This time last year I was in a very different place. Somewhere along the way, I had lost some of the things that make me, me. My passion, my consistency, my uniqueness and above all my sense of purpose – basically, all the things that make a great brand.
Some might say I was suffering from a minor existential crisis, millennial burnout, Bridget Jones syndrome (yes, this is a thing!) and possibly a range of other 30-year-old related afflictions.
In typical millennial style, I decided it was the perfect time to take a step back, break free from the shackles of the daily grind and go and see some of the world. So for three months, I travelled through India and South East Asia, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Without trying to sound like I’ve stepped off the set of Eat. Pray. Love, removing myself from my routine, friends, family and comfort zone was liberating and over the course of my travels I realised I’d inadvertently gone through my own sort of personal brand workshop.
I went completely back to basics — literally (at one point I waded through a swamp in Vietnam to find my accommodation for the night was a mosquito net and the floor) and figuratively.
Over the course of my travels I’d inadvertently gone through my own personal brand workshop
At the core of me I knew there were some fundamental values: to always be honest, to be kind to people no matter the circumstance and to remain fiercely independent. But time away developed some new ones: to pursue a growth mindset, to follow my creative passions and to seek adventure in all things.
Fellow travellers, who are now good friends of mine, brought to the surface all the things that I knew to be true about my personality but that I’d almost forgotten — branded “fun Ros” (yes, not the most original of names but the sentiment was appreciated), I remembered I had a similar label at university, but completely lost it en route to my 30s.
Sure, everyone changes — life would be boring otherwise. But if you don’t regularly re-evaluate or at least check in on your basic brand DNA — your values, your vision for the future and how you’re going to get there — the things that make you, you — you’re in danger of losing sight of everything.
Unlike the world of corporate branding, it’s not so easy to discover what your purpose as a human being is (unless you’re Mozart!), but what is true is that brands are constantly evolving, and as long as you’re striving for growth, pursuing your curiosities and checking in on your brand DNA every once in a while, you can’t go far wrong.
A lot of people ask me if I dreaded coming back to reality after such an experience, and I can honestly say… no. Like any re-brand, I was re-invigorated and excited for the future and what I could offer… and on a personal note I was thrilled to be back in my own bed!