Me Inc.: How to Create a Distinctive Personal Brand
By Daneal Charney on Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Whether you like it or not, people are talking about you. You don’t need to be a celebrity like Ashton Kutcher, politician like Barack Obama, or entrepreneur like Gary Vaynerchuk to start building your personal brand. What you do need is an identity rooted in your passions and a desire to be great. It doesn’t need to be earth-shatteringly nouveau; it simply has to tell the story of who you are and who you want to become.
Investing effort in building, honing, and sharing your personal brand will pay off in dividends. You’ll become more self aware, you’ll meet new people, and you’ll be exposed to opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.
Shortcut#1: KNOW YOUR STORY
Saving your life story for your memoirs? Well, think again. The core of your personal brand is built on the things you are passionate about. Take time to make three lists: 1) List your biggest successes to date; 2) List your biggest failures to date; and 3) list the things you are most passionate about. Take time to reflect on the peaks and valleys of your life. Don’t try to invent your past, but rather invent your future: A future full of the things you are passionate about. Your brand is not descriptive; it’s a prescriptive story of what you stand for.
Shortcut#2: BUILD ON YOUR VALUES, HABITS, STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
As you begin your career there are many things you have yet to accomplish, so rooting your brand in your personal values, habits, strengths and weaknesses is a great place to start. You don’t need to be an expert or a tried-true solider of a specific value, but you do need a willingness to grow into that value or build upon that weakness. Take some time to brainstorm your values and success habits. To help take inventory of some of your strengths, check out Tom Rath’s Strengthsfinder.com or pick up Marcus Buckingham’s Now Discover Your Strengths and Go Put Your Strengths to Work.
Shortcut#3: BE GENUINE, BE BOLD, BE MEMORABLE
Great brands become iconic because they are memorable and remarkable. Your brand is the same. It needs to be worthy of a remark. The easiest way to do this is to be genuine and live your passion. Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Crush It, is a great field guide to building a brand based on passion. Gary Vee’s personal approach is oozing with his genuine passion and it isn’t always polished and classically professional. Check out some of our favourite branded people: Sacha Chua, Callum Ng, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Bill Jenson, Isadore Sharp and Richard Branson.
Excerpted from “Hitting Stryde: A Gen Y Career Survival Guide” by Daneal Charney and David James Singh. Now available in an e-book format. Download more shortcuts on personal branding and more at www.stryde.ca.
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