imagine that in February of 2020 you had all the tools, skills, expertise, and resilience to manage your life, family, relationships, and work during a global pandemic. How would you, your life, and community be different today? What would you have paid, done, or sacrificed to have that insight and practical knowledge to manage, lead, and make a lasting difference in 2020?

Seize the turning of the calendar as your opportunity to reset. Start now to do the work that will position you to lead with conviction and get results for and with your community. In tough times and good, you only can give what you have. So investing in yourself by building your community brand will empower you to serve your community more fully and effectively in the year ahead—and far beyond.

Request your Free Community Brand Audit

A stronger community brand starts here. Just answer 8 questions and our team of experts will assess your brand’s strengths and shortcomings. There’s no charge, no obligation—Request your Community Brand Audit now.