My Dad had a huge love of genealogy and, tracked down distant family members, wrote letters and, visited local churches for old records of births, baptism’s marriages and deaths. He did it all the old fashioned way without the internet. His legacy is that I have his handwritten, 42 foot long , family tree.
He loved nothing more than to welcome a visitor to his home village and, take them to meet all the relatives – in the local graveyard! Then he would invite the visitor back for a strong cup of English tea, pulling out the family tree and recall stories of Aunt Edith’s love of a shot of gin or the size of Uncle Bert’s nose, which I swore got bigger every time the story was told!
He was telling their stories, who they were, what they did and what they stood for. If someone were to do the same about you, what would they say?
Your challenge is that you may not be the best person to tell your personal brand story.
If I were to ask you right now to tell me what your personal brand is, how confident would you be of doing yourself justice?
7 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand Story
Much has been written about personal branding, over the last 20 years or so, since Tom Peters first spoke and wrote about it. He positioned personal branding more as a way to get noticed at work for that next great project or promotion versus its current role as a job searching tool as well.
Since then the goal of personal branding has been ‘hijacked’ to the point of it only being seen as useful for the sole purpose of finding that new job. But that is short sighted.
Often the worst time to be working on your personal brand is when you are job hunting, especially if you are unemployed. The anxiety of finding work is not the best time to be sitting down and considering your passions or purpose in life.
Personal branding as a long term approach for you and is a continuous work in progress. Do NOT think that it all has to happen right now. Take stock of where your personal brand is right now, take one area you want to improve on and then make a plan to do a little every day to make that happen.
When I first talk with people about personal branding, they are very focused on the immediate problem that they feel, or hope, that our working together will solve. After addressing that issue and completing the exercises and work they often remark they never realized how much more involved and eye opening the whole process had been.
Personal branding is much more than a band-aid
It is an opportunity to really define a direction for your career, business AND life.
Your view is only one-dimensional. It is important to know how others perceive you and, what they think your personal brand is or stands for. I use a variety of tools to gather this including assessments that you may have taken and past performance reviews.
Also there are two specifically designed personal brand assessments that you can take to get detailed insights into your personal brand. These insights are invaluable because once you know how others view your value to them you are much more likely to maintain that impression and do it from a place of authenticity.
The first assessment is a self-assessment that reveals how you fascinate others, including: your top two advantages in communication, and the specific words you need for all your career marketing and communication pieces including resume, LinkedIn profile and branded bio.
The second assessment is more detailed and provides anonymous feedback from others as to their perception of your personal brand. This enhances and also confirms the information and language gathered from the first assessment.
There is always a reason to put this type of personal and professional development off to another time. You have deadlines, work and family demands and, after all, things are going okay at the moment.
Then something happens such as, an unexpected promotion opportunity, a looming job loss or a new boss that you don’t see eye to eye with. All of a sudden you have to hit the panic button.
You need to ‘create’ your personal brand by Friday.
Don’t wait for the ‘panic button’ moment. Instead, ,start to take the time now to develop and enhance your personal brand. Put aside one hour a week that you are going to dedicate to developing your personal brand and block the time in your calendar.
Time is one of the investments that you need to make when it comes to working on your personal brand. The other investment could include hiring a coach to help you, to work on your overall personal brand or a specific personal branding area that you have identified that you know you need more help with, for example, presentation skills, image and presence or your use of social media.
The investment that you are willing to make on your personal and professional development on a consistent basis will pay itself back many times over the course of your career.
All too often I see people who under estimate or even ignore their unique strengths. These are the things that you do so naturally and so well that you do not often consciously think about them. When I sit down with clients to review their personal brand assessment feedback, I will point out the areas that others see as their strengths.
Clients will say; “But I do that all the time”
“Exactly!!” I will exclaim.
Just because it comes easily to you, do not think that others don’t value that skill or strength.
Be sure that you are leveraging these strengths to their maximum benefit.
If getting clear on what your strengths are is a struggle, take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment that comes with the book of the same name by Tom Rath
Being very clear about your personal brand is vitally important before you get to the fun part of personal branding – communication.
Unless you are like Apple and Steve Jobs, and are able to influence us to wanting a product we did not even know we needed, then you must be very sure about the unique promise of value that your personal brand offers.
If you decide to start expressing your personal brand before that, then you run the risk of doing more damage than good.
The good news is everyone has a personal brand.
The key is to understand what that personal brand is and how best to communicate it to the people that need to know about you.
It’s up to you to own the definition of who you are then others will want you on their team.
Thank you for reading, have a brandtastic week! Paul
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If you would like to understand more consciously the key elements of your personal brand and become much more engaged about what you do, get a FREE copy of the workbook "Finding Your Rebel Voice - 7 Strategies To Connect With Who You Are" - you can access it by clicking here.