Tennessee Education Lottery Interns Explored Branding and Visioning

I had the incredible experience of working with 15 interns at the Tennessee Education Lottery this summer.

We met in June, where I shared with them my insights on personal branding through my new workbook, The Power of YOU: Building Blocks to Create a Personal Brand Strategy. During that session, we got real about our most authentic selves and who we aspire to be. Most importantly, we got serious about how we were going to authentically WALK our TALK aka#LiveYourBrand. Someone even said they wanted to cry – it was that good.

On yesterday, I went back to the Tennessee Education Lottery today as a follow-up to the personal branding session we did in June (which, by the way, is amazing in itself because we only planned for one session, but after the first, we decided I should return today). Our task today was to talk through how the interns have evolved since the beginning of the program and to work through how they wanted their lives to look in the next 12 months via working through parts of my custom vision realization and goal-setting workbook, The Dream Planner.

We did so much more.

We shared some laughs, tears, anxieties, and had a few breakthroughs. Most importantly, I assured them that their lives would work out just fine if they were prepared to do the work. I let them know that success is not linear and massive failures will happen and that resilience is critical. I emphasized that it’s not about the failure or mistake or embarrassment; it’s all about how you recover from it. Fail forward.

It’s weird to some people that as a communicator, I would be talking about all of this. Most folks expect people like me to show up and talk about social media or branding or business or public relations or entrepreneurship (and sure, I talk about those things). They might even be willing to accept that I can share my experiences and my hopes around public education policy or workforce development or public contracting policy or small business success, as those are areas I work in. But what many people miss is that in order to communicate anything, you first have to relate to your people. That’s what public relations is all about: relating to and understanding and influencing the public. Sometimes, the ‘public’ you first have to understand and relate to is a public of one person – yourself. And that’s where I come in.

Boy, oh boy, did we do some relating. And it was beautiful.

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