leadership incorporated blog

February 16, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: What’s your personal brand?

This week I worked with a senior executive, a leader who realized that despite years of hard work, the people around her, including her CEO, have no real understanding of what she does. As a result, her job is at risk.

I hear every day from people in transition, who are competing for work with tens to hundreds to thousands of other applicants and who are frustrated that they can’t figure out how to stand out from the crowd.

Another of my clients is in the process of stepping into a new position, trying to figure out how to navigate the political territory successfully and survive in a leadership position in which others have failed.

There’s a powerful opportunity for each of the people above in the realm of personal brand.

Your personal brand is the mental real estate you own in other people’s minds. My friend Mary is the definition of grace. Everything Moira designs is exquisite. Gary is absolutely brilliant at connecting people. Etc. etc

How would your career be different if you could clearly communicate the contribution you make?

How would your search for work be impacted if you could stake out a unique and memorable position?

What might become possible in your life if others could know, beyond a doubt, who you are and what you stand for?

Would it surprise you to discover that you already have a personal brand? Chances are that you do. But it may not be working for you. And it may even be working against you.

Are you someone who people know they can depend on to get anything done? Are you the go-to-person on a particular topic? Do you inspire those around you? Are you a brainiac? The life of the party? Or…a flake who never follows through? A screamer? A wanna-be?

What are you known for? And how can you use it…or change it?

You may have heard buzz recently about personal brand. It’s becoming a popular topic. And as more and more people develop their brand, it will become more essential than ever that you do, too, if you want to be competitive.

I’ve worked with and taught branding—for both commercial and personal use—for almost 30 years. What I’ve learned is that the way you are perceived (your brand) is often more impactful and more predictive of what you can accomplish than anything else.

I have helped companies brand their way into market share and I have helped people brand their way into jobs.

If you become intentional about your brand, it can be an extremely useful tool in accomplishing your goals, whether you are leading an organization, taking your career to the next level, finding a job (or for that matter, even in finding the “right” mate.)

Here are 7 questions to ask yourself about your personal brand:

  1. What is the essence of who I am?
  2. What do I stand for?
  3. How are my words, thoughts, and actions expressing my personal brand?
  4. How are my words, thoughts, and actions NOT expressing my personal brand?
  5. How do others see me?
  6. What is the gap between the way people see me and the way I want to be seen?
  7. What needs to change for others to see me as I see myself?

This week, be aware of the impact of your brand on your life and work.

Let me know what you notice,

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