Forget Personal Brand Why Not Try Personal Projects

Late last week I watched this 7 minute video below of Ji Lee talking about his “Bubble Project”.

Here is the link to the video, I would recommend taking a few minutes to watch it. Ji is a very good speaker and his presentation is very personal and he really gets his point across.

Ji Lee: The Transformative Power of Personal Projects

For those of you have not seen the video before, Ji’s story is a great one and I find it very motivating. Ji is now Creative Director at Google Creative Labs, previously though and before his bubble project he was working at an ad agency in the US. As a result of the frustration of corporate dialogues and ego he undertook his own personal project (the bubble project) to create something that he believed in and was passionate about.

From his experiences working in the Ad agency Ji learned that “I can not depend on others to make things happen” and that as a solution ” I will have to just do it myself”. Which is how the idea to create his own personal project happened.

I think at the moment many people are caught up in the hype of creating a ‘Personal Brand’, but I think many people are not providing any real content or story behind their brand. Our work and personal worlds are becoming more intertwined than ever. What role you have in a company only makes up a part of your personal brand. What is it that you believe in, what is it that drives you or gets you excited to work on. These type of things (and I am sure there are many more) are what helps piece together your personal brand.

Brand “you” is not something you can create in 10 minutes on a PDF file. It has to be something that has a life behind it – Yours. It is developed by the work that you do whether that is in your job or elsewhere.

In your job you may not have the ability to work on some projects that you want to due to any number of constraints. For Ji he found his creativity being stifled by the corporate machine. However if there is something you want to do, you can still do it if you really want to as a personal project.

From his experience and as Ji notes in his presentation working on his own Personal Projects has taught Ji:

  • “personal and professional projects complement each other”
  • “creating platforms to share/collaborate with others is powerful”
  • “time is a concept that can be stretched”
  • “sharing is rewarding”

It is through his bubble project that Ji started to receive calls to work on other projects and open up new doors and opportunities for him. Forget for the moment about your personal brand, that will take care of itself and will develop as a result of the work that you do. You do not need to be constrained by the walls of your office for the projects you work on. I enjoyed watching this video and it has helped me look at the world a bit differently, I think it is something that should be shared with others.

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