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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘self-confidence’
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?
As I look around, so many clients within corporations struggle with being an effective leader. As we work together to evolve their personal brands into ones that lead well, I discover a big set back for those aspiring to leadership roles. This same set-back applies to anyone wanting to lead anything- not just in corporate America. So if you are a lawyer, financial adviser or rock star, the same applies.
People don’t really know, or intuitively “get”, what an optimal leader looks like. How can we expect them to be optimal and promotable, if they don’t know what that means for them? My task is to collaborate and evolve you into a visionary thought-leader so that others can see you as creative and thus, want to follow you. First, you have to increase your self-confidence, reduce your stress and take responsibility. If you are a CEO, that means you are responsible for your team. If you are a rock star, that means you are responsible to carry your message well to your fan base.
People often assume that leading means talking and giving marching orders. Far from it, I’ve found. I find too many clients wanting to talk, advise and be seen and heard- all the time.
A strong personal brand of a leader is harnessed by being supportive, and NOT aggressive. Think of yourself as a champion of others. What would that look like practically? Well, ideally you would be talking less (in meetings or on stage) because you would see yourself as the “big idea” person, ie, visionary, as the leader. Leaders don’t have to be espousing wisdom all the time- just putting in their advice and support to create the big picture, motivating their team/fans to execution of the big picture, and providing course corrections along the way.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider, when given leadership opportunities ANYWHERE in your life:
- Do you offer support to others?
- Are you the champion of the entire process or stuck in the details, like others?
- Can you control the urge to talk and be heard, instead of sitting back, talking at optimal moments and watching your vision evolve and grow at the hands of able others you have put into place?
- Do you put your ego aside as best you can, alway?
When I left the practice of law many years ago, I went through a long, long phase of feeling lost and inadequate and confused. I never told anyone. I just sat with it all and wondered what I was supposed to be when I “grew up”. It took me really taking a long hard look at who I was, my passion and purpose for getting up every day and what came naturally to me (my gifts and talents) to really wake up and start the journey. This journey has culminated into a successful personal branding company where I am fortunate to bring this passion and purpose and natural talents to clients.
What it also took was becoming vulnerable. I had to let go of being a lawyer and allow myself to be a person. I then had to realize that I was good enough and didn’t need a label or a title. It felt much like being stripped naked. It was painful and raw.
But what came next was fantastic. Slowly, as I built up the company and started to see results for clients, I started to live into my new-found being and purpose. I began living with, and expressing, joy and love. I found my strength. I also realized that expressing vulnerability made me stronger and even more fabulous. As a result, my personal brand became stronger and so did the business brand.
The concept of vulnerability has been beautifully researched by the fabulous Brene’ Brown. Brene’ describes herself as a “researcher storyteller”. Her fantastic Ted Talk on vulnerability and shame has exploded the field wide open. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in person in June at the Inc. Magazine Leadership Conference.
Brene’ says that she was researching to expand perception- that a piece of her research fundamentally expanded her perception. She discovered that connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It is why we are here. Through her research, she discovered shame as being a fear of disconnection. Shame unravels connection and makes people unworthy of connection. Underpinning this concept was deep vulnerability. Brene’ holds that in order to connect, we must allow ourselves to really be seen.
Brene’ holds that what keeps us from connection is our fear of connection. According to her, people who succeed here and live full out, had a sense of authenticity, courage and connection and fully embraced vulnerability and believed what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful.
In a nutshell, Brene’ found that vulnerabilty is necessary. It is the birthplace of joy, belonging and love.
We live in a vulnerable world. As I’ve always said, successful personal branding means you develop a connection with others. This requires you to be open to others, share your uniqueness and story. Only then will you be living in the only emotion that sells your brand- joy. Only then will people want to get to know you.
It all starts with you being strong enough to do the self-discovery work we have you do. This requires you to be, and always stay, vulnerable. As a result, I feel safe and equal to you- as a brand and as a person. As I have often said, I have deep respect for my clients for working with us and going “there” with us. The results are always fantastic.
There is a balance between being vulnerable and owning your strength as a person and your personal brand. We only want to hire strong, well-rounded people with balanced personal brands.
So, as Brene’ says, let yourself be seen, love wholeheartedly, practice gratitude and joy and believe you are enough. Only then will your personal brand be so strong that it will convert masses to your side- always
I had a new client say to me last week, “I have such trouble when I have to describe who I am in my bio and cover letters.” Her problem was that she started with her name followed by the word, “is” and had no where to go from there. So say her name was Jane Doe. She had no idea how to finish the statement, “Jane Doe is….” At 55 years old with a wonderful and brilliant career, she literally had no idea who she was or what to say about herself AND her experience/work to others.
The truth is that this problem plagues most of us in one way or another. It most often manifests full force when we are forced to face the issue, such as like my client above, while we are looking for a new job or career. This is the main time when we have to explain to other employers and contacts the truth: who we are, what we are about and why we should get that next great job or promotion.
I see the struggle all my clients face when we work on developing their unique selling proposition and story. Most folks stare at me like I am asking them to move a boulder up a hill through mud. But what they realize later is that at the top of that hill rests a treasure chest for them. To get to the treasure, first they have to figure out who they are, get their story down on paper and really “own” being unique.
So stop and ask yourself: How would you answer the question: “[Your First Name and Last Name IS...]“
- First look at what makes you unique
- Then figure out your own story. Before you can express who you are to others, you gotta know who you are and own it well.
Mergers and acquisitions are a topic from my previous career as an attorney. However, it applies to personal brand management just as well. We see the impact, first-hand, of what happens to the corporate brands when two entities merge as a result of an acquisition. It’s often times anything but pretty- for the companies involved and all the employees. I was recently interviewed on this topic. See the video below or click on the link http://http://vimeo.com/65261213.
In personal brand management, we are always looking at the two “C”s, clarity and consistency. When two companies merge, we find the clarity and consistency of the brands (both corporate and personal brands of the people) take a big hit.
I was having lunch recently with an employee who had witnessed his company be acquired by another. He was anything but happy by the new corporate brand. He felt completely lost and left out of his “new” company. He was telling me he felt like his voice no longer mattered- that the new company had forced their beliefs and procedures and entire brand philosophy on his acquired company. As a result, he was disillusioned and wondering how long he could take it anymore.
Personal brand management is about feeling unique, owning your uniqueness and communicating your best qualities with confidence to your target market. It is extremely hard to work somewhere when you think your company (and you) no longer matters. We find employees’ self-confidence and ability to express their unique qualities is eroded often to a point of no return. When the trust factor fails, productivity decreases and a quality personal brand fades fast.
The key is for management to have a solid brand consolidation plan post-mergers. This plan MUST include a personal brand management portion so that each employee understands: 1) the new corporate brand messaging and positioning and 2) their own personal brand so they can fit well within the new entity and produce results and be in harmony with other employees.