“Live in the now.”
“Be here now.”
“Anxiety is the price of living in the future; depression is the price of living in the past.”
We have so many of these truisms—all telling us to be present—and we meditate on them constantly. We turn them into mantras, t-shirts, coffee mugs, Instagram posts… even religions.
But when it comes to personal branding, we resist being present. We over-communicate the past and future. If we don’t put everything about ourselves that is, that has been, and that will be out on the table all at once, we feel like liars.
Why is that? Isn’t the idea of being present about positioning ourselves to attract opportunities that are a match for who we are right now?
Shouldn’t we communicate accordingly?
I’m living this question right now (for the second time in three years). This time, it’s because I just sold a company and am now talking with people about what I want to do for my next adventure. Last time, it was because I was launching a new tech company. Is it surprising that I’m positioning myself differently today than I did three years ago? It’s not that I’m hiding my past or avoiding planning for the future, those things are also important. They’re just not what’s most important right now, so I don’t lead with them. I trust that if and when the time is right, they’ll come out.
Communicating in a way that puts the old and future you’s on the back burner in favor of focusing on who you are right now is an important perspective shift, and not just for former entrepreneurs. It’s important for anyone with a gig, or a desire for a promotion (or new job), or a pending career switch or recent graduation. It’s important for moms returning to the workforce, retirees launching second careers, and interns, too.
We live in a world with constant change and short attention spans. The best thing we can do for ourselves to unlock the best opportunities in front of us is be true to who we are right now, and show who we are right now, without distraction.
“Without distraction:” that means without those parts of the story that have happened, or that will happen. It means fully focused on what’s happening right now, what’s true right now, and what’s right—right now.