What does it mean to Take Command of your Personal Brand?
Just what is a personal brand, anyway?
Pop quiz time!
Is your Personal Brand:
A) Your skills, behaviors, and attributes
B) The successes you’re known for (or, um, your associated failures or shortcomings)
C) How you see and speak of yourself
D) How other people see you?
The answer is:
E) All of the Above
Your personal brand is how you consistently show up for yourself.
It is the story of YOU that you create and that you get to tell.
It is also (very much!) the story that other people tell about you when you’re not in the room.
And that’s something you only partly control.
So let’s focus on what we can control – how we show up for ourselves and how we speak of ourselves.
10 Ways to Take Command of Your Personal Brand (and the Story of You!)
- Get clear on your unique value. While many people might share your degree or title, no one has your specific combination of skills, talents, attributes, and behaviors. Just like no two snowflakes are exactly alike, you are your own unique personality. Embrace your individuality and your differences – they are what define you!
- Identify (and own!) your past experiences. This includes successes, achievements, failures, and lessons learned. No experience is wasted and each plays a part in the value you bring!
- Understand how you are perceived. Ask friends and colleagues about your best qualities and where you might sometimes falter. Complete a 360 at work, if available. If you tend to be hard on yourself, get (and accept) compliments from close friends. If you are looking for constructive criticism, ask a boss or colleague, “What are three things I can do better?”
- Consider the Optimal Outcome – How do you want people to feel after spending time with you? How do you need to respond to and interact with others to build those authentic feelings? Proceed accordingly!
- Align your skills and passions with your company’s needs. The intersection between what you’re naturally good at, what you care about, and the ways you can solve your company’s needs or problems is your sweet spot.
- Be consistent in all forms of communication. This includes your online presence on all social media platforms. (Hint: If you are looking for a job, don’t complain about looking for a job on platforms like LinkedIn!)
- Amplify your achievements. It’s not bragging when it delivers value to others. Share credit, sure, but don’t forget to own your own!
- Address missteps or shortcomings. If you err in ways that are off-brand, own up to them with immediacy and honesty. Failures make great learning stories and wind up being successes in the end. It’s how we respond to them that counts.
- Have a growth mindset. Our brand, our impact, our stories are ongoing. Aim for continued learning and curiosity about improvement, not perfection.
- Be a human being! No one has a perfect brand nor should you strive for one. People are far more likely to relate to you if you lead with authenticity and generosity.
And, finally, don’t forget your brand is YOUR STORY.
As my favorite writer Nora Ephron once said, “When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh.”
Own your own story!
Valerie Gordon is a 10x Emmy-winning television producer and the founder of career and communication strategy firm, The Storytelling Strategist. She works with high-achieving individuals and teams on how to harness the power of story for greater success and satisfaction at work. Check out Valerie’s interactive training workshops available both in-person and virtually.