The year 2011 was a year when the term personal branding became a familiar term used by many. That’s not to say that it means the same thing to everyone, but there is general consensus that it has something to do with how you are known.
Although personal branding includes the many components that go into who you are, the reality is that who you are changes with time and with experience. How your personal brand is impacted (voluntarily or involuntarily) directly affects your career and/or business. At the same time, the trajectory of your career has a direct impact on your personal brand. Yes, there is a symbiotic relationship between the two.
Here are some things you can do to keep your career moving forward while adding to and strengthening your arsenal of skills and talents that comprise your personal brand.
1. Bring Out the Child in You – Stay Curious and Be Open to New Ideas
“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” Sam Levenson
New information enables you to be more flexible and innovative, both key words in staying competitive and moving ahead in business today. Rather than let your usual filter be based on experience and “the way things have always been done”, be open to allow for creativity and innovation to seep into your work and your life.
Keep learning and growing, take courses, read books and articles, attend lectures, listen to colleagues and let new ideas take you in new directions. Nothing in business is forever anymore (where are all those mortgage backed securities brokers today?). Grow your personal brand by increasing your experiences and expanding your capabilities.
2. Make Goal Setting a Priority
“In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” Author Unknown
Accidental success is rare. Goals create a road map that helps you manage your career and strengthen your personal brand. By identifying your goals you can better address what you need to attain them –education, greater visibility, improved communication, more or different experiences. Goals provide structure and create a purposeful plan for you to build your career.
Break your long-term goal in manageable, bite-size steps. This way your goals become less overwhelming and more attainable.
3. Understand Your Unique Promise of Value – What’s in it for Them
“Understanding brings control.” Bonewitz
When you know the value you provide to your organization and/or your clients you can more effectively focus on strengthening those skills and talents that make you stand out. Strong personal brands are known for something – not for many things. Knowing your value allows you to magnify its intensity.
Additionally, understanding your value provides you with the leverage you need when evaluating future opportunities and negotiating compensation or fees.
4. Mind Your Character and Your Reputation – It’s all about Your Personal Brand
“A man’s reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is.” Author Unknown
Critical components of your personal brand are your values. Your values are as unique as your fingerprints; they define your character. Once you are clear on what your values are they become your own personal litmus test of what you want, how you want to live, who you want to be with, work with, and what you want to do. When you live your values you are in equilibrium, you are authentic to who you are – the world is great.
Your reputation is based on how others view you. Your reputation consists of not only your values, but includes how you do you work and how you interact with others. It’s the memory people have of their experience of working and spending time with you. As we all know, your reputation is fragile and is often synonymous with your personal brand. Doing your best work each and every time will ensure that you maintain the reputation you want and deserve.
So bring all of who you are to everything you do and you will be living your values and strengthening your personal brand.
5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone – Say Yes to New Opportunities
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison
Take more risks. Getting comfortable in your career may sound desirable but it’s a sure way to close off opportunities that might propel you forward quicker and in new directions. Greater exposure to new experiences enhances what you do and/or the service you deliver, adding another dimension to your personal brand.
No Pain, No Gain. Just choose wisely which risks you take. Always keep your goals front and center and know well which consequences are acceptable in the event of failure.
Stay curious, be bold, take risks – and move forward with purpose and confidence. You already have a personal brand. The idea is to make sure it’s the one you want and the one you need to get ahead.
INVEST IN YOUR CAREER: Enroll in Personal Branding Boot Camp taking place on February 4 and LEARN HOW TO STAND OUT – but for all the right reasons.
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