Day 6: Your Personal Brand [31 Days of Possibility]

by Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

Want to open up possibilities in exponential ways?

Elevate the time and attention you spend thinking about your Personal Brand and how you’re presenting your beautiful self to the world.

I’m not talking about logos or color palettes or taglines either, though depending on your goals and resources that’s certainly a route you may wish to take.

I’m talking about being truly aware of our Personal Brands, especially in the whip-fast, instinct-ridden, avatar-driven domain of the social realm, across our various networks.

In building and owning our Personal Brands, our number one job is twofold. We must:

1)   Project and protect our most authentic selves.

2)   Make it as easy as possible to attract to us the people, stories, ideas, energy, and opportunities we truly want in our lives.

In an alternate universe, this is the easiest thing we’ll ever do. In our universe, though, it’s a doozy. And yet, it’s essential, if we want to live boldly, freely, and passionately in POSSIBILITY.

YOU, INC.

In 1997, a man named Tom Peters wrote an article for Fast Company called “The Brand Called You,” a visionary piece that became a seminal manifesto in the branding world.

In that article (which definitely holds up over time!), he famously said that, “to be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Later in the article, as if holding a crystal ball, he described exactly what we’re living in 2013:

What’s the future of You?

It’s over. No more vertical. No more ladder. That’s not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.”

His instincts were spot on. No one sticks with an industry for 40 years anymore, let alone with one company. We’re in a constant state of reinvention, discovery, U-turns and crash-and-burns. Titles and bosses come and go, but our Personal Brands stick with us, for better or for worse, now more than ever before.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

The thing is, many of us try to water ourselves down, play it safe, stay “in the lines.” This isn’t always a bad idea. You don’t want to be the one who’s over-sharing about a boil on your body on a place where the sun don’t shine. (Unless of course, that’s the type of person you know you want to present to the world.) ;-)

Plenty of people don’t think the social realm is the place to truly be themselves, and that’s okay, too.

Just keep in mind social media and social networking have been around long enough now that our brains have officially adapted to using them quickly and efficiently. Like it or not, we make dozens of impulse decisions as we scroll through our Facebook friends and see the small squares of the people we have met and have yet to meet in person.

Many times, managing these vast networks of people and connections is nothing short of, well, CRAZY.

Even the most patient, conscientious, and contemplative of us are creating, consciously or unconsciously, shortcuts on how to communicate, process information, and maintain connections without losing our minds.

Let’s face it, most of us have friends, and we know who they are, who do nothing but post about when they’re sick, or when their car broke down, or how it’s going to rain or snow tomorrow. These may be lovely, wonderful people in real life, but online, because they may not be aware of their Personal Brands, they’re presenting themselves as Debbie Downers.

I’m not saying they’re doing it “wrong,” but sometimes I do just want to reach through the screen and hug them and hold them and gently and lovingly show them that maybe, just maybe, they might want to take note of other, more interesting, thoughtful, revealing, or creative things happening in their lives and share those things with their friends and connections instead.

But that’s just me.

So how do you boost your Personal Brand awareness?

Breathe, step back, and take a look at yourself through the eyes of your social networks. (They hold fascinating answers for you, especially if you’ve taken the “Observations Without Judgment” tip to heart.)

Then see for yourself:

-       What are you saying, and how are you saying it?

-       Who are you engaging with?

-       What types of conversations are you having?

-       Where is your little avatar being seen, and what groups, ideas, businesses, and communities is it being aligned with?

-       What types of subjects are you actively choosing to be associated with?

-       Who are your allies?

-       What are the organizations you’re supporting and recommending, drawn to and inspired by?

-       What stories do they tell about you?

Clues are everywhere in the form of Likes, social graphs, personalized search results, filter bubbles, news feeds, tagged photos, activity trails, and events, content, and connections that find their way to you.

Take all this in, then look at yourself online as if you’re a brand new, well, BRAND.

Who do you see? What are you about? Who ARE you, according to all this data, this content, this stuff?

If there are things you like, do more of that. Not in love with the whole picture? Shift your focus. Make different decisions. Go in the direction you want to go, and soon you’ll be playing in a different environment. Sure, you may still have things online that reflect a different version of you (as most of us do by now), but they’re way back on Page 37 of a Google search for your name, so what do you care? If someone is interested enough to probe that deeply, let them discover what they will. It’s part of your history, and anyone who doesn’t get that isn’t anyone worth their weight in carbon.

Please, though, I’m begging you, know and believe this:

Transparency and Vulnerability could be your Personal Brand’s greatest assets

So be interesting. Be yourself. Be aware of what you’re putting out there, and in essence, what you’re inviting back into your life.

I am a strong, passionate believer in the Law of Attraction and how what you focus on expands. All energetic evidence (and lots of spiritual schools of thought) points to the fact that what you put out into the world comes back to you in spades.

The technology of social media, the algorithms of the world we live in, truly support this philosophy.

If you want to open yourself up to interesting, remarkable, unimaginable possibilities, you simply have to pay attention to what you’re putting out into the world, tweak as necessary, and spread your vibe with singular confidence, commitment, and flair.

When it comes to building and amplifying Your Personal Brand, that will make all the difference.

And if all else fails, you can always subscribe to the Dr. Seuss school of Personal Branding:

 

Check out the video for Day 6 of the 31 Days of Possibility: Your Personal Brand!

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit@AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

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