Everyone has a personal brand, whether you want one or not. It is defined by everything you do, from what you wear to how you treat people, from how you compose emails to the type of car that you’re driving. Let me explain what I’ve learned along the way about personal branding.
It´s already inside of you
For quite a while I was associating creating a personal brand with making pictures of yourself. I thought about the pretty people on Instagram who seem to be creating an online persona outside of themselves. To me it sounded fake, robotic and completely unauthentic. Because of that, it never really attracted me to think about one myself – nor did I think I may had one already.
But that was until I discovered what personal branding actually means and that personal branding should be all about having a closer look on the things that you desire, love to do and feel inspired by. I came to see that building a personal brand is more about highlighting what’s already inside of you, and bring that special thing out to serve yourself and the people around you.
By discovering my own lane, I found a note in what I call my thought book. It’s a little book that I keep with me everywhere I go and it’s something that helps me structuring the thoughts and ideas that I have. I really enjoy writing in it, but I also refuse to call it a diary because otherwise I feel obliged to write in it every day. And I definitely like to feel free to write whenever I want, and not just for the sake of it. I wrote:
“The most fascinating thing in the world is why people do what they do. What moves them and how you can help them create a better life.”Tweet
From everything that I have written I think this note describes best what drives me the most and explains most why I like my work so much. Although I was only sixteen years old when writing, I basically had already written down the starting point of my personal brand… but wasn’t aware of it yet.
I now realize that a lot of the choices that I made in my life from that moment on were all based around that same desire. From choosing my studies to reading certain books, watching certain films, having certain conversations or picking topics for this blog. All of the things that I did and loved to do were connected around that same desire to understand people and to come up with ideas to change their lives for the better too.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”Tweet
– Jeff Bezos
It’s inside Oprah
I clearly found out something about myself that helped me add a focus to my career. But there are people who already created one of the strongest, global personal brands, without even being aware of it.
Oprah Winfrey may be a great example of that. Her realization of being a brand came when she once bumped into a woman in a super market. This woman told Winfrey that watching her show had convinced her to stop beating her child.
On the QuickBooks Connect 2015 conference Oprah told the audience that the first time this woman listened to one of Winfrey’s lectures on abuse, her reaction was one of denial.
Although the woman listened to the show, she still didn’t got why Oprah was the one to talk about this subject. She was like, “what did Winfrey actually know about how to discipline children, since she didn’t have kids herself?”
But by the third time the woman listened to Winfrey, she told her that she decided to try not to hit her child for a week. Then she tried it for another week. Then she stopped hitting her child for good.
She told Winfrey: “You were consistent.”
Hearing that, the concept of branding clicked for the talk show host. “That to me is the definition of what a brand is,” Oprah said. “That’s when I shifted.”
Both stories are examples of the possibility to grow a personal brand, or already have one, while you don’t want or know it yet. It’s fascinating to me that it’s possible to have your own brand without even knowing it or wanting it.
Personal brands capture your talents, your values, and the way you serve other people. The brand is not only about you, but it’s about you being in service. If you want the brand work for you, it’s your job to make clear where you stand and what other people can expect from you.
It’s about imagining the person or professional that you want to be or to become and living through. Therefore, the success of the brand depends largely on how consistent you are in bringing a certain promise to a persons life. Consistency is needed to gain a certain level of trust with the people you’re trying to serve. Sometimes that already happens, and sometimes it helps to become aware of the things that you like to bring in order to serve.
And being consistent with whatever it is you’re bringing: whether its joy, expertise or adventure… always goes hand in hand with authenticity as well. For example, never put me in a reality show, a spell show or never ask me to work for the paparazzi. It’s not by any means in line with who I am as a person and what I would like to bring to the world. Those things are not things I like, are not something that I stand by or what I would be good in. And because of that I wouldn’t be able to serve those jobs in a consistent way.
I believe that if you love what you do, you’re more likely in succeeding. Our real job in life is to figure out what it is that we are called to do, so that we can act upon it. Finding out how you want to spend your time enables you to make better choices in life and helps you create the life that you want.
It’s not about putting out an unrealistic version of yourself, because that makes the brand inconsistent soon. But personal branding is about how consistent you are with who you really are, what you want to bring to the world and how you align your choices in life with what really is inside of you. You will be fueled by the energy of your work.
Your mindset first, your actions second
As author Sylvester Mcnutt lll has written, everything in life starts with your mindset first, followed by your actions. Your choices follow your thoughts, your beliefs, your desires, your values and ideas. And while you are not always aware about your mindset, it can drive your actions both consciously and subconsciously.
Therefore, you may not know yet what’s inside of you or who you are, but it’s very likely that you are already subconsciously acting consistently with values that you find important.
In my case, I found my drive by checking in with myself. I discovered that my choices in life were subconsciously connected.
Finding that out for myself, allowed me to add a focus to my career. I now knew why blogging felt so good. It just works for me as the perfect outlet to write and talk about the things that I love – which is telling stories and creating ideas to enrich peoples lives so that they can create the life that they want.
I knew it was my lane and the right thing to do because it felt so good that I wanted to spend every hour of my spare time to it. I wanted to do it so badly, that I wanted to do it for nothing. As long as I found a way to do it.
So that’s why everyone has a personal brand. I mean, the combination of skills, values, desires and talents that we have influence our actions conscious or subconsciously – and make us all perfectly unique.
For example: treating everyone equally. That value makes you – you, because that’s what we are used to get from you.
Or maybe you’re very passionate about climate change and you’re very skilled in that.
It depends on how you bring your decisions and actions in line with those inner values and intentions consistently.
So because we all have things that makes us special, everyone has the potential to have a personal brand – even when you already are or maybe not yet aware of it.
Those people who let their hearts speak and align their life around what’s important to them in every aspect of their life – start to live their life from the right place. They are persistent with their talents and values, they know what makes them unique and what they can do best and they are consistent with what they want to tell to the world.
Those people are the ones that are already living and having the brand. They have their own lanes – even when they don’t know it yet. For many people it can take a while before finding “it”, but we all have things that makes us special. You only have to recognize it, embrace it and live by it.
I came to conclude that finding what you’re truly passionate about enables you to arc your own path and create the life that you want. To me, blogging not only works for me as a perfect outlet to talk about the things that I love. But it also allows me to add a focus to my career so that I can do more of it too.
I’m thrilled to hear what you already found out about yourself. Let me know in the comment section below!
I’ve written more about Personal Branding. Head over to these blogs: