Writers Notes

Becoming Known: Starting With Why.

Natasha Musa 3 min read
Becoming Known: Starting With Why.
Photo by Evan Dennis / Unsplash

Implementing lessons from Mark W. Schaefer's Known.

After reading Mark Schaefer's book on personal branding, Known, I decided that I needed a restart.

I've been writing on Twitter (... X, whatever) for some time now, but I wanted to take an intentional pause and re-evaluate why I should continue to write online and redefine the outcome I want to achieve. In 2022, when I embarked on the journey as a digital writer, my intentions were merely to learn more about the digital creator economy and to become a better online writer. One year in, and I think it's time to stop learning and start using the knowledge I've acquired in the past year to craft something for myself in the digital space.

My first step: Understanding my why.

Your Why Matters.

In Schaefer's Known Personal Branding Workbook, which I am going through after reading Known, the first question he asks is, "Why do you want to become known?"

Do you want to be known so you can write a book or launch a career as a speaker, or maybe it could be as simple as wanting to stay relevant in your field of expertise? These are all great reasons to become known, but the coach in me wanted to dig deeper into my why. As Michael Hyatt, one of my favourite authors on personal growth, says, " You have to really dive into this because when you get to the messy middle, your why is what is going to pull you through."

Your why matters because it will be the source of your motivation when you're feeling stuck in the journey.

Identifying My Why.

This was kinda tough.

I sat down, pondered and went through various journal entries and notes I had written in the past and found three stories that really resonated with me, which I am sharing below:

First Story: Kevon Cheung and Why He Started Building in Public.

If you're not aware, Kevon Cheung is a digital creator and has made a name for himself as the Build in Public go-to guy.

However, before Kevon became known in the Build in Public field, he was a startup veteran who had recently left a company he co-founded. In his book, Find Joy in Chaos, Kevon says, "While I had been a startup veteran, I was more or less a "jack of all trades but master of none." And things began to go south because I realized I had nothing to show for it. I worked so damn hard for all the companies I co-created or worked in, but all of a sudden, I had only a resume and some entrepreneurial experiences I could talk about. I felt empty, as if the first 8 years hadn't happened. At that moment, I felt like a nobody."

Second Story: Larry C. Lewis On Why He Wanted To Be Known.

In Schaefer's book, he shares the story of his friend Larry C. Lewis who had a decade of working experience in the high-profile jewellery industry before deciding to come out and start building a name for himself.

Larry shares, "About a year ago, I started feeling depressed. I have dreams of my own, yet I was living someone else's dream. I had projects in my heart that were getting buried, and as time passed, my ideas became obsolete. No matter how much I was getting paid or how successful I made someone else, I was living in their shadow. I felt limited. I knew I had to step out of my own and become known if I wanted to reach my full potential."

Third Story: Amanda Natividad On Why She Started Writing On Twitter.

Amanda Natividad is a marketer with Sparktoro.

She's known for her witty and engaging tweets on life, cooking and especially her insights on marketing. In her latest blog post on personal branding, she talks about the tipping point that made her start writing online, "I was tired from having been laid off, having been furloughed, having too-long of a job hunt, and being unhappy in a given role. It was during the pandemic and something needed to change. And that only thing I could change was my actions." Her main objective in building her brand was to grow her career without ever having to do a traditional job search again.

In fact, she landed her current job as VP of Marketing in Sparktoro through her efforts writing on Twitter.

Why do these stories resonate?

Simply put, I'm experiencing the same things too. I want to create a space to be known in a specialized field and showcase my other talents outside my current profession. I want to open myself up to opportunities the world has to offer. Beyond that, I want to create meaning and a positive impact from my work. To give back to society the little knowledge I have to help elevate lives for the better and hopefully leave a lasting, positive impression on the people I connect with.

In my own way, as Steve Jobs puts it, "I want to put a ding in the universe." Even if that universe is a small one.

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