Personal Branding: Solidify Through Stories

Your personal brand begins with reflection. You sense ideas of your brilliance.

Now, you need to make them come alive. If you are an “analytical” accountant, well, so is every other accountant. So exactly what was your process or insight that allowed you to do that great work? Dig around for words, dig around for stories, especially. Share those stories. Others may not remember your direct strengths, but they will relay a good story about you.

This is Zoe's story
This is Zoe’s story

These stories are data points. They weave together to build your narrative, and as John Hagel so eloquently explains, your personal narrative is never finished, it unfolds and builds as you age. Just like your brand promise does.

Once your personal brand is established, you can ask for more. You can ask for the better work, the work that takes fullest advantage of your brand. If you do not get it, you can ask directly why. You have a shared agreement that you are the best ABC in the company, so why were you not involved? The brand – your ABC – has developed to such an extent that it becomes a thing, external to yourself.

In this really excellent write up of OfficeSpeak, Emma Green quotes

Arlie Hochschild, a Berkeley sociologist and author of books like The Second Shift and The Managed Heart, [on] how personal branding changes the way workers see themselves.

“It gets you to focus on how you seem to others, that you come alive only as you are seen externally,” she said. “It draws attention to your feelings toward your external self, and draws attention away from your internal self.”

Here I disagree, if the developmental basis of your personal brand is reflection, and the outcome is the flowering of your own majesty. Yes, your brand becomes an external, independent thing, but it is an authentic promise.

It is possible, though tricky. Most people I know find it tough to talk about their inner genius without feeling guilty or show off-y. It seems pompous, egotistical. Therefore, externalizing that genius to a thing is often an easier process to undertake.

This is the genesis of the TMWK personal branding program. Leveraging labels of archetypes, colours, animals et al creates an objective version of YOU! If you are a tiger because you feel brave, and you have a great story that illustrates that; and I, in turn, need someone to be brave for my company/team, then suddenly, you have my full attention.

You have made a brand promise, and I will hold you accountable for that. Such an approach is much more powerful than saying “I am analytical.” Fo’ sure.

First, we reflect. Then, we share stories and externalize. Next, we get lucky! That’s tomorrow.

←This Much We Know.→


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