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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘self-confidence’
I always preach that if you are not quirky and unique, it becomes hard to develop a really optimal and effective (and fun!) personal brand for you. Truth is that everyone has quirks and eccentricities. Trouble is that none of us wants to own them because then we are the “oddball” and perhaps “weird” and by extrapolation— unlikeable and yes, un-loveable.
But how do we really know if this will be the way our brand is perceived by others? Have you ever taken a poll? Odds are- no.
I had a meeting with someone just the other day where this person claimed that if she did X, Y or Z, then she may be seen as “too out there”. I had to interject (as I often have to do with clients. Hey, that’s my job!) that in fact, she was not being “too out there” if she did X, Y or Z with her brand. In fact, she would be seen as memorable AND credible if she did X, Y or Z, much less all three.
In reality, you see yourself way more “crazy” or “out there” than others do. That’s just a part of being a self-conscious and fearful human. My goal is to get you to see yourself as a self-confident, happy person and personal brand that can be self-expressed doing X, Y, and Z and be loved and loving.
So if I had one piece of advice it is: your goal should be to stay within the rules, yet always be pushing the envelope just outside your comfort zone. As with everything in life, you have to seek balance. That usually means being “crazy” or “out there” because odds are you will barely be crazy enough, but you’ll likely be happy, memorable, have higher recall value and generate business.
I was working with a client who was fed up. He was so frustrated with why his brand was not consistent. Well, rather he was upset with why his personal brand was not consistently generating more business for him. When I asked him what he wanted his personal brand to “say” about him, he went off on a tangent that ultimately led to his confession. He wanted MORE RESPECT from others. Very honest of him, and interesting.
Well, who the heck wouldn’t want to be respected? What respect signals is that we all want to ultimately be wanted and loved by others. That’s fair and a good goal. However, we can’t force people to respect us and thus, love us. It just doesn’t work that way. It took my client a long time to “get” this notion. I mean, we all “get” it, but to really “own” the concept is another thing.
As Lynne Twist says in one of my all-time favorite books, “The Soul of Money”, the concept of sufficiency means that we believe that there is enough for everyone to have “some” and that no one has to go without. There is plenty of abundance available for us all. We just need to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. In this way, what we have (and thus want more of) grows.
So what does this have to do with you getting more respect? Well, you can’t force others to respect you. You can’t force them to love you. You can’t get respect by feeling inadequate and entitled to it. That’s a nasty personal brand. It doesn’t work in business or in personal lives.
The only way to get respect is to first GIVE and expect nothing back in return. I know that notion may be cliche’ sadly. However, it is the only way your personal brand (and business/career) thrives.
So stop and think about the last time you did something for someone just because it was the kind thing to do. Where you expected absolutely nothing in return, but got a ton back in return. The positive stuff you get back (business, clients, referrals, money, love) doesn’t even have to show up from the original recipient of your good deeds. It just shows up because you had a strong personal brand and you gave. You just have to accept it and be grateful.
Now go out there and generate a fantastic personal brand by just giving.
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