9 things I’ve learned about branding (and life)

Last year, while launching a branding course when my son was just a few months old, it dawned on me that there were several parallels between branding principles and infant development. Upon further reflection, I realised that there are indeed several parallels between branding and life!

Today, I’d like to share branding lessons that I’ve learned, in my 10+ years of professional advertising and graphic design practice, and my 30+ years of life.

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The Best Tip for Being Productive in the Pursuit of Your Dreams

The-Best-Tip-for-Being-Productive-in-the-Pursuit-of-your-Dreams

Taking yourself out of your usual environment, every once in a while, is a great way to get some perspective on your life. It is often during these displacements that I learn new things about myself or remember old lessons (you know how we humans forget!).

I was away in New York for most of July. It wasn't a holiday as I spent most of it busy working and, despite this, or actually, because of it, I came to some game-changing conclusions.

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You Already Know What You Need to Do

29-lessons-expanded

On my last birthday, I shared 29 things that I'd learned over my 29 years. As a forgetful person (i.e. a human being), I thought I'd expand on those lessons to remind myself of their value. Here's one …

You already know what you need to do before you can articulate it in your mind. Your body communicates it through unease, discomfort or even pain. Everywhere you look, there's a disharmony that, when interrogated, leads right back to the thing that you know you need to do. Even though at first, they seem completely unrelated.

Anxiety? Fear. Your present circumstances might be bad but change is infinitely worse. Having to back down on ideas, situations or people that you've been standing up for so long. Having to admit that you were shortsighted, or naive, or impulsive. Or that you weren't loving yourself enough. 

Having to do things differently. To step aside, to step back, to start again. To try something new. Uncertainty. The possibility that you may well make the same mistakes again. The dread that you'll find yourself in this precarious situation all over again.

Difficulty. Life is already difficult as it is without having to admit your vulnerability. WIthout having to admit that you are indeed human, just like everybody who will judge you, talk behind your back and secretly be pleased by your difficulties.

Then you dare to get past the discomfort, fear, pride and the challenges (and it is daring because you've got to just leap into that murky, scary territory). You realise that in fact, the magnitude of it was imagined. It's not actually as bad as you feared and people don't actually care half as much as you thought. Things are actually easier, now that you have surrendered to what wanted to be.

Now there is space for all the goodness that wanted to come to you but never had the chance. Goodness that you didn't even know existed, manifested in ways you'd never predict.

You already knew what you needed to do and you ask yourself, "why didn't I act on the knowledge sooner?" Alas, all that matters is that you are here. Now.

View the full 29 lessons from 29 years here.

30 ways I’ll be living more creatively this year

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I grow increasingly excited about this year – if I had to pick a word to describe what I'm concentrating on, it would be "creating". Sure that's my line of work anyway but the word is taking on all kinds of meaning in 2012. Not only will I be making ideas happen in the workspace but I also want to spend more time injecting more creativity in my life in general.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about making room for a more creative life over on Technorati. As a creative who has not been living as creatively as I'd like, I shared ideas for how to inject more creativity in your days (whether you are a creative professional or not).

Today I'm sharing 30 (mostly) specific things I'll be doing this year. I choose the number because this year I will be happily turning the big 3-0!

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The best of 2011: Afri-love commentary

Commentary highlights from the year spanning identity, culture, design, technology, entrepreneurship, natural hair and more …

Rise of the Afropolitan

Afropolitans-panel-discussion-at-V-and-A

The V&A Afropolitans Friday Late event earlier this year was a major event. The "world's greatest museum of art and design" dedicated an evening to contemporary African and African Diaspora design and culture. Over 5,000 people attended proving that there are a lot of people who either identify with the term or are at least intrigued by it. Record label exec – Yemi Alade-Lawal, journalist, poet and writer – Tolu Ogunlesi, author – Hannah Pool, blogger – Minna Salami and I participated in a great panel discussion that went by way too quickly. Some great questions arose and I took the opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts on the blog: "Is there any use for the term 'Afropolitan'".


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