Posted by: Christine Donovan | May 8, 2009

The Power of Your Personal Brand: Introduction

Last year, I posted this article at http://ezinearticles.com and thought it would be helpful here too.

But before I share it… let me give you a little background on personal branding:

A lot of exceptional people seem to play down, even hide their best qualities and talents.  That may be because they don’t want to appear self-promoting or egotistical.  But to succeed in life (Succeed in the sense of making a contribution, however we define that), it’s important to let the world know what we have to offer. 

Very often our most valuable personal assets are unknown to us as well as those around us, because it’s easy to take our best qualities for granted.  Sometimes it isn’t until we’ve spent time with someone who lacks those very qualities, that we see who we really are.

For example, I’ve known a couple of people in my life who – shall I say – have a little trouble telling the truth.  I always believed what they told me, because I didn’t know any other way to be. I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that some people actually lie. It wasn’t until I was burned a few times that I found out there are some bonafide dishonest people in the world. 

So learning about them made me see that one of my own qualities was truthfulness.  I never would have seen that as a virtue of mine if I hadn’t been around some untruthful people.  Conversely, these ethically-challenged individuals saw my blatant honesty as naiveté, and/or believed that no one could possibly be so honest all the time.  They assumed that I was the untruthful one.  Such is the power of paradigms.

My point is, often we aren’t aware of what we bring to the table until we encounter someone who lacks that thing we take for granted in ourselves.  If we have a knack for music, writing, or athletics for example, we may not recognize that we have a unique “talent,” but may assume it comes that easily to everybody. 

Enter the concept of personal brand.

Most people don’t give their brand much thought; “I am who I am,” you say.  “I don’t think I need a brand.  Plus, it sounds so phony.”

Au contraire.  Like it or not, you already have a brand, undoubtedly a strong brand. Your brand is what people say about you when you’ve left the room. Sometimes it’s accurate; often it’s not. That’s why it’s important that we pay attention to it.

If you have goals in your life, whether personal or professional, it’s crucial that you’re aware of how you are perceived.  Many people unconsciously give off messages that they aren’t aware of, but that others clearly pick up. Sometimes these messages are positive, but more often they are not. And if we expect others to trust us, do business with us, learn from us… it has to start with their perception of who we are.

Brand is not about being something you’re not, it’s about identifying your strengths and then consistently projecting them to others.  Most of us don’t take the time to do that, but if you are a small business owner, or if you’re climbing the corporate ladder, or if you are involved in community or church activities, or (in this economy), if you are looking for work or trying to hold on to your job, it makes sense that you want others to see the real you — your talents, strengths and the integrity that you bring to the table.

So I’m going to share my article, “The Power of your Personal Brand” in sections over the next couple of posts.

Look for the next one tomorrow (or go to http://ezinearticles.com if you just can’t wait!)

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