- Testimonials/Case Studies
Do you know the difference between showing your passion to the world versus just being emotional and perhaps, irrational? It’s a concept we don’t stop and think about often, especially with respect to personal brand management. We speak so much about making sure your work product is firmly grounded in your passion and purpose, we leave out HOW best to EXPRESS this passion you have.
This very concept came up for me last week. I was working with a client on how to prepare her best for negotiating a bigger chunk of the ownership of a company she currently co-owns with 2 other people. The snag is that the other two owners are men. She was lamenting that it is often difficult for her to communicate her passion for their wildly successful business without getting emotional. She feared that her emotion would be mistaken for uncontrolled emotion, perhaps.
As women, we tend to process emotions and feelings very differently than our male counterparts obviously. In business, this is often misinterpreted as women being “weak”, “overly emotional” and yes, even “erratic and out of control”.
The truth is none of these poor personal brand labels have to apply. In the case of my client, they are certainly not true. In fact, my client is anything but these labels. She is very clear about her worth and her passion for the business she co-owns. Now she just wants to convey that to her partners because she feels she deserves more equity.
The most important way to make sure your emotions don’t get misinterpreted with your passion, resulting in a negative personal brand perception is to:
1) be clear about your intentions- are you passionate about your work?
2) know how does your passion show up in your personal brand?
3) make sure you communicate your passion with emotion, but not with such overpowering emotion that you look out of control as a personal brand.
I always remind clients that being grateful, appreciating your life, clients and support system and- letting them all know your gratitude is where it is at! I cannot stress the importance of being grateful, and showing gratitude, as part of your strong personal brand.
So I’d like to take a minute and express my gratitude for all the readers of my blog, all of our clients, friends and family and for anyone who has crossed our path. You have all contributed deeply to my work and business and life. For this, I thank you.
Please always remember that every encounter you have with another person is an opportunity to let your personal brand shine, teach and learn from one another.
I see lots of personal brands fail for a very simple reason: people tend to be competitive instead of collaborative. Period. End of story. While this may seem silly on its face, it is a sure way to ruin your personal brand value and perception. Not to mention, it is a very easy way to lead an unhappy life and not resonate with anyone. After all, stop and think about how many people you know who are “successful”, yet lonely. I often think about what is must be like to reach the “top” and be alone. It can’t feel good.
In her fantastic book, The Soul of Money, global activist and fundraiser, Lynne Twist, devotes much time to this very topic of collaboration versus competition. While the focus is on our relationship with money, Twist really drives the point home that those who collaborate more than compete have more quality lives, and thus stronger and more quality personal brands.
Twist points out that the “…idea of scarcity and competition are just the way it is, is no longer even viable science.” Twist sites evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris who notes that, “Nature fosters collaboration and reciprocity. Competition in Nature exists, but is has limits, and the true law of survival is ultimately cooperation.” Twist goes on to write that while the Earth does involve competition, it is in bounds and is not about annihilation, but instead about taking what we need and leaving enough for your competition to live, too.
As I often try to get my clients to see, there is NO competition if we all really “get” how unique we are. Once we see this side of ourselves, then collaboration becomes the norm- and that’s a fantastic personal brand. As Twist references, “…You’re not in a war; you’re in a community”. Take this from me, a person who comes from a war-torn country of origin. We’d all be better off if we remembered this point- always.
So next time you are presented with a quandary, or a decision to make, consider:
-what is driving your decision?
- are you coming from a place of collaboration, sufficiency and true cooperation? OR
- are you coming from a competitive place, where jealousy reigns and your personal brand value and self-confidence is low?
Think back to the last time you were disappointed by someone who was supposed to be an expert, yet left you feeling less than confident in their abilities to lead you down the best path. I’ve had this experience many times and the feeling is always unsettling, at best.
When we seek advice from an “expert” in any field, we need them to seem, or have a perception value for us as being, calm and centered. Otherwise, why would we take advice from them?!
In this day and age of running around, juggling family and work and trying to be optimal, we are often anxiety ridden. The truth is that everyone is anxious. The question becomes how do we handle it so that our personal brands are strong and most importantly, so that we can live happy lives.
In Berne’ Brown’s latest book, “The Gifts of Imperfection“, she addresses anxiety and anxious people. From her research, Brown has found that anxiety is a lifestyle choice we make. In other words, we get to choose whether we want to let our anxiety rule our lives. I find this profound, not only in terms of impact on our personal brands and business, but on our entire way of being each and every day.
Brown says that we have to pause between the stimulus that stands to make us anxious, and our response to that stimulus. Pausing to remain calm allows us to quiet our emotions and break the anxious reaction cycle we often face.
In our business brands, this manifest for the negative every time we hit a “problem”, “glitch”, difficult person/client/customer or “emergency”. If we don’t pause and remain calm, then we are setting off a vicious cycle of anxiety-driven business responses that are highly guaranteed to hurt the business brand and your personal brand.
The entire point is to have an intentional brand, as I preach. So next time you are apt to respond in anxiety, consider your personal brand value and try to:
- Stay calm
- Think quickly, yet be slow to react
If you meditate, like I encourage all my clients to do, this process will be easier for you.
In our personal branding work with clients, we are always looking at other personal brands as examples of brands that work for us- and those that don’t. The corollary question always comes up with respect to how famous personal brands get attention by somehow taking the national or worldwide stage. Oftentimes, clients claim that they are way too uncomfortable getting that much attention. They can’t even imagine being a star and getting so much attention.
So how much attention is enough to create an effective personal brand? And what is wrong with getting attention like the stars or other famous people?
I suppose when I was practicing as a lawyer I never stopped to even consider this question. I kept plugging along hoping my clients and superiors at work would notice my fantastic legal work product and praise me somehow. I never imagined getting national recognition as a lawyer. That was then…
Fast forward seven years later and I’m very clear on why and how I need national attention in the form of a TV show (OWN Network?) or other exposure. So what’s changed?
Well, my message has changed. I am now running a personal branding company where our aim is to help EVERYONE who is open to being better, happier and/or a rainmaker- via their personal brand. Because I am no longer practicing law, my message is more wide sweeping and most importantly- my message is very clearly about contributing to others, and NOT all about me. Now my message necessitates a national and international forum with lots of attention on me. Yes, the attention is on me, but the message is about contributing to others.
I liken it to Oprah. We talked about Oprah in my bootcamp class last Friday, as we do often. The reason that Oprah’s brand “works” is because she has managed to strike a beautiful (and highly effective) balance of making her message (and shows) about others while create an empire for herself. She is seen and heard internationally, via much attention, because she is about and for others. Pure and simple. Some would contrast this with a celebrity who gets lots of attention, like Kim Kardashian. Kardashian is a master brand, but how much of her message is about anyone other than herself?
So ask yourself:
- Can you stand being in the spotlight and having attention given to you in large and small quantities?
- Is your message about others or is the entire focus just on you taking and not giving back?