Building your personal brand
Authenticity is most key to building a sustainable brand for yourself.
Social media is inundated with posts – individuals sharing pictures: kodak moments of happiness, points of view. All blessed and beautiful, believing they are building their profile and enhancing their personal brand quotient. If the task of building one’s brand were to be as simple, we’d have an online stock exchange with a value attached to each of these posts or individuals.
Building your personal brand is actually a lot more strategic and intentful than that. It is least about what you do, how you do it or where you do it. It is about who you are, what you are, how, when and where you showcase it. It is a combination of how you create this presence in a live environment and take that forward into the virtual world, reinforcing your personal message and positioning. It is a journey, a long one at that and needs deep commitment and authenticity.
Authenticity is most key to building a sustainable brand for yourself. The ‘Authentic Self’ simply means the true you, where your image is aligned to your values, beliefs, values, goals, and stature. Like most words, this powerful gem is misused often to represent the 10th of the iceberg and opposed to the 90% that is deep within. It is, therefore, imperative you draw out your true drivers and personal attributes from within. This is the first and probably the most important step in building your personal brand. The rest is only about using existing tools to showcase who you really are.
In his book “Authentic Happiness”, Martin Seligman who pioneered the concept of Positive Psychology, showcases 24 inner strengths that can help identify the true self and embark on a journey to being authentic. This compliments the popular Gallup Strength Finder used extensively in the Corporate world. A study of www.authentichappiness.org will take you on a wonderful journey to identifying your authentic self.
The second step of the journey is challenging because here we have to walk the talk. As Malcolm Forbes put it, the Authentic Self might be significantly different from what we portray in the real world, caught as we are in responding to cultural and social requirements, keeping up our peers or the Jonses’. A paper and a pen come in penning down the gaps and positions us to be able to fill the gaps and recreate ourselves, our behavior, our pattern to portray the true self.
The third step is to continuously work on bringing the authentic self to the fore, in whatever you do. You own your story and that should stay consistent in whatever you do. As the adage goes, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Your behavior becomes a reflection of who you truly are, your values, your attributes.
The last step is to then the easiest one - showcase who you are on various platforms – Social gatherings, public appearances, your website if you create one, social media, your personal blogs and expression of opinion to others’ public posts. While in the company, let your eyes speak – a reflection of who you are, saying much more than your words or voice will ever will.
As Etta Turner in her youthful wisdom said, “In a World where you can be anything, be yourself”.