PERSONAL AWARENESS – THE BASIS OF A SUSTAINABLE PERSONAL BRANDING
I recently read a story which made a big impact on me: a woman dies and
goes to heaven. At the entrance gate of heaven she hears a Voice.
“Who are you?” asked the Voice.
“I am the mayor’s wife” answered the woman confidently.
” I haven’t asked you whose wife you were” said the Voice ” I asked who You were”.
” I am the mother of 2 beautiful children”said the woman.
“I haven’t asked you whose mother you were, but who YOU are” answered the Voice.
“I am a manager in a big company, I manage a big team of people”.
“I haven’t asked you what your job was” – said the Voice again – “but who YOU were!”.
And the conversation went on in the same way. Anything the woman said was quickly dismissed by the
Voice, because she didn’t answer the real question “WHO ARE YOU?”So the woman’s spirit was sent back to Earth. When she woke up, the woman took upon herself to find out who she TRULY was, what defined her as a human being. And doing this, her entire life changed, and the life of those around her.
I know many young people working in fast-moving and complex industries, such as the Outsourcing industry who are eager to create their personal brand and differentiate themselves on a highly competitive business market. But what most of us don’t realize is that all of us already have a personal brand, whether we are aware of it or not – whether we like it or not! And that every little thing we do and say every day creates and promotes our brand to the larger public.
Since Personal Branding is supposed to be about consciously promoting people and their careers as brands and defining success in terms of self-packaging, the first and most important step in creating our
personal brand begins with a powerful PROCESS OF SELF-DISCOVERY AND SELF-AWARENESS. It is the solid foundation based on which you can build a truly powerful and unique personal brand. What do you like most and what you don’t like to do? What are you passionate about? What do you see yourself doing and enjoying 10 years from now? The most important thing here is to be honest with yourself and about yourself.
DEFINE WHO YOU ARE AND YOUR UNIQUE ABILITIES: Try to define yourself in a single, powerful concept. For example, I have a friend who defines himself as a “project management expert who always completes projects on time and under budget.”
QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF:
“What do I love to do?” “What do I do better than others?” “What do I see myself doing for the rest of my life?” “What other things do I still need to learn or do to reach my potential?”
UNDERSTAND OTHER PEOPLE’S PERCEPTIONS OF YOU: What do other people know about you and what you can do? If you can’t undergo a formal 360 assessment, go out there and ask your friends, family, teachers, neighbors, colleagues, managers, to tell you about yourself. Take the time to speak with many different people to understand how they perceive your strengths and then use this information as you create your personal brand.
QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK OTHERS:
“What are my abilities?” “What am I good at?” ” If you were to recommend my work, what would you say about it?” “During the time spent together working on that project, what did you notice about me, about my abilities?” “What should I do even better?” ” What else do I need to
DELIVER YOUR BRAND TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. Your brand should be a unique promise of value you can bring to other people, based on your abilities and their needs. An important thing to remember here is that today, even more than 50 years ago when it was first said by Marshall Mcluhan ,the medium is the message!
The difference is made by the rise of SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES that have made branding not only more personal, but within easy reach.
After discovering and creating your personal brand, use the following tools to highlight your brand and allow people to easily view what you’re about:
- Professional business cards: try to make them original !
- Resume/intention letter/reference documents: make sure they are up-to-date
- Portfolio showcasing your work: always include your finest work
- Blog or website: keep it up to date, or don’t keep it at all
- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter profile: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU POST!
- Wardrobe and appearance in general
- Email address: be professional, firstname.lastname@example.org was funny in high school, but not in the business environment
- Presence to industry conferences, seminars, trainings: remember to do as much networking as possible.
So to help you discover your true self and have a clear answer when your “Voice” asks you “WHO ARE YOU?” I’d like to propose you a little test: take out a piece of paper and write on it what are the 3 words you would like people to say about you after they have dealt with you. Those 3 words are YOUR BRAND. Put that piece of paper in your wallet and when you reach out for your IDs, credit cards, etc and see those 3 little words ask yourself: ” Have I been true to my brand today?”
Personal branding isn’t easy, but thinking through your unique strengths, your career goals and aspirations and how you want others to perceive you ,can have dramatically positive results.
Author : Carmen Serbanoiu , Senior Trainer and Coach and Outsourcing Advisors Contributor