So yesterday, for the first time ever, I bought a domain name. But not just one. I bought two domain names. And I attached them to something. No, I’m not going to tell you what, yet. It’s a secret.
But it’s cool.
I’ve been thinking a lot about labels and boxes and branding lately. There’s an often repeated mantra/meme running around that we are each our own brand. I’m not saying I disagree because there is a certain amount of truth in the statement, but you can’t just leave it there. Whatever your thoughts on the subject, you do need to choose how to represent yourself, and your public persona is just as important in the online world as in the real one. The real world is far more important in most ways, because that’s where your family is, where most of us have a job, and where we live and breathe. (What, you think there’s virtual air?) But the online world reaches beyond the real world in some ways, letting you make contact with people and businesses and organizations you’d never encounter otherwise.
I’ve taken a big break from online life recently to focus on real life and get my head screwed on straight. I feel a lot better now, my stress level a lot lower, and I’m slipping back into the world of zeroes and ones.
How does that relate? Whatever amount of truth you put into being your own brand, it’s far more important that you recognize you are your own person, and a person is far more than a brand. There is far more to you than the one or pieces of yourself than you’re likely to focus on as your online brand.
If I try to pick a few words to describe what I am, they come easy and it’s hard to stop at two or three. Husband, father, writer, son, friend, student, teacher, karateka, reader, athlete, philosopher, musician, artist… I’m all of those things and a lot more. Some are more true than others at any given moment, but each is a part of how I think of myself. Husband and father are the two big ones, and hard to even consider as separate parts of my personality because they overlay everything else. I’m less of an athlete these days than a few years back when I was in marathon shape, but karate helps a lot, and if I can get my left calf to start functioning as designed, I might work my way into deserving the label a little more. Musician is a new thing and an old one.
You are who you want to be, but sometimes you have work to recognize just what it is you want. I want to be a better me, and maybe shape my parts of the world to leave them just a little bit better than I found them. I have lots of plans, and maybe I’ll follow through on all of them, some of them, or none of them. Plans and dreams and hopes and fears. Those change and grow, too.
So what’s my own personal brand then? I am. It’s not separable, though I’ve tried a variety of themes and ideas in the past. I am my own brand and my brand is me. I’m not one thing, but a gathering of many and changing all the time. We all are. It’s kind of the way humans work.
And what domain names did I buy? Ah, that would be telling.
Fine, okay. There really isn’t anything there yet, but you can try typing renaissanceninja.com into your address bar (or click on the link) and see where it leads. Alternately, lanceschonberg.com will get you to the same spot. Bookmark it and check back in a few days. I’m still fitting together the jigsaw puzzle. There will be much fun and creativity.