Branding Edit: What is your brand?
Like you, I struggle with the concept of Personal Brand almost on a daily basis. What does it even mean? How do I change my brand? How can I make it stronger? What if I don't like my brand?
As I've gotten into my mid-twenties, I've realized something: Personal Brand should be priority #1 when it comes to your career. It dictates how others perceive you, who you are introduced to, and what opportunities are thrown your way. It isn't something that can be changed over night - just like that summer body - so taking steps to fine tune your approach can help you focus on creating your best brand or help reshape it.
Recently, we gathered a group of 8 women together to discuss how to shape a brand worth bragging about. The session was lead by a Senior Manager at a public accounting firm who worked us through the below initial exercise on identifying core values and how it is translated into your personal brand.
Step 1: Identify your Values
Think through all the things that make you light up, have your heart, where you spend your free time and write down 5-7 of these values.
Step 2: What memories if your life made you the most happy?
Think back to when you felt your most fulfilled or said to yourself "Right now I am truly happy and feel like my most amazing self" and write down 5-7 of those experiences.
Step 3: Break Out Key Points
In those memories, what was it about those experiences made the difference in your life? Describe those items based upon your happiest memories and be as specific as possible. Think "fulfillment" or "satisfaction".
Step 4: Evaluate
Based upon the review of the above exercise, describe what you feel are your CORE VALUES.
In summary, this exercise can be used to help define the brand you want to project. Others are drawn to the brand that you consistently project and in doing so they experience you in different capacities. The biggest lesson from this exercise is that sometimes your values are not always cohesive with your personal brand, or your behaviors do not exhibit your CORE values.
This exercise can be done every few months to help you evaluate your progress on creating a brand you love. Find a friend or colleague to help keep you accountable and to also help you collect feedback on how your brand is perceived. It can be extremely uncomfortable at first, but once you have worked through the initial exercise, you start to work your way towards more self-discovery.