When I first heard the term “personal branding” some 15 years ago, my first thoughts were, “Gross, sounds like some egotistical, inwardly focused word vomit.”
Harsh, I know.
Of course, my second thought was, “Okay Al, that was mature, let’s give this a chance and learn about it first!” and I set off on a “mini journey” to discover what exactly WAS personal branding, what was its purpose, its worth and power.
Over the years, my idea of a personal brand has matured, it’s aged, and I feel like I’ve truly found the real power behind it—and that’s found in your life’s purpose.
To me, a personal brand tells who you are, what you’re about, where you’re going, and WHY you do what you do.
It’s more than a superficial, “Look at me, I’m mister hot shot!” It’s an outward representation of your inner thoughts and values.
Surely you’ve heard some wizardly hippie say things like, “You must be authentic, you must be your true self,” and even if he’s correct, it raises the immediate question, “How do I know when I’m being authentic?”
When you’ve taken the time to understand the WHY behind your existence, you can answer that question. When you understand your personal brand and have taken the time to define it, you can use it as your North Star when faced with difficult decisions.
As your personal brand matures, you’ll notice it often becomes one sole word—and often it’s a word your clients or fans use to describe you.
Does that mean that the only thing Gary does is hustle? No, he has a real business to run and he does “real business stuff,” but everywhere he goes he brings his personal brand—the ultimate hustler—with him. He eats, breathes, and sleeps HUSTLE, and has played a major role in the popularity of the buzzword.
So what’s YOUR personal brand?
What do you want to be known for?
What’s your mission, your purpose?
Why do you do what you do?
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
“But what if I’m just an employee, or I don’t actually sell anything?”
THAT’S OKAY! Your personal brand is your way to sculpt WHO you are, no matter what you do. Even if you’re an employee, if you’ve taken the time to identify your overriding why and defined how you want to live your life and what you stand for, it’ll show and it’ll follow you everywhere you go.
A Word Of Caution
The power of personal branding works whether you put the effort into it or not. You have, up until this very second, created a personal brand, built up who you are in the eyes of the world. Unfortunately, when things are left to their own devices, they often end up less than ideal—and flawed.
Think of it this way… Have you ever known a friend who was in a crummy relationship, split up only to end up in another relationship that seemed almost equally crummy? And then again, and again, and again? What’s the problem here? Bad luck? Bad choices? Or have they unknowingly created a crummy personal brand, and they take themselves everywhere they go?
At DYPB, our mission is to help you consciously discover your WHY in life, discover your personal brand and sculpt it the way YOU want it.
A Personal Example
I invested over a decade of my life in the health and fitness industry, specializing in weight loss. When I first got into that industry, I looked around at what was going, I noticed how much absolute GARBAGE the diet industry was pumping out, and made a promise to myself that I’d never tell a client what they wanted to hear “just because,” but rather I’d tell them what they NEEDED to hear. My personal brand was very clear: to tell it like it is, without sugar coating, in order to best serve my clients.
Over the years, knowing what my personal brand was and the value of ultimate honesty has pulled me through many tough times, times when I made decisions to lose significant financial gain because I knew the product was short term focused and not in the best interest of my clients, times when I was face to face with an obese prospect who I just couldn’t convince that they needed to lose weight and I made the decision to tell them that if they didn’t lose weight they would be robbing their children of the joy of chasing their parent around the house endlessly, and going on roller coasters, and an overall long and healthy life.
Does that sound harsh? Perhaps. And there were times when I wanted to take the easy road, to let them off the hook, to let myself off the hook, but it’s my personal brand, it’s understanding the WHY behind my life, that guided me to the RIGHT decision.
I know, this all sounds great and inspirational, but does it really work? I mean, so it makes a tough decision here and there a bit easier, seems like a waste of effort, doesn’t it? Not at all.
In fact, I over the 13 years running my studio I can confidently say it correlated to over half a million dollars in sales. As my brand grew, people would come to me—folks I’ve never met before—and say, “I heard you’re not going to kid me, you’ll kick me in the butt when I need it and hold my hand when it matters and get me to my goal.”
That’s not wishy-washy, that’s not mythical garbage, that’s not luck. That’s a specific positive position I worked to establish for myself in the marketplace that’s paid off time and time again.
Is it easy? No.
Is it fast? No.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
If you’re wondering to yourself, “What is my personal brand,” or thinking you have one but haven’t been able to monetize it, I strongly encourage you to join us for one of our DYPB events, like our Deep Dive Workshops, our LinkedIn Locals, or our Panel Events, or you can call us in for In-House Training for close-up and customized help.
You can take a look at the details HERE.
To your success,
PS – One last thought… If you are an employee, your personal brand is far more powerful than you might realize. More and more these days, employers are ditching the old “send me your resume” approach and instead taking their search to social media and checking out WHO you are. You only have one life, don’t leave your personal brand to chance. Join us at DYPB and sculpt your ideal Personal Brand.
CEO RYS Group
The Blais family enjoying the views at Lake Tahoe.
RYS Group Inc.
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