As I’ve been trawling through my client notes and research over recent days, one thing that really stood out for me is how important it is to make sure you take control of and manage your personal brand.
Does this thought make you cringe? Are you thinking… “but I’m an employee, that doesn’t apply to me”? Does the term make you think of those big-noting, braggy, self-promoters?
I’m so with you! I spent the majority of corporate career believing the quality of my work would speak for me. Surely it was obvious I was a valuable, smart, hard-working team member?
Unfortunately in the daily busy-ness of a workplace, your amazing work might get overlooked when the people around you don’t fully understand how you create value for the business.
Building a business brought me a new understanding of this concept. Unless I proactively talk about myself and communicate how I can help, no one will ever know about it, and my future success will be doomed.
You’re a “brand” whether you like it or not
Yep, it’s true. Even insisting you’re not a brand, is actually part of your brand.
So, if you don’t manage the messages about who you are, what you want and your unique value, then others will make up their own version. Letting this happen can limit your progress, keep you stuck somewhere you’re not happy or lead you into roles that aren’t the right fit.
And guess what? Proactively managing your personal brand is even more important if you’re feeling stuck or fed up or bored in your working life.
Well, because if you’re not aware of it, you’re probably not hiding the way you feel. Everyone around you knows and even if you’re talking about it with anyone, they know anyway from your behaviour and interaction with others.
It’s possible to reframe how you think about self-promotion when you move from trying to “pitch” yourself to focussing on how you can help and what impact you create.
Simple steps you can take to manage your personal brand
1. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR
Think of 3 things you want to be known for, regardless of what type of role or career you have or want or where you might move in the future. It might be your problem solving, people management or tech skills. It could be your optimistic outlook on life or your sense of humour. It might be your love of the outdoors, sport, travelling or up-cycled fashion. Whatever it is – choose 3 and start weaving them into every interaction you have, spoken or written. You want others to be clear you’re the “go to” person if they want to know about your topics of expertise or interest.
2. BECOME YOUR BIGGEST FAN AND SHARE LIKE YOU WANT TO GO VIRAL
Helen, this is no time to sit back and wait for others to validate your value. No one is assessing your work to the same extent you do. Believing in the value you create immediately makes it easier to talk about. When you’ve experienced something amazing – a good restaurant, book, Netflix show, travel destination etc – you can’t wait to tell others about it. You know what they’ll miss out on if you don’t tell them, right? So, if you can do something others will value, why keep it to yourself? How will others know how amazing you are if you don’t tell them?
3. BE INVESTED IN YOUR STORY, NOT THE OUTCOME
The ick factor associated with talking about yourself is often related to the fear of putting yourself out there and being turned down, ignored or cringe… receiving criticism or a bad review. And the fear is real, I get it. The thing is, you’re not going to be for everyone… and that’s ok. Take the pressure off and stop worrying about what might happen. You can’t control how your message will land. Get comfortable with knowing, in this moment, for reasons entirely unrelated to you, your value might not be understood or needed… that doesn’t make it any less valuable.
Taking the time to manage your personal brand so it reflects who you really are, is the best investment you can make boost yourself out of a career rut. Not sure where to start to get clear about your personal brand so you can position yourself for career success? I’d love to help you work this out.