Looking back, I realise just how prevalent #ialso has been in my life through the years, and how much it resonates with me since starting up two businesses.
When I decided to pursue clinical psychology many moons ago, I knew it would involve a long, predetermined path of academics and training. While I always wanted to have my own private practice, I also envisioned doing something “out of the box” and more creative with my experience. While I was studying for my doctorate in New York, I also worked for a large advertising agency, where I helped develop the personalities of brands. I quickly became intrigued by the intersection of psychology and branding.
It was when I moved to London 10 years ago that the pieces seemed to fall into place. Alongside of my dream of starting a private practice, I also soon pursued a second business that brought together my training, experience and passion in both psychology and branding; my personal branding agency, Golden Notebook. In short, I help clients make a name for themselves by discovering their distinct and authentic personal brand.
In the world of personal branding, we talk quite a bit about finding your niche. Of course having a target audience is important, especially in business, but that doesn’t mean pigeonholing yourself either. It is possible to wear multiple hats that all fit beautifully with our overall personal brand. I actually find multifaceted brands which attract more than one niche far more interesting than one-dimensional ones.
I’ve been running my two businesses since 2012, but that’s not where #ialso ends for me. One thing that’s quite important to me outside of my professional roles is engaging in some form of social responsibility. So I’ve also played active roles in charities over the years, particularly in HIV organisations such as amfAR in New York and Terrance Higgins Trust (THT) in London. I’ve gained invaluable experience serving on various event planning committees through these charities and now host fundraising dinners for THT, which is also a lot of fun!
The list goes on. I also spend a lot of time writing: my blog, professional articles and media pieces, in addition to having a go at a book. Given my background in media training, I also do a number of interviews for TV, radio, glossies and newspapers. In my private practice, I am also a supervisor and have assisted other psychologists in setting up their own practice.
Last but not least, as fitness is a big part of my lifestyle, I also spend a lot of time training, particularly in Taekwondo (I recently got my 2nd Dan black belt!). I also occasionally assist my coach at my academy.
I sometimes get asked how I manage to keep the plates spinning. Sometimes I’m not exactly sure how to be honest…in many ways, it feels like it’s just living. I came across a great quote by Richard Bransonin his blog: “Finding your passion means you will never have a job. I have learned this from my years creating businesses. I’ve never had what I would call a job, but I’ve worked every day for five decades.”
This truly resonates with me. I don’t have a traditional 9-5; things mostly just seem to flow. Having structure is of course important, but so is having the flexibility to shift priorities and move with changing demands. Sure, balance between work and play is key (and an ongoing challenge), but so is incorporating play into your work as much as possible.
Another thing I’ve learned is the importance of being selective about exactly what plates you spin, which often means saying no or delegating. With my media work, for example, I won’t just jump on any request. I now use more discretion and make sure what I take on also reflects my own brand in some way. Overall, I do love having multiple roles. I find that diversity in my day keeps things fun and interesting. It can feel a bit like surfing at times and trying to stay on your board; both challenging and at times exhilarating.
I think it’s an exciting time for entrepreneurs; there’s more stepping outside the box in what we do. In particular, I think we are seeing a rise in #ialso female entrepreneurs. I’ve had the great privilege of interviewing female entrepreneurs as a part of various campaigns for my Golden Notebook blog in the past, and I would say that there are many who would fall into the #ialso sisterhood. I find it interesting and refreshing how more women are talking about the various roles they play and businesses they juggle. The days of only defining yourself based on one thing – whether it be a job, motherhood, etc – are thankfully over. When you have multiple strengths and talents to offer, why limit yourself? We don’t need to stop growing, experimenting or playing, which often involves taking risks and trying on new things.
My main advice for those who want more #ialso in their lives is to not let fear hold you back. You can have that fear yet continue to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Follow what gets you excited; allow that sense of passion and purpose to set the rhythm and guide you. That’s the fuel. If you can align your passion and purpose with the flow of life, you hit the sweet spot.
Dr Lisa Orban is the founder of the Golden Notebook