With just under 17 months to the finish line, the 2016 race for the White House is underway. Hillary Clinton ended months of suspense (insert monkey sarcasm here) by finally making her bid official over the weekend. She joins fellow Democratic hopeful and former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley—plus GOPers Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who announced their runs a few weeks back, and the latest to join the fray, Marco Rubio, who just announced on Monday.

Running for President takes drive, tenacity, and a willingness to bare warts and all for the country, even the world, to see. Do these candidates have what it takes to claim America’s ultimate political prize? Only time, the number of votes, and the amount of campaign funds each can raise will tell.

In The Running with Barrel of Monkeys

What is it about them as people that makes them want the highest office in the land? What is it about them that might make us voters want them for the position?

A few years back, I wrote a blog about personal branding and the two hungers we all strive for in life. Given that this country’s ultimate personal branding showcase (aka the Presidential election) is well underway, I thought what better time than the present to share it again. Enjoy!

The Two Hungers and Your Personal Brand

(Originally posted on October 15, 2013)

We’re all pretty much attuned to the notion of company brands and positioning, and to a certain extent, we’ve all heard about personal branding—which has become especially important these days with the pervasiveness of online and social media activities.

Whether we’ve actively cultivated it or not, we all have a personal brand. It represents what others think or feel when they hear your name. It represents their emotional response to how you “show up” to them in their lives. Do they feel positive and reassured; do they feel guarded and anxious; or do they not feel anything at all?

What does your personal brand say about you? Do you even know? Do you want to know, or are you content to muddle along as-is?

Your personal brand encompasses your vision, mission, values, and promise. It’s a result of what you hunger for most in life, the passions that give your life meaning and purpose, and the role you play in the lives of your family, your community, your colleagues, your government, and even complete strangers.

Sir Laurens van der Post (1906 – 1996) perhaps said it best when he contemplated the essence of meaning in our lives:

“The Bushman in the Kalahari Desert talk about two ‘hungers.’ There is the Great Hunger and there is the Little Hunger. The Little Hunger wants food for the belly; but the Great Hunger, the greatest hunger of all, is the hunger for meaning.

“There’s ultimately only one thing that makes human beings deeply and profoundly bitter, and that is to have thrust upon them a life without meaning.

“There is nothing wrong in searching for happiness. But of far more comfort to the soul is something greater than happiness or unhappiness, and that is meaning.

“Meaning transfigures all; and once what you are living and what you are doing has for you meaning, it is irrelevant whether you are happy or unhappy. You are content. You’re not alone in your spirit. You belong.”

(Sir Laurens van der Post was a South African cultural anthropologist, statesman, and author. His life is the subject of Hasten Slowly, a 1997 documentary film by Mickey Lemle.)

Presidential Advice – SNL Style!

For what do you hunger? What gives your life meaning? Is your personal brand an accurate reflection of the real you?

Share your thoughts and experiences here.