Other posts on Personal Branding can be found HERE and HERE.
My session started off with a brief introduction by Kathy then she asked the one question that drives me crazy, “Tell me about yourself”. Talk about an open-ended question.
I'm not sure what it is about the question that bothers me so much but if I were to guess it is because of the lack of specificity.
Feelings about the question aside, I started answering the question. Now I'm not one who believes that what I do for a living is also “who I am” as a person.
Who I am is very different but as I began to tell Kathy about myself it occurred to me that what I do should be an extension of who I am as a person.
I mean wouldn't that increase job satisfaction and your sense of worth if your J.O.B. was an extension of you and your brand?
Once finished Kathy explained that the reason for asking the question was simple, she was looking to discover at a high level how much thought I had given to the question.
This would, in turn, provide her with information about how in touch I was with my brand. This question provides her with a starting point for everything else to come, kind of like when it is asked in an interview.
Most people when asked to tell someone about themselves answer with their title or a discussion of their current job.
While these are certainly components of your personal brand, if you really grasp what you are known for, what you do for a living should really be an outcome of living your brand instead of your brand's main focus.
We are all so much bigger than our titles or role within our companies. Simple job titles do not encompass everything that embodies our brands.
Your brand actually consists of other less tangible things such as your image, perceptions, your reputation, character, even the clothes you wear.
All of these add up to the bigger question of what are you known for or what happens because of you. Answer these questions and you will begin to understand your personal brand.
Reflecting on the less tangible items, the one that resonated with me the most was perception. Like it or not, perception is reality, this is especially true in the corporate world. Think about that for a minute.
Each and every day we communicate a perception about ourselves to others through our image, our voice and our promise. While your image and your voice are easy to see and “control”, you cannot do either if you do not understand your promise.
Think about your last week at work. What perception/promise did you communicate? Does it align with how you would like others to think of you?
Chances are you've never thought about it before. But once you do and you begin to learn about your personal brand as viewed through the eyes of others, you can begin to actively and intentionally manage it. Or as Kathy puts it:
“In the process of gaining clarity around your brand, you achieve clarity in what you want and where you fit – Kathleen Crandall”
PERSONAL BRANDING AND WHERE YOU FIT
“Where you fit”. The impact of those three words surprised me. Where do I fit? If you really think about that it forces you to question a lot of things and sets the stage for brand building.
For me, it tied directly to understanding my WHY and set the stage for the next three steps in the process.
3 STEPS TO UNDERSTANDING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
- Assess your brand – Specifically what skills and traits I am known for.
- Creating a brand message – This message will serve as the framework of your story and will give you tremendous clarity around how to tell someone about yourself.
- Bringing your brand to life – As I've stated before, once you know what happens because of you and what you are known for, you can choose to begin to live and act with intentionality, with purpose.
My homework for session one was to set out to assess my brand. More specifically determine what are the skills and traits I am known for and what is the perception others have about me.
I'll write about each of the three steps as I progress along my path to discovering what happens because of me.
QUESTION: What skills and traits do you believe you are known for?