I think consciously building your personal brand is imperative for your career. We don’t talk enough about what personal brands are, and what they mean, and we talk even less about how to build one. Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO of Amazon) once said, ‘Personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room’. Take a moment to think about that – what do people say when you leave the room? And do you care?
I believe it’s important that you not only know what people say, but also that you care. Why is it important to know what people say about you when you leave the room? Well personally, I believe it’s important because you need to understand how you influence people, if there are any pre-conceived ideas and simply whether perception matches reality. For me, I’m pretty sure when I leave a meeting room people say something like, “Cecilia …”
- Is absolutely focused on her customer. Always!
- Direct and demanding
- Fast paced and highly excitable (and a fast talker)
- Enjoys playing bad cop (yeah, good cop just isn’t my style).
It’s funny how we underestimate the power and influence of our own personal brand. For example, I know that I have a tendency to go to the same team members to request things again and again. Even as their roles evolve inside the business, I still go to them rather than someone else inside their team.
Well the real reason is because I know and understand who they are (their personal brand). And, I’ve built a relationship with them and so when they leave the room one of the key things that would come to mind is ‘trust’. Therefore I tend to lean on them more than others. Putting time into building and growing your personal brand is therefore really important.
So where do you start? Well here is my how to guide:
- YOU’RE NOT IN BUSINESS, YOU ARE A BUSINESS!
You need to think of yourself as an LTD or a PTY. Look at yourself in third person. What words best describe you and where you want to be.
- LIVE YOUR VALUES
What are your values? Define who you are and consider what’s important to you such as friends, family and community.
- PRIORITISE YOUR PASSIONS
Identify your passions and make sure they feature as integral motivators in your daily life – what gets you out of bed in the morning? And what are you going to do about it once you’re out of bed?
- KNOW YOURSELF:
Be self-aware and understand your strengths and weaknesses. BUT – always focus on your strengths. Rather than being the ‘jack of all trades’ be the ‘master of one (or a few)’.
- MAP YOUR JOURNEY:
Create the road map to where you want to be.
Once you’ve written down the words, make sure you always keep these at the back of your mind when interacting with people – who knows what they’ll say when you leave the room!