Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a career professional, you’re a walking, talking personal brand. Your personal brand sums up your know-how, your style, and how people experience you. Think of it as a resume with a pulse... and maybe even a sense of humor.
When you consciously set out to reveal your personal brand, you embark on a journey of self-awareness. The more you understand yourself and what makes you tick, the better you can understand your personal brand and bring it to the forefront to build your business, grow trust, and advance your career.
The best way to define your personal brand is to reflect on some of life’s biggest questions- the types of questions you ask yourself when you’re thousands of miles from home on a secluded beach, holding the hand of a loved one, or on top of a mountain. You’re not just on a quest to make yourself look good professionally, you’re on a quest to understand all you are and all you’re capable of.
Start with these four questions. I suggest you write them down and refer to them as a personal credo.
1. What Are Your Values?
You operate under a code of beliefs: your values. These beliefs guide the decisions you make and what matters most to you. By sitting down and identifying your top 5-10 values, you’ll see how your character and personality are shaped by those.
Need ideas? Here are a few to get you started: integrity, honesty, advocacy, beauty, luxury, elegance, freedom, individualism, self-determination, community, togetherness, service, education, creativity, artistry, fairness, justice, equality, religion, spirituality, order, neatness, simplicity.
2. What’s Your Big Why?
This is where things get deep. You’ve taken a look under the hood by exploring your values. Now let’s see what’s really driving you. What’s the big reason fueling you in life? What’s your purpose? What’s your mission? Are you here to bring peace, love, and understanding? Are you here to poke holes through paradigms and get people to look at the world differently? Will you be the first to do or be something? What is your dream? Where do you feel called?
What’s liberating about this is you finally understand why sometimes you can work on something until midnight, without eating, without stopping… and not even feel like any time has gone by. Being connected to your Big Why can suspend time and space. And when you recognize what it is and how it works in your life, you can highlight it as part of what makes you unique… ie, your personal brand.
3. What’s Your Genius?
The dictionary defines genius as “exceptional intellectual or creative power or natural ability”. Whether you’re a member of MENSA or not, you have an element of genius in you. Think of the things that come easily and effortlessly to you. These are your natural strengths- the things that make up your genius. You may have a natural gift with people, children, animals, difficult situations, mathematical problems, logistical challenges, spatial relationships, making money, business, selling, marketing, language… the possibilities are endless. Look at your own skills and spot the things that come second nature to you. This is your genius zone.
4. Why Does It All Matter?
Take your values, your Big Why, and your genius and hold them up to the light. Why are these important, especially in the configuration in your life? Who could possibly benefit from this unique stew of skills and talents? What problems could this solve? How can you, equipped with this wondrous combination of genius, make an impact in your industry, job, company, or the world?
This is where you take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and acknowledge yourself for what you bring to the table. Go ahead and tell yourself you’re awesome, you have every right to!
A word of warning here: a personal brand is not an ego trip. You’re here to describe your unique genius and skills as a solution to a problem. That’s what you do. That’s who you are. That’s why you’re vital to your business, job, or industry.
By answering these four questions, you now have the flavor for your personal brand. From this point, you’ll build out by aligning this flavor with your skills, competency, visuals, content, and expertise. Based in your authenticity, your personal brand is now the calling card for your next big steps.
About the Author:
Nancy Marmolejo teaches entrepreneurs, leaders, and teams how to tap into their unique genius and use it to lead, communicate, and create more powerfully. Since 2003, Nancy’s business consulting has helped clients from around the world communicate more clearly, improve productivity, and develop compassionate leadership skills. She’s won numerous awards for her business and has been featured in Smart Money, Redbook, Latina Magazine, The Orange County Register, Univision , NPR and many more. She’s also the host of the top rated podcast, Itenco: Lessons For The Leading Edge. Find her at www.TalentAndGenius.com