Rebranding after intimate partner violence, sexual violations and near-death experiences
Ashleigh-Ann Mowatt

IF you were being honest, you'd admit that you're not living your best life because you still have nightmares. You think about what would have happened if you hadn't survived the traumatic events. You would also admit that, many a time, you turn down opportunities that would best serve your well-being because you caress a persistent belief in your mind that "this is not for me".

This personal rebranding guide is as much mine as it is yours because I'm still on my rebranding journey, surviving trauma in the form of intimate partner violence, sexual violations, robbery, and near-death experiences. You are reading this guide because you've possibly met the person you intend to be, you have visions of that person living a full life, uninhibited by unforgiveness. You know it's possible but you don't know how to become that person.

You won't get all your answers here because I'm not a psychologist. However, I can offer you a rebranding template that you should customise to meet your personal goals at whichever stage you are in the journey. Here goes:

1. Fall in love with "No"

Some personal branding experts preach about the importance of saying, "Yes".

"Raise your hand and speak."

"Always be the first to volunteer."

"Accept public speaking requests."

But to what end? Not all 'professional networking opportunities' are truly designed for the well-being of your personal brand or can be tailored to meet your goals. Rather than be hasty in your 'yes for success', say or ask:

"Is this a paid or unpaid gig?"

"I will have to check my schedule and get back to you."

"Please give me 24 hours to decide."

Spend some time evaluating the perceived opportunity and allow the other party (even if that other party is in your head) to clarify why it is an opportunity for you. In most cases, the response you'll receive will point you to your final decision.

The sweet spot: The more you practice saying, "No", the more you fall in love with it. And this is actually helping you to establish an important part of your well-being – your boundaries.

2. Create the opportunity you want

Unlike other candidates, rejection is like a flaming arrow through your heart. You feel it deeper, ripping and burning away every inch of your fibre of courage. It stings because it appears to be a consistent validation of the story of worthlessness that you've told yourself. So you spend too much time second-guessing your abilities after a failed test, an unsuccessful job interview, or at the end of a relationship. While it doesn't seem so, this is actually a chance for your breakthrough. If you could erase the thought of rejection, you will realise that the universe is pivoting you to create the opportunity that you want.

You didn't get the job BUT you have skills and personal resources to start a project relevant to your career field that will forever be an asset in your work portfolio.

You received a failing grade in a test. Ask for your test paper, familiarise yourself with all your errors (study smarter) so you'll never make those mistakes every again.

The relationship with the "love of your life" has ended. You have more space to love yourself and love on yourself.

Rejection is your fuel to create the opportunity you want; your perspective determines how you feel about it.

3. Own your truth

You're known as a bitter, unforgiving person with few friends and you'll continue to live that experience until you change the narrative in your head. Forgive yourself for believing that you can never change. Forgive yourself for believing other people's story of you. Forgive yourself for not believing your truth.

Remember, change is the only constant in life. While others are arresting you to your past self, spend time getting to know the new you by:

•Documenting and revisiting your goals every four months

•Subscribing to thought experts (including those with lived experiences) on topics that matter to your professional and personal growth

•Engaging in at least one activity weekly that makes your heart smile

•Celebrating all your wins (small and big, corporate and domestic, local and international, all).

When you spend time owning your truth, you become more confident in you. In time, you'll be amazed how your personal brand identity is the person you always dreamt to be.

Ashleigh-Ann Mowatt is a freelance journalist & digital branding facilitator. Connect with her at ashleighann.mowatt@gmail.com.

ASHLEIGH-ANN MOWATT

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