While waiting for his owner to return from shopping, St. Bernard knows where his boundaries are and he is not going to stray at all. After all, if he were to jump out of the back of the truck, he would certainly be placing himself in danger.
St. Bernard's boundaries reminded me of the story of the dog owner who's dog was prone to run out of the front yard barking at passing cars and running the risk of being struck by one.
The owner fitted the dog with an electric shock collar and set it up so that as soon as it got anywhere near the sidewalk, it received a short, sharp shock to the neck and jumped back into the yard.
One day the owner had forgotten to replace the batteries in the collar, and it had stopped working. The dog ran out as a car passed, but when it reached the boundary, it went no further. The dog had been programmed to stay in its comfort zone.
Many of you are guilty of wearing a virtual shock collar at work and not fully expressing your personal brands. You run the risk of appearing the same as everyone else and not get noticed for that next great project or well-deserved promotion.
On occasion, assuming it's not going to be life-threatening or career limiting, you need to leap out of your comfort zone, or maybe just a gentle step will do.
Three things to step out of your personal brand comfort zone at work;
1. Bring a little more of your personality to work. Choose something that you are passionate about or that means a lot to you and add it to your desk, cubicle or office space. Perhaps a favourite picture, photo or desk ornament or a piece of sports memorabilia.
2. Consider adding a piece of jewelry or favourite coloured accessory and making it a regular part of your wardrobe. It does not all have to be navy and black.
3. Identify a skill or strength that you are well known for, that you have a reputation for delivering on consistently and mention it in your outgoing voicemail message. If you pride yourself on returning calls promptly, say so in your voicemail.
BUT if you are not good at getting back to people do not date your voicemail either!
What are you going to add to your work that expresses more of who you are and helps people notice your personal brand?