Monday, November 30, 2009
Should our professional identities be kept separate from our social life?
This question is definitely relevant within the domain of personal branding, but I would like to approach this question from a place of mindful inquiry.
When I linked my Twitter to my personal profile on Facebook, one of my friends made a comment suggesting that many of her friends on Twitter had chosen to keep the two separate. And more recently, I volunteered to help with the promotions of a community event for which I created really cool invites, which were sent out with my signature including my professional credentials. Again, I was asked by a colleague, if it wouldn't be better to send the invite out without my credentials as this was coming from my "casual, neighborhood personality and not business." A very good question.
What do you think? Do you keep your identities separate - is your professional persona different from your social one? When you volunteer are you one person and when you provide the same service in a professional setting are you a different person?
From personal branding perspective, you would want to promote your personal brand across all dimensions of your life and the answer is quite simple in that case - you keep your signature consistent in all your communications.
Assuming you do put your professional signature on all communications - even your social and personal ones - wouldn't that make you a pushy marketer?
Here in lies potential for inner conflict and fragmentation and choosing to go one way over the other without mindful inquiry would lead to a decision that is not authentic and optimal. I would encourage you too to meditate on this question and find what feels true to you. You may be amazed with what you find in yourself, beliefs that are holding you back from your highest expression of Self.
I will share my truth on this subject. I see my Self as compassionate, creative, and mindful and that is who I am across all aspects of my life and with all people in my life. Separating my identities into social and professional to me is creating false identifications and fragmentation, which is not my experience of who I am. I am innovative, authentic, mindful. Period.
Should I feel guilty in promoting my work when I volunteer in my community? In my head, letting people know who I am is not a bad things because I am providing valuable service and would like people to know what solutions I can provide to make their lives better. Of course, if promoting my work becomes the priority in my volunteer work, then I am not being true to the task at hand and would feel inauthentic to me. So, if doing my best job as a volunteer allows people to know what I have to offer professionally, I think we have a win win situation here :)
I believe our lives should rest on win win situations and that is only possible if we are mindful (not operating out of guilt and limiting beliefs), authentic, and innovative (because fining win win situations often requires thinking out of the box and getting out of our comfort zones.)