How to create your personal brand from who you really are
In the leadership development world, there is a lot of talk about what a personal brand is and what it is not.
Is personal branding cosmetic fluff? Is it a fad? Do I need one? Do I have one? What is a personal brand?
As a professional leadership coach by way of brand strategy and design, I want to give you my perspective. I believe everyone has a unique individual power to make an impact in the world. If you want to call that a personal brand, go ahead. If you want to call it your life‘s purpose, I think that fits better.
I believe that personal branding is the combination of your life‘s purpose and how to share that purpose. It’s 80% mindset, 20% brand strategy.
A successful personal brand is seen and felt (and remembered) by others in who you are being, how you show up in the world. It’s your work, and approach. It’s how you get into action and create the impact that you want to have.
80% mindset + 20% brand strategy = Life Purpose = Personal Brand
Here’s the cool thing about having a life purpose (aka: a personal brand) it is 100% unique and authentic to you. When you find your purpose, and I’m going to share the 3 tools I use with my clients to find their purpose, the rest is brand strategy and action.
The term “personal brand” has been around for 20+ years and was originally used by Tom Peters in 1997 in an article for Fast Company. It’s an interesting read. Personal brand development today has changed, but we get the jist of what it takes to develop a “Brand Called You”
“If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.” –Tom Peters
I don’t think we need to shamelessly take credit for the work we do, in fact, it’s in the sharing, not shaming, that leadership is born.
And leadership development from a place of purpose and impact is all the more important today because social media plays such a vital role in our lives. People are influencing our thinking, purchasing, and values, we need to choose our leaders wisely.
Use Leadership Tools to find and create your Personal Brand Commitment
When brand strategists create a brand, we start from the inside out, we start at the heart of the brand and move towards strategy. Starting with strategy (the cosmetic fluff) is a sure-fire way to create a vanilla and inauthentic personal brand.
Often, when looking for a quick-fix or short-term gain, personal brand strategists skip straight to the strategy, the “how to get it done”, which pulls from how others have done it…yet lacks the commitment and purpose that you need to build the 80% mindset of a true leader.
Anyone can learn how to execute the best ad campaign out there; it’s only a success if people connect with you, care about what you are sharing, and in turn, share your message with others.
I call the heart of a brand a Brand Commitment. In business speak, this is the Unique Selling Point or Mission Statement. In personal branding terms, we soften it up to make a true human experience and connection.
Definition of a Personal Brand Commitment:
“Your Personal Brand Commitment is the declaration you make every day that is in alignment with who you are and the impact you want to make in the world.”– Lisa Guillot
Let’s break down what that means.
“Your personal brand commitment is the declaration you make every day.”
To declare something means you have made a positive and explicit statement and you are sharing this statement with others every day.
“This is in alignment with who you are.”
How you show up, the energy, stamina, leadership qualities you bring into a room is who you are. Who you are being is your mindset.
Ever notice how when you wake up tired your entire day is blown? You are tired, grumpy, easily distracted, overwhelmed, busy, unable to catch up and by the end of the day and just throw your hands up in the air and say ‘Well I’m gonna write that one off.”
That’s your mindset. Sure everybody has bad night sleep, I have kids, I know. When you wake up you have a choice to be grumpy and declare that you’re tired or what’s another way to be? Say to yourself, “Well shoot, I got less sleep than I intended, but today I’m going to approach the day with curiosity, I’m going to listen and reflect to what the world has to offer.”
This is an entirely different way to be versus the default of tired and grumpy.
Here’s the catch: most people live their lives by default. Most people don’t think they have a choice for something as simple as being tired and grumpy or curious and reflective.
Finding what you believe in, what lights you up, what is going to pop you out of bed to make a big impact in your career, business culture, society, family, you name it, this is 80% of our work.
Let’s take a look at the tail end of this branding statement “And the impact you want to make in the world.”
I truly believe that you are here for a purpose and it’s no accident. The impact that you want to make is special and is a gift to your clients, colleagues and those most important to you. If your hiding behind being tired or stressed out (stress is a beautiful place to hide your amazingness) or being shy or humble or whatever other excuses we often throw in the way of us getting out there and playing big, these are just EXCUSES, and ready for the mindset twister? Your excuses are FEAR based.
If you are not sharing your life purpose and personal brand you are literally robbing the world of the gifts that you have and we need.
The impact, the declaration, and your mindset are going to lead your personal brand experience and ultimately your future thought leadership. Your leadership is based on the mindset that you have and how that shows up. This is your authenticity, this is your secret sauce, this is YOU.
In professional services, this is what people hire you for because they want to be around you.
Now that I’ve painted a picture for the ingredients go into building personal brand commitment, the next question is how do you share it? This is the 20% strategy…which I’ll share with you soon.