How do I know what my personal brand should be?
Welcome back, my friends! In case you missed it, last time we dug into what actually is a personal brand and why should you want one. Quick recap: your personal brand is what you want to be known for (usually in the professional world), and it’s important because it helps you connect to other people in meaningful ways. This week, we’re moving on to what your personal brand should actually be. And if you don’t know, how do you decide? Great questions. Let’s dig in, shall we?
How do you define your personal brand?
Again, knowing that your brand is what you want to be known for, it can be made up of a few things:
- Your professional interests and passions
- The things you value
- Your professional dreams and aspirations
- Your personal interests and passions
Backing up. We all have that friend, right? She’s known since she was a kid that she wanted to be a police officer and has followed that dream doggedly every day until she reached her goal. Or maybe your friend is an environmental rights activist who cares so much about global warming he carries metal straws with him everywhere and gives you a look any time he sees you accept a plastic one at brunch.
For better or worse, that’s their brand.
And to their credit, these people know who they are and what they’re passionate about. And maybe that’s you! If you can quickly and easily name what you’re passionate about, that’s a big part of your brand.
If you’re just not completely sure what your professional passions are (which is really common), it’s time to get really reflective about some key questions:
- To start, if you’re really happy in your job, what about it do you like most?
- What do people come to you for advice or help about?
- If you could work in any industry at all, what would it be?
- What topic in the news or current events gets you really excited?
- What books, blogs, magazines, podcasts or TV shows fascinate you?
- Think about some of the times at work or in school when you’ve felt totally engaged. What did you enjoy so much about them?
This is just a jumping-off point, hopefully, you get the idea, though if you’re finding these questions hard to answer, Ama La Vida has a wonderful 10-week program called the ALV Method that helps you dig in a little deeper to your passions, gifts, and values to uncover your purpose. Just sayin’.
Put it all together
Now that you’ve pulled together all that data, find your key themes. It might just be one, but I wouldn’t go more than 4 or 5. Write them down. Pick the one that’s most relevant to your career, particularly how you want to contribute to a company, organization, or the world. Maybe it’s a mashup of 2 or 3 that fit together nicely, like a specific group of people you want to help and a specific topic on which you can help them within a key industry. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s your framework:
I help [group of people] to [do this thing].
So, for example, as a coach, “I help young professionals to create careers that are meaningful and fulfilling to them so they can create lives they love.”
A police officer might say, “I help the citizens of my town to feel safe by enforcing the law.”
An investment banker would say, “I help startups in my niche industry to raise capital by issuing stock to fund their future growth.”
This is your brand. It’s what you stand for. People in your professional circles know that this one thing is the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else and are really, really good at. When they need someone who does this thing, they think of you. When you meet people and they ask you what you do for a living, that sentence is what you tell them.
Your personal brand is the one thing you’re known for. It enables people to easily connect with you and support you in your mission to make the world a better place by doing the thing you love to do and do best. Now that you know what your brand is, what’s next? Great question again! Let’s talk about that next time.
Looking for more resources? Try this Forbes article about personal brands!