Brand You – Personal Branding

Tom Peters book “the brand you 50” is a great read. I often find myself revisiting the book for personal inspiration. The concept of the book is to provide guidance on how to transform from an employee to a brand that people want to engage with. Today, I decided to reread the section on values (#8). I thought sharing some of my thoughts about Tom’s counsel would make a good follow-up to the post about Bob McDonald’s values-based leadership.

Tom is a big believer in the power of working on things you value. He challenges you to think about meetings you attend and to ask yourself if it is a good use of your time. Perhaps the most provocative question is – Was your yesterday a sleep walk, or did you make a distinct contribution consistent with the big things in this life that you value? Unfortunately, for many people the true answer is that it was more of a sleep walk.

Three Questions to Ponder 

Got a Personal Mission Statement? If not, why not? If you do, do you use it to guide the choices you make? Like Tom, Bob McDonald is a believer of writing down what you value and sharing it publicly so you can get the support of your community to stay on course.

Who are you? This is Tom’s #11. Pretty simple question, but I suspect the answer is fairly complicated. Call it an elevator speech if you like, but everybody should have a pithy statement of who they are. It drives clarity of purpose. Another way to think about it is to view you as a brand. What is your promise? Remember, your promise should be relevant, competitive and authentic. Defining yourself through a memorable brand statement is a real personal challenge. But, the pay-off can be huge. Being aware of your image (today’s reality) and desired identity (tomorrow’s possibility) provides you with a clearer path to personal success. Of course, the other key is following through on that plan by continually developing the skill sets that make self-actualization possible.

How evangelical are you? Tom’s #12 challenges you to think about your personal commitment level. He encourages people to rewrite their titles to reflect who they believe they really are rather than the hierarchal position they may hold in an organization. He gives examples to illustrate the point like – “Raging Inexorable Thunderlizard Evangalist”. I admit that particular title doesn’t get my heart racing, but I do get Tom’s point. If you could write your own title to describe your passion, what would it be? Does it excite you? Can you see yourself being evangelistic about delivering the responsibilities of the title you’ve selected? If the title exercise doesn’t work for you, try writing a tagline for your personal brand. What would it be? Are you fully committed to living up to it day in and day out? Are you the pig or the chicken? [For those of you who may have never heard the story, when it comes to a breakfast of bacon and eggs, the chicken is a participant but the pig is fully committed.]

Discussion

Setting a clear direction in life is not an easy task. Life is never truly predictable, and it passes faster than you imagine. Having a sense of who you are and how you can uniquely contribute provides some great guidance when the choices in your life are not black and white. In my experience, staying true to yourself generally leads to the best choice. But, like many things it is a journey. You change based on your experiences and your personal brand is enriched along the way. In my opinion, revisiting the exercise of clearly defining who you are and what you value is time well invested. I’d encourage you to consider carving time out before the end of the year to answer some of the questions Tom Peter’s raises. I think you’ll find the outcome surprisingly helpful.

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