career advice, career management, Careers, entrepreneurs, leadership, personal brand management, Personal Branding

A Personal Branding Lesson from Andrew Cuomo: Stand Up and Stand Out

Mary Rosenbaum | June 29th, 2011

I felt compelled to write this piece because of the events that took place last Friday. Andrew Cuomo did what so many before him were afraid to do. He stood up for what he believed in, went against his party’s and his church’s policies. He defined his vision for the world and his purpose in enacting that vision. He saw a world where everyone had an equal right to legally and publicly declare their commitment and love to another human being regardless of sex, age, race, background, or religion. And he put himself on the line to help enact that vision. Strong brands take a stand, and he certainly did. This is not a post on same sex marriage. It is a post on how to authentically demonstrate your personal brand.

Andrew Cuomo defined his character, his values, and his vision and used his strengths as a strategist, negotiator, politician, relationship builder, and persuader, to achieve his success. His personal brand was visible to all who followed his activities or read about them after the fact.

Personal branding is all about standing out for what you believe in – for being authentic and making a difference. One of the aspects of gaining clarity of your personal brand is being able to articulate your vision for the world and your purpose in enacting that vision.

I know that sounds very heady for most people. Not all of us have the ability to do what Cuomo did and on that high a scale. For the rest of us, our purpose in enacting our vision may be as small a gesture as helping an aged neighbor do a food shop, persuading others of the need to contribute to charities that touch our heart and soul, helping friends in need by connecting them with those who can help, or reaching across communities to help break down economic, racial, and religious prejudices.

By enacting our vision we show our character, our values and define our purpose. At the same time we use our strengths, talents and abilities in executing our purpose. This is not about creating a personal brand, it’s about authentically demonstrating what it is and who you are.

It is difficult to define our vision for the world. When I ask clients they usually come up with some generalities like “peace for the world”. And then have a hard time relating to how they can affect any change. World peace is great, but it has to start at home.

An example of that might be volunteering to work with opposing groups (religious, cultural, economic) to create collaborative situations or mentor/coach similar constituencies by empowering them to create better opportunities that promote harmony and community rather than disenfranchisement.

At work this might translate into creating collaborative work situations aligning people on shared values and goals rather than focusing on self promotion. Building community is the first step to achieving peace.

A great exercise to help you uncover your vision and purpose would be to ask yourself these questions:

1. What do I care most deeply about?

2. Why do I care about it – how does it impact me or those around me?

3. How would it impact others if I could change my world to reflect this?

4. How can I bring this down to earth on a daily basis in a way that demonstrates my belief?

5. Is this something I can bring to work with me every day?

6. What do I want to be known for?

7. How do I want to be remembered?

A deeper understanding of your character, values, vision and purpose enables you to set achievable goals that satisfy your needs professionally and personally.  Living your purpose makes you happy and fulfilled – it gives you joy.

Do you have other ways to identify your vision and purpose? Please share them with us.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

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