5 Personal Brand Lessons for You From Halloween

Halloween was not a 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 classic British, slightly twisted, celebration of religion-inspired attempts to blow up the government and execute the conspirators and involves large fires, burning human effigies and setting off huge amounts of fireworks. What’s not to love about that! I carry the scars – literally – top left temple 3 stitches from falling over!

But after 25 years in Canada, I am all in when it comes to Halloween. This was especially the case when my kids were growing up. We had a neighbourhood competition each year for the best-dressed house which we won a couple of times 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.

Things are a lot tamer now, 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 than the kids?

Regardless of who gets the most fun from the excess candy and being scared silly, you can find that Halloween has a number of business lessons for you when it comes to your personal brand;

1. IMAGE

Spending a few hours dressing up and being somebody you are not is the fun of the Halloween costumes. Or perhaps you secretly want to be Batman or Wonder Woman………..or Squid Games??!!

When it comes to your personal brand though it needs to be authentic. You shouldn’t try to be someone you are not. The often-used phrase of “Fake it ’til you make it” is dated and I do not think applies in today’s authentic world. It will not come across as genuine and after a while, it will get tiring. Imagine having to be dressed as a Minion or an M&M all day every day!

2. OPPORTUNITY

Halloween is the only day in the year when parents encourage children to openly beg for 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 is 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 (elevator pitch) figured out – what is it you do for who and why should they care? Others have to feel motivated to hand over the goods and your cute kid smile or threatening to toilet paper their office may not be enough anymore.

3. COLLABORATION

As we used to walk the neighbourhood Trick or Treating the kids darted from house to house like a military attack. It was always great to see them strategize, to divide and conquer and 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 business or career, having mentors and supportive 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 will support you, look to help them and it will come back to you with rewards you may not have expected.

4. NEGOTIATE

There were always three negotiation questions in my house at Halloween. How long could trick or treating go on for? , What was the earliest and latest reasonable time to knock on someone’s door? and How much candy could be consumed that night? As they got older the negotiators always seemed tougher and they managed to eke just a little bit more each year!

Don’t assume that what is on offer is always 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 that will always be the answer.

5. SUCCESS

After an evening of trick or treating, initially with small buckets and eventually as they got older and faster pillowcases, laden down with their spoils it was always fun to see them celebrate their success and show off their spoils. They would sit down with their friends, compare results and swap the 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.

Enjoy your Halloween this year and don’t overdo the candy!

Let me know what other similarities you can see between the fun of Halloween and your personal brand?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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