This week on the podcast I’ll be releasing an interview with Danielle Miller. Danielle is a personal brand strategist for entrepreneurs.
What started as a discussion on personal branding quickly became something more. As we chatted about the differences between a brand, branding and marketing, we hit on the real reason you should spend time developing your brand.
Which also happens to be the reason behind why you’re not engaged in your work.
ALIGNING WORK WITH YOUR BRAND
Are you unhappy at work? If so, you’re not alone. Gallup’s 2014 annual employee engagement survey found that 68.5% of employees surveyed are either not engaged or actively disengaged.
On the flip slip, 31.5% of employees were engaged. The highest percentage since Gallup started measuring engagement back in 2000.
So why are employees so disengaged? Danielle sums it up this way.
“So many people are unhappy in the work they are doing because they have not honed in on what their natural gifts and abilities are.”
Your natural gifts and abilities are the things that make you tick. They make you come alive. When you use them, you lose track of time. In sports parlance, you’re in the zone.
That’s why understanding and building your personal brand is so important. To build your brand you have to start from the inside. Learn about your strengths, your values, why you gravitate toward certain tasks and why other tasks completely drain you.
Employees who know their brands, tend to accept positions that play to their natural strengths and when they do, they are engaged, they excel. They know they are where they belong.
ON the other hand when you’re doing tasks that drain you, don’t play to your natural gifts, they take additional effort on your part both mentally and physically. You feel exhausted quickly which eventually leads you to become disengaged.
If your job leaves you feeling this way, not only are you most likely disengaged, but the real you is trapped inside. Hidden by a metaphoric costume.
Your costume could be one of an accountant, an engineer, a banker. Whatever costume you are wearing, understand it’s only a costume, you can change it.
Last year at this time, I attended Comic-Con in San Diego. Yes, that’s right, the big one. It was everything you would think and more.
Despite the very large crowds (estimated 130K attended), everyone I met, bumped into, or almost knocked over, was happy.
Not the “I’m at a comic book convention” type of happy, but the genuine happy that people get when they are in their element. When they know they belong.
Before you ask, yes I wore a costume.
As I was taking in this “secret society” on display all around me, I couldn’t help but think about how some of these people might wear a costume everyday to work in order to not reveal the real person, the real brand that was so prominently on display.
This was the first time I considered the concept of the “work” costume.
For those who wear one, five days a week they get up, put on their costume and head out the door to do work that doesn’t feed their core gifts.
Take a minute and look around you. There’s a good chance one of these people is sitting right next to you.
Sure it’s not the same as a superhero costume, but it’s a costume none the less.
DO YOU WEAR A COSTUME TO WORK?
To a certain extent, I think most of us wear some kind of costume to work. We look and act a certain way because it’s expected, not necessarily because it’s who we are.
This is unfortunate because our real brand wants to speak up. We choose not to let it.
You may have “great” reasons both personal and professional for keeping your brand hidden behind a costume. Maybe you had a boss early in your career who discouraged you from speaking in meetings or spoke over you.
Like the monkeys in this video, eventually you became disengaged and put on a costume. Burying your brand deep inside.
Your brand wants to be the monkey on the ladder. But like that monkey, you let others and, eventually, yourself keep you down.
Unfortunately I’ve seen this happen way too often throughout my career. Good people wearing a costume because they are concerned about losing their job or not meeting other people’s expectations.
So rather than “risk it”, they sit quietly, wear their costume and do work that doesn’t align with their natural gifts and talents. Over time, they become complacent and eventually disengaged.
LIVE YOUR BRAND
If you feel I have described you in this post, I encourage you to listen to the podcast with Danielle this week. We talk extensively about the importance of understanding your brand and how living it can change your life and maybe even someone elses.
During the podcast, Danielle tells us to remember that our gifts and talents are meant to be shared with the world.
At our core brand, each and every one of us has gifts to share whether we realize it yet or not. It all starts with knowing who you are and understanding your personal brand.
Stop wearing a costume. Your costume is not only keeping you down, but it might be keeping others down as well. Perhaps Danielle sums it up best in this manner:
“You need to show up as who you are, anything less is doing a disservice to yourself and to the people you can serve, help and empower with the natural gifts that you have inside you.”
If you start from a place of service and live your brand to it’s fullest everything else will fall into place.
You will be happier and engaged in both your work and your life.
QUESTION: Are you living your brand or wearing a costume?