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November 28, 2016
Pink Tiger

A deer appeared in my back yard today as I was taking some photos of the dusting of snow on some trees in my side yard. I heard a faint noise and when I looked to my left, a doe was peeking up at me from just over the berm, only feet away from where I stood. 

She locked her eyes with mine. I stood stock still. I slowly raised my phone in front of me to take a picture and hoped it wouldn’t startle her and make her run off. I spoke softly to her, saying hello, and telling her what a beautiful girl she was. She seemed to listen to me and even cocked her head ever so slightly as if she were posing for the camera. After I took her ‘portrait’, she resumed eating the mounds of snow covered grass at her hooves. When she went back to eating, I crouched down out of her line of sight to shuffle a few feet closer, near the top of the berm.

We stared at one another again. There was a gentleness and trust in her gaze, she wasn’t scared, she didn’t even shift her weight. She continued eating more grass and occasionally, when she lifted her head, there were strands of grass hanging from her mouth, and she’d keep chewing while looking right at me.

This continued for at least 10 minutes. The doe took a step or two on occasion as she found a new patch of grass to eat and her foraging path started to take her back down the hill toward the small field.

I carefully changed my camera from ‘photo’ to ‘video’ mode. I so wanted to capture her movements. Even if she ran, I wanted to capture that beautiful stride only a white tail deer can display. But she didn’t run. I could see her belly fill with air when she breathed. I laughed at the tuft of snow on her muzzle after she foraged through more grass.

Her beautiful white tail was lowered and wrapped against her hind end. Only, later, when she began to slowly saunter away did her tail go up. But she raised it slowly, as if to show it off to me. I took in every detail of her eyes, the color of her fur, the musculature of her body. I noticed how her front legs splayed out just a bit, and it made me chuckle as I pictured duck feet from a cartoon in my imagination.

There was a ‘cross’ of sorts on her chest, which is where the fur must meet in one place and then extend into different directions. That area of fur is darker than the rest of her coat. It reminded me of the similar cross you see on a donkey, except on a donkey, the cross is revealed in the fur on their back.

What surprised me about our encounter is that she paid more attention to just being there, eating, glancing back and forth at me, and was less concerned about whether my presence might pose a threat. 

Each time we made eye contact, it was breath taking. She had allowed me to be in her world for a short time.

I captured 26 seconds of video in which she can be seen raising and lowering her head from the ground, and perking up her ears as she remained alert even though there weren’t any noises being made.

Eventually, she walked back into the lower field and meandered toward the tree line. She didn’t run, she just walked with purpose through the brush.

A crow made a loud cry and she looked up toward the tall pine trees and paused for a moment, with one leg slightly lifted, ready to bolt if needed. She walked on with her head up toward the crow; I imagined the crow and the doe were talking to one another, too.

So, you ask, ‘what’s the reason I should care about your encounter with a deer’?

Or, “what the heck does this have to do with personal branding”? Well, simply put, it tells a story. And hopefully it was a story that grabbed your attention and interest if only for a few minutes.

When I work with clients or present to entrepreneurs, I preach non-stop about the importance of sharing your personal story and making it relevant to your professional life. When someone learns something compelling or unique about you – beyond your skills or your job title – you’ve captured their attention. They want to learn more!

Now, is telling a story like the one I told above something you’ll weave into your 'About Me' page on your website or in the summary of your LinkedIn profile? Probably not. But sharing something thoughtful about yourself, what led you to be in the career you have now, or some quirky aspect of you or what you do, IS worth telling. It’s what creates top of mind awareness with your customers, potential clients, or even hiring managers. 

Oh, and please don’t tell me you don’t have a story. Everyone has a story! What’s yours?