For years I have believed in the power of understanding self, of defining vision, mission and purpose. Those that know me hear me say over and over – Branding is about how you show up in the world, about how you demonstrate your solutions, your values and you can’t do that well if you do not start from the inside. Recently, though I have found myself refraining some from this intense internal work with clients. Why? Well it’s that soft skills paradox. Soft skills are often seen as less important. Quite frankly, it is a decent argument to make. If a company is struggling to meet bottom line goals – financial needs and skills related to them seem crucial and may outweigh soft-skill development. Even when a client is looking at a career change, the idea of having to self-reflect about purpose can seem like a time-killer. Yet, It is often the difference between building the right internal connections to the right external connections. And often the difference between failure and success – I needed a reminder about this – and thankfully I got one.

A few months ago, I entered a certification process to be a facilitator for an inspiring, remarkable program, called REBOOT. Its aim is to help reintegrate service men and women into civilian life. This is a much-needed program as the “statistics show high unemployment, homelessness, suicide, drug and/or alcohol abuse and other reintegration problems experienced by returning service members, and those numbers are rising.”

In three weeks men and women – our dedicated service members - change the way they think. They move from a place of serving only the military’s mission to a place of serving their own mission as well. I remember asking one of the founders, “Come on – you must get some resistance during this program. I mean you are asking soldiers and sailors to define purpose, vision, to look at their core values?” And he said, yes in the beginning --but then a change happens.”

I call that change the shift.

A shift happens in the mind and the heart. Together they create a powerful platform for positive change. We can ignore what we see – what is not working, we can fight it or complain about it – or we can even run away. Fear is often present in our reactions. Until we understand how to change our thoughts, we may continue down a detrimental path. We also can travel without focused direction – or we can envision life from a place of core values, alignment and mission. Sure things will still be tough – in our personal lives, in our careers. But imagine how much more fulfilling our decisions can be when we start with purpose. I was reminded of why I began my work years ago with Values, Vision and Mission during REBOOT. I am including links to a few graduates of the 8th class of REBOOT. I am honored to have been one of their facilitators during week two. They shifted – they see life is so much more than before – with brilliance and resilience and a sense of positive power – all because they shifted. And thanks to them I was reminded – I SHIFTED too,

Author's Bio: 

Jessi LaCosta is one of the United States only specialists to work at the nexus of branding, leadership, strategy, psychology and neuroscience, influenced by Interpersonal Neurobiology. This process to business and community building she calls Brand Leadership. Her purpose is to help others create healthy, effective and sustainable platforms for implementing their visions. Her main tools include coaching, assessments, training, and facilitation to help her clients achieve success.
LaCosta is passionate about an integrated, systems-approach to innovative, authentic and strategic development. She has more than 17 years experience in reputation management and strategic communications. Always approaching situations with a creative and focused perspective, Lacosta brings an eclectic and rich background with her.
LaCosta is the Vice President of Marketing and Membership for the San Diego Organization Development Network. She is also the recipient of both the H. Mebane Turner Service and the Thomas J. Pullen Outstanding Young Alumna Awards from the University of Baltimore. She has a long history of community service and nonprofit volunteerism.

LaCosta holds a B.S. degree in Corporate Media from James Madison University, and both an M.A. degree in Communication Design and Leadership Certificate from the University of Baltimore. She has earned certificate in Interpersonal Neurobiology from Portland State in 2010, is also a certified trained mediator for the state of California and a Certified Mastermind Executive Coach.