Book Talk

Implementing Lessons From Mark Schaefer's Known - Part 1.

Natasha Musa 4 min read
Implementing Lessons From Mark Schaefer's Known - Part 1.
Photo by Evan Dennis / Unsplash
"The source of influence today is not necessarily tied to your title, your position on an organisational chart, or the awards you've won. Today, you must build an equity of influence by becoming known."

After reading Mark Schaefer's book Known, I realized the importance of being known and how it can provide a sustained and permanent career advantage over those who are not known in any career field.

If I look at individuals within the marketing field, Amanda Natividad comes to mind as a great example of how being known levelled up her career. Amanda started writing about marketing on X. Her insights and personality attracted a considerable following. Her efforts to establish herself to be Known as a marketer allowed her to connect with Rand Fishkin. Now, she is the VP of Marketing at SparkToro, an audience research start-up founded by Fishkin.

This is an excellent example of how a strong web presence can open up opportunities for anyone.

The first step towards being Known is understanding, "Why do you want to become known?"

Your Why Matters.

In Mark's Known Personal Branding Workbook, the very first exercise and question that you need to ask yourself 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 could it be as simple as wanting to stay relevant in your 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 productivity coaches and author, said, "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."

Identifying My Why.

This was tough.

I sat down, pondered and went through various journal entries and notes I had written in the past and found three stories that 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 realised 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 eight 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 Mark'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.

I mention Amanda Natividad earlier.

She's known for her witty and engaging tweets on life and cooking, especially for her marketing insights. In one of her blog posts 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.

Her efforts landed her current job as VP of Marketing in Sparktoro through her writing on X.

Why do these stories resonate?

Simply put, I'm experiencing and want the same things, too.

I've been a marketer for 25 years. I do everything from PR to digital marketing. Like Kevon, I feel like I am a jack of all trades and a master of none within my field. Like Larry, I want to pursue my dreams, and like Amanda, I want to see what opportunities are out there for me.

Beyond that, I want to create meaning and a positive impact. I want to give back to society the little knowledge I have to help improve lives and leave a lasting, positive impression on the people I connect with.

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

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