Halloween never used to be a big celebration for me growing up in the UK. In fact it was never even on our radar as kids. The big fall event for us was always Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th. This is a typically British, slightly twisted, celebration of attempts to blow up the government and execute the conspirators and involves large fires, burning human effigies and setting off equally loads of fireworks.
But now, having spent almost 20 years in Canada, I am all in when it comes to Halloween, especially when my kids were growing up. We used to win awards for best dressed house in the neighbourhood, best carved pumpkins and kids used to arrive by car to be scared by whatever layout I had designed for the night with the latest ghoul, ghost and goblin.
Now that the kids are growing up, All Hallows Eve is less eventful. They are busy going to their own Halloween parties but I still enjoy going out to see how others have decorated their homes. Thankfully there are certainly some equally enthusiastic parents out there!
I do wonder sometimes if Halloween is more about the parent’s enjoyment?
Regardless of who gets the most fun from the excess candy and being scared silly, we can find Halloween has a number of business lessons for us when it comes to our personal brands;
Spending a few hours dressing up and being somebody we are not is the fun of the Halloween costumes. Or perhaps we secretly want to be that person.
When it comes to your regular personal brand though it needs to be authentic. You cannot constantly try to be someone you are not. It will not come across as genuine and after a while it will get tiring. Imagine having to be dressed as a Minion all day every day!
Halloween is one of the few days in the year that parents encourage children to openly beg gifts from strangers with the most effective elevator speech ever – “Trick or Treat?” We then support their consumption of large quantities of candy and share their success on social media!
This could be like that next great opportunity or project that you are seeking. It might only come along once in a while and you need to be ready to jump right in and seize it. Do you have your personal brand statement – what is it you do for who and why should they care? They have to feel motivated to hand over the goods and your cute kid smile may not cut it anymore.
As kids darted from house to house it was always great to see them strategize and divide and conquer to hit more houses in as little time as possible, or share the news where the more generous homeowners were.
Whilst it is up to you to manage your career, having mentors and networks helping you is a great time saver and exposes you to opportunities that you may not otherwise have ever found. Nurture and support those you know, connect with them and it will come back to you with rewards you may not have expected.
It was always three points of negotiation at my house at Halloween. How long could trick or treating go on for? , What was the latest reasonable time to knock on someone’s door? and How much candy could be consumed that night? The kids always seemed to eke just a little bit more each year!
Don’t assume that what is on offer is all there is. Seeing if there is room to move is a reasonable expectation. Is there more time to do this? Are there more resources? Is there a different way to do this? You may not like or be prepared to hear the word ‘No’, but if you never ask or try then it will always be the answer.
I always used to love watching the kids return home, initially with small buckets and eventually pillowcases, laden down with their spoils. They would sit down with their friends, compare results and swap the of candy they didn’t like for their favourites.
Always look to reflect on your wins, learn from them and celebrate your success with those that matter to you, both personally and professionally.
I hope you enjoyed your Halloween this year and didn’t over do the candy!
What other similarities can you see between the fun of Halloween and your personal brand?