Category Archive for: ‘clarity’

How To Work Your Brand Backwards

I used to identify myself with my job and career as a lawyer.  Whenever anyone asked me, “who are you?” my response would start with “I’m a lawyer”.  It was really unhealthy.  Worse was that I had no self-awareness of what I was doing to my self-confidence, not to mention my brand. That was so long ago.

Fast forward 15 years and an entirely new career.  I LOVE and absolutely have deep passion for what I do for a living. I know it is a natural expression of my talents and of who I am.  The expert branding advice I give comes with ease and grace.

Ironically, today I don’t define myself as my career and job.  I had to work my brand backwards to get here.


Once I retired from the practice of securities law, I literally spent two years figuring out just who I was and what I was naturally good doing for myself and for others.  It was a true (and often painful) exploration of the best of “ME” with no “back” button.  It was so worth it to find my brand and my self-confidence.

Once I unearthed my brand, I then worked backwards to find out what would be a good work environment and a good fit for my natural talents and abilities.

It was so much easier to do this than what I find most of us try to do instead. Here’s what I hear all the time:

“If I just find a great new career and/or job, then I’ll be happy and can work on my own brand”.


You first have to figure out who you are and what you can naturally tap into as your ability and skill set and zest for life in helping others. From there, and only there, can you then move on to create a career or job or business that reflects your natural abilities and love for doing so for others.  That is your brand.

What does this mean for you?  Stop and consider:

  • What is that one thing you do every day that comes so very naturally to you?
  • What do others compliment you most on?
  • What is “it” that you are curious about in this world?
  • What activity makes you the happiest?
  • Now, how can you take these answers and channel them into a purpose and action that comes with ease, grace and benefits others?

Passion vs Pouting- Do You Have Your Passion Under Control?


Do you know the difference between showing your passion to the world versus just being emotional and perhaps, irrational?  It’s a concept we don’t stop and think about often, especially with respect to personal brand management.  We speak so much about making sure your work product is firmly grounded in your passion and purpose, we leave out HOW best to EXPRESS this passion you have.

This very concept came up for me last week. I was working with a client on how to prepare her best for negotiating a bigger chunk of the ownership of a company she currently co-owns with 2 other people.  The snag is that the other two owners are men.  She was lamenting that it is often difficult for her to communicate her passion for their wildly successful business without getting emotional.  She feared that her emotion would be mistaken for uncontrolled emotion, perhaps.

As women, we tend to process emotions and feelings very differently than our male counterparts obviously.  In business, this is often misinterpreted as women being “weak”, “overly emotional” and yes, even “erratic and out of control”.

The truth is none of these poor personal brand labels have to apply. In the case of my client, they are certainly not true.  In fact, my client is anything but these labels. She is very clear about her worth and her passion for the business she co-owns.  Now she just wants to convey that to her partners because she feels she deserves more equity.

The most important way to make sure your emotions don’t get misinterpreted with your passion, resulting in a negative personal brand perception is to:

1) be clear about your intentions- are you passionate about your work?

2) know how does your passion show up in your personal brand?

3) make sure you communicate your passion with emotion, but not with such overpowering emotion that you look out of control as a personal brand.

First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.