Strength & Vulnerability: Personal Branding Musts
When I left the practice of law many years ago, I went through a long, long phase of feeling lost and inadequate and confused. I never told anyone. I just sat with it all and wondered what I was supposed to be when I “grew up”. It took me really taking a long hard look at who I was, my passion and purpose for getting up every day and what came naturally to me (my gifts and talents) to really wake up and start the journey. This journey has culminated into a successful personal branding company where I am fortunate to bring this passion and purpose and natural talents to clients.
What it also took was becoming vulnerable. I had to let go of being a lawyer and allow myself to be a person. I then had to realize that I was good enough and didn’t need a label or a title. It felt much like being stripped naked. It was painful and raw.
But what came next was fantastic. Slowly, as I built up the company and started to see results for clients, I started to live into my new-found being and purpose. I began living with, and expressing, joy and love. I found my strength. I also realized that expressing vulnerability made me stronger and even more fabulous. As a result, my personal brand became stronger and so did the business brand.
The concept of vulnerability has been beautifully researched by the fabulous Brene’ Brown. Brene’ describes herself as a “researcher storyteller”. Her fantastic Ted Talk on vulnerability and shame has exploded the field wide open. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak in person in June at the Inc. Magazine Leadership Conference.
Brene’ says that she was researching to expand perception- that a piece of her research fundamentally expanded her perception. She discovered that connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It is why we are here. Through her research, she discovered shame as being a fear of disconnection. Shame unravels connection and makes people unworthy of connection. Underpinning this concept was deep vulnerability. Brene’ holds that in order to connect, we must allow ourselves to really be seen.
Brene’ holds that what keeps us from connection is our fear of connection. According to her, people who succeed here and live full out, had a sense of authenticity, courage and connection and fully embraced vulnerability and believed what made them vulnerable, made them beautiful.
In a nutshell, Brene’ found that vulnerabilty is necessary. It is the birthplace of joy, belonging and love.
We live in a vulnerable world. As I’ve always said, successful personal branding means you develop a connection with others. This requires you to be open to others, share your uniqueness and story. Only then will you be living in the only emotion that sells your brand- joy. Only then will people want to get to know you.
It all starts with you being strong enough to do the self-discovery work we have you do. This requires you to be, and always stay, vulnerable. As a result, I feel safe and equal to you- as a brand and as a person. As I have often said, I have deep respect for my clients for working with us and going “there” with us. The results are always fantastic.
There is a balance between being vulnerable and owning your strength as a person and your personal brand. We only want to hire strong, well-rounded people with balanced personal brands.
So, as Brene’ says, let yourself be seen, love wholeheartedly, practice gratitude and joy and believe you are enough. Only then will your personal brand be so strong that it will convert masses to your side- always