March’s #SciCommChall: My personal branding statement

For March’s #SciCommChall, Alice gave us a super cool challenge with really helpful instructions to come up with our own “personal branding statements”. And here I am following her instructions and coming up with my own personal branding statement. A little late, but better late than never…

1. Write down three words you’d use to describe yourself. Take your time and be honest.

So after a lot of contemplation, I think my three words are enthusiastic, curious, and driven.

Curious: I get very easily fascinated by all kinds of different stuff, and I am always interested in exploring new things, learning new skills, visiting new places.

Enthusiastic: As I said, I get very easily fascinated by stuff. And then enthusiastic about it, or you might say obsessed. See evidence of that in my wave watching posts.

Driven: What I mean by that is that once I decide I want something, I am super stubborn and will work hard to get it. For example, once I had decided that my goddaughter was going to get a wave watching book for her christening, I made it happen. Another word to describe that side of me might be pigheaded ;-)

2. Find someone you trust (your partner or a friend) and ask them to describe you in three words. Compare the lists and see what they have in common.

For N=27, this is how my friends describe me (font size proportional to how often a word was mentioned. More or less, at least, since I got answers in English, German, and Norwegian and translated them all to English to be able to cluster them…).

I love how curious and driven are also how my friends see me, along with creative, passionate, enthusiastic and funny! And stubborn ;-)

3. List your core competencies. What are your unique skills and talents that are valuable to others? What accomplishments and experiences define you? Include awards, degrees, and promotions.

Elaborating on this is kinda boring in a blog post. Check out my CV if you are interested in the formal stuff…

But I think what I am really good at is sharing my excitement for topics or causes and getting other people interested in them and excited about them, too. I’m also really good at building networks because I’m not afraid to cold-contact people or to follow up with people I’ve met. I remember people’s interests & projects and am very good at connecting people that should meet.

4. List your goals. What do you want to accomplish this year, this decade?

This year as well as this decade: Sharing my fascination with the ocean!

This year is all about bringing ocean experiences to people that either can’t travel to the ocean, or that can travel but can’t meet up with people to learn from them. I’ve already been doing that by creating a 1-day kitchen oceanography course for kids (in german) or by writing up examples of how to do field courses without having student groups in the field. But there is more in the pipeline already, like an article I contributed to in a popular science magazine, and I have even more things planned. The main thing I want to work on over the next couple of days is to create videos of experiments using the DIYnamics setup because we would be using them with students right now if it was possible, and I have one at home! And I am hoping that those videos can be integrated in such a way that students watch them in preparation for a video call with me, where they can “remotely control” me doing the same experiment again, except modified in whatever way they’d like. What do you think, good idea?

Building on those ideas, my long term goal is to live in a lighthouse, overlooking the ocean. Sometimes I’ll open my home for workshops on ocean topics (for example on kitchen oceanography or wave watching, but also on how to communicate about ocean and climate topics, and many others), other days I’ll observe the ocean by myself or with select, few people, and communicate about that via my blog, maybe livestreams, maybe new technologies that’ll exist by then. Doing this kind of work — building a community around ocean exploration and understanding — is really what makes me extremely happy and I don’t see myself ever not wanting to do this any more.

5. Write out your (core) values.

My core values. Such a difficult question. It is very important to me that I can be my authentic self when it comes to my work and beyond: following my curiosity and sharing things that bring me joy are essential to me, as is building community and being in constant discussion with like-minded people and those that give me new perspective on things. Also experimenting with new topics or skills, being creative, having control over what I work on and how & when I do it. It is also very important to me that even though I love working a lot and traveling for long periods for work, this has to be in balance with time with family and friends (luckily there are so many of my friends that I work with, so traveling to work with them is a win-win!).

6. Create your own personal branding statement. This is a two-sentence description of who you are and what you can contribute. Don’t rush it, composing this statement is not an easy thing to do. Once you’re satisfied, stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. It’s good affirmation.

Funnily enough this came out very similar to previous “about me” statements I had written for resumés and other such occasions:

“I am endlessly fascinated by the ocean and want to experience and understand it. I am dedicated to creating stimulating and engaging environments for dialogue on ocean and climate topics to share my passion, and to insprire”

I put it up on my porthole which is right next to my current work desk at home / my sewing and other handcrafts table / my dining table (actually, only table in my home). And I like it! Thanks for the idea, Alice! :-)

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