Less than 15% of people have created their personal brand and less than 5% are consistently living in it, which means most people are allowing other people to define who they are. Don’t let that happen to you. Take control of your life!
Perception becomes reality in relationships. Your reputation and first impression will either open or close doors in your personal and professional life. Most people don’t consciously think about how to take control of their reputation, i.e. your personal brand, but it’s critical for success in life.
Your personal brand (i.e., your image, identity, and perceived value) plays a large role in helping you attract and engage people and develop your relationships.
Nothing is more important than your relationships. Connection is why we are here and it gives meaning and purpose to our lives. Belonging is in our DNA. Bottom line, your network of people is your net worth in life, business, and love. Invest in yourself now, and take control of your future.
What is Your Personal Brand?
Your brand is about who you are as a person, how you are perceived, and what you stand for. It’s what you uniquely stand for and how you stand out. It’s also your strategy and roadmap for how you authentically act and interact with other people.
Your brand is based on their experiences with you, the things that they see you doing, and what they hear about you from others. The way they see you behaving most consistently and frequently is how they will see and perceive your personal brand.
Everyone has one, whether they know it or not. So take control of it, define it, and live it on your terms. Your brand is the primary way you will establish your credibility with others in every area of your life. So purposely create it.
Your personal brand will help you navigate difficult situations, make better decisions in life, communicate better with others, and be an admired leader. For example, in work and in your career, it will help you take more ownership in projects and outcomes, and communicate better with others so they see you are passionately invested in everyone’s success. Your personal brand gets you engaged with yourself and others, and helps you identify how to create winning outcomes that benefit people and your organization.
The flip side is many people just go through the motions during work without thinking about how they present themselves to others. Don’t let that happen to you. It’s career, life and relationship killer.
Here’s how to start identifying your personal brand:
Step 1: Get feedback from others so you can see where you are today. There is a great free 360-degree survey by Adam Grant at giveandtake.com/Home/RequestAssessment that you can send to friends, colleagues, etc. I’d send this to 5–10 people in different areas of your life so you can get a full spectrum of analysis. You can also develop your own personal short survey with surveymonkey.com or other tools.
Step 2: Brainstorm what you want to be known for. Write out your strengths when it comes to skills and abilities, experience, personality traits, etc. What are you best at? What are you most proud of? Think of a time when you were at your best. Think of a time when you were proud of yourself.
Step 3: Compare your list to the comments from people in Step 1. What stands out? What is distinctive in your mind?
Step 4: On a piece of paper or online, make two columns. In the first column, describe in two or three words how you want to be known. For example, “strategic, calm communicator.” Or, “fearless, giving leader.” Or, “rising above obstacles.” This is your brand.
Step 5: In the second column: What five behaviors and actions would someone with this brand exhibit? For example, if your brand is “rising above obstacles,” you will want to introduce solutions to major challenges faced by your clientele. If your brand is “fearless, giving leader,” you are going to want to empower and support others to take risks, and help them get needed resources and information. This will help you see how to apply this information in your personal, business, and social lives.
When you have completed this exercise, you can use this as a guide in your everyday life. I’d also incorporate this into your style of dress and the clothes you choose. You want to make sure your external self is congruent with your personal brand. You also want to make sure you authentic in your brand.
Finally, think about how you communicate on social media channels and ponder creating your own website where you can discuss issues or areas that you are passionate about. You can take it further by doing public speaking in a particular area, writing and contributing articles to your favorite publications, pitching ideas to bloggers or media, teaching a class or workshop at your company, etc.
As an experienced coach and marketer, I can tell you that doing these things will really separate you from others and take your brand to the next level. In turn, you will experience the riches in life…in every area of your life.