Everybody has a brand, whether they know it or not. Your job, if you are curious at all, is to get to know what yours is and how to use it authentically and effectively.
Madonna. Oprah. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. These are people who not only “do” their jobs, they are their jobs. They epitomize their field and exercise their talents in an unforgettable, influential and iconic fashion. Their lives and their work are so aligned that is nearly impossible to separate “who they are” from “what they do”. The mere mention of their names immediately calls their brands to mind.
Is this true of you and what you do? Do your clients, friends, etc. have a vivid understanding of who you are? Picture this: You name is mentioned in passing as a networking meeting, and a client of yours instantly says, “Of course I know Betsy. She is my ‘go-to’ person for insurance. She’s reliable, precise and works at my pace. If I give her a problem, it is handled!”
Ideally, your personal brand is as powerful and as clear as Betsy’s. It comes to mind whenever other people think of you. Your brand is also a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual demonstration and manifestation of your life purpose, which you might think of as the mega message and overarching them by which you live. Immutable and enduring, your life purpose would be the driving force behind every significant thing that you do in your life and give absolute and complete meaning to it. It is the foundation upon which all of your success depends and its fulfillment is imperative for your happiness. It is what you literally stand for – the values and actions that others associate with you. (Don’t let these lofty words intimidate you… my life purpose is service – simple – yet describes me).
While your life purpose is your internal agenda and is “why” you do the things you do, your personal brand is “what” it look like to the outside world. Take Oprah, for example. Although she hasn’t personally shared this with me, I’d surmise that her life purpose has something to do with healing and contribution. Oprah’s brand is demonstrated in her charity work, magazine, television show and other enterprises – every single thing she does relates to healing and contribution.
Think of your personal brand as the promise of the value people will receive by spending time with you. It tells people what they can expect from you.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “My brand isn’t that clear; what do I do?” or “I didn’t even know that I should have a brand. How do I start?” Don’t worry, you already have a brand. A personal brand isn’t something you go out and get; it is something you inherently are. Your friends, colleagues and family already know your personal brand just by knowing you. But if you want to hone your brand and bring it in better alignment with your purpose in life, here are a few things to consider:
- Define it. To convey your brand, you need to be able to articulate it. Be precise, polished and passionate about it. It should be so clear that, without your whispering a word, someone can tell you exactly what your brand it. Think bill Gates.
- Be authentic. Your brand is your unique fingerprint. Within a herd zebras look identical, when in fact, no two zebras are alike. Ditto for you. You just have to be who are already are.
- Leverage yourself. Your brand should be woven into every action, every product, every service, every day. No exceptions.
- Strive for progress, not perfection. Your brand will evolve as you do; it is not a stagnant “thing”, but an alive and growing expression of who are. As you evolve on the inside through personal inner work, your brand will be reflected on the outside.
- Own it! Every aspect of your life should be in alignment with your brand. Example: If you are an administrator, here had best be no typos in your resume….. (really, I am not an administrator… thus… errors…. Also put there for you to find them… kinda like a scavenger hunt).
Don’t make this hard…. I am a healer… simple… who are you?
Right now, this “healer” needs some coffee to “heal” some lethargy….