“You too are a brand. Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not.” Marc Ecko
Having a strong Personal Brand will help you gain recognition in your job, advance in your career, and get the salary you deserve – but what is a Personal Brand and how do you develop yours?
When you think of people you work with, is there anyone you can immediately identify as an expert at their job, who you would absolutely trust to get a particular project done? Now consider that person – are there two or three qualities that define them for you?
If the answer is yes, that means they have a strong Personal Brand. Presumably, others also recognize their expertise, which gives them a strong advantage when planning their career path: managers want them on their team, executives think of them when a spot opens up, and – when they ask for a raise they are likely to get the requested amount.
Now put yourself in the shoes of your co-workers—what expertise can you imagine comes to their minds when they think of you? If they would not describe you in the strong terms that you want to be known for, it is likely that you do not have a strong Personal Brand.
But keep in mind—if you don’t have a strong Personal Brand this DOES NOT mean you don’t have expertise – it just means people are not aware of it.
The great news is you can create a Personal Brand that tells others who you are, how you work, and what they can expect from you. Here is a guide for developing and/or strengthening your Personal Brand in three steps: reflecting; respecting and accepting; and remembering. Reflect on who you are, accept and respect who you are, and remember who you are in the face of doubt.
Step 1: Self-Reflect
Knowing yourself is the first step to positively marketing your Personal Brand. To do this, ask yourself these three questions, and be sure to write the answers down:
1) What are my values?
2) What is my passion in life?
3) What are my strengths and weaknesses?
Try to write down as many answers as possible, then pick the top two to three responses that ring the truest in defining who you are. As you analyze your list of answers, ask yourself these questions next:
– Why are these values important to me?
– Am I dedicating energy to my passions?
– Am I actively utilizing my strengths in everyday life?
– Am I accepting and improving on my weaknesses?
With these answers, you have a solid foundation to create your Personal Brand statement. A Personal Brand statement defines who you are, who you want to be, and what motivates you to become a better version of yourself. It is your constant reminder to be yourself, achieve your goals, and tell the world what you stand for.
As Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Step 2: Self-Respect and Self-Accept
Self-Respect comes from the acceptance that we can both be our best while also continuing to grow and change. On some level, everyone is striving to improve themselves. After all, with only one life to live and no shortage of educational opportunities, the best way to improve is to learn. That being said, it is both humble and important to your growth to be comfortable and aware of any shortcomings.
When developing your brand, don’t be intimidated by your weaknesses. Instead, challenge them. Be completely open and honest with yourself, as well as with those around you. This helps maintain realistic expectations for both you and your colleagues, as well as prove that you are genuine. It also dispels the fear of false promises, or inadvertently creating a brand that others may consider false or pompous. Remember, the people you work with are striving to achieve their goals just as you are, and can tell when their colleague is being genuine, and when they’re creating a false narrative.
To say the opinions of your colleagues’ matter, and then tell you to stop worrying about what others think seems to be a conflict of ideas, but it is important to know when to take your coworkers’ feedback and when not. Sometimes, criticism can be incredibly constructive and can help in areas that need improvement. However, some people will never agree with you or feel that for whatever reason you are not suited to the position you have reached.
For these individuals, the saying “let your haters be your motivators” fits the best. They will never be happy, and it isn’t your responsibility to make them happy. Your responsibility is to do better and be better for you and your brand, not them.
Step 3: Self-Remembrance
Another adage, “practice makes perfect” rings loud and true when it comes to creating an authentic brand. Too often we allow outside influences to pull us away from the values or passions we ascribe to. Sometimes this happens out of a desire to appease a client or even impress a co-worker or potential new firm, but if you are not careful, you can be pulled away from the things that make you, well, you.
Remember who you are. Validate yourself and your desire to match your Personal Brand with your vision by believing in your values, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Self-awareness comes once more into play, as it is your responsibility to be aware of your transparency, your vulnerability, and of course, your authenticity.
As St. Catherine of Siena once said “Be who you are and set the world on fire.”
If you are curious about my Personal Branding Workshop, you can find out more here!