- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Self-image’
Just the other day I was on an airplane again. I fly all the time. On every flight I find myself caring too much about what the other passengers think of me. How do I do it? Well, it shows up in every aspect of my “being”- from what I eat and drink on the flight to what I read or write on the plane.
It’s just crazy, right? And don’t judge me- you know you do it, too. You just don’t want to admit it because you don’t want us to value you less.
Some times I think I spend more time thinking about this stuff than about myself and how I feel when I’m on the plane. And this is from someone who develops other peoples’ brands for a living. I’m fully self-aware and know the impact of us not setting our own self-worth and value.
Do you ever wonder why we all care so much about what others think about us?
It can’t be self-preservation. Frankly, all the energy I expend on making sure I look “good” to others on the plane is just exhausting. It does nothing to make me feel better to try so hard. If anything, it is “anti” self-preservation.
It also can’t be because I really care about what others think of me. I’m likely never going to see any of those people again once I step off the plane.
Yet, I fall for ego’s trick, too—even on airplanes with people I have never met and will never meet again.
So the real inquiry is why do we allow others to set our value for us? Why is it that we can’t have a high enough self-worth that it doesn’t really matter what others think of us?
Why do we allow others to set our self-worth and set our value?
The real reason is that we are so afraid to look deep inside because we may discover that we are loveable and great. If we look inside, we may find ourselves worthy of love- our own love and that of others. If we did, then what anyone else thinks of us would not matter- we would get to set our own value and worth. That’s very liberating, not to mention not so exhausting. That’s also an attractive brand.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- How often do you allow what others think of you to matter more than what you want to think of yourself? Be honest with yourself.
- Why do you do it?
- Where is one place in your life experience and activities that you could allow yourself to be “free” and set your own value/worth and brand?
- What if you just didn’t care what others thought of you- that includes your friends, family, colleagues and strangers? I guarantee you that you would be happier AND more productive. You would have a stronger sense of self, making you more attractive to others.
Was this helpful? If so, please share the blog and help others, too.
Got questions? Feel free to email me directly: katy (at) purispersonalbranding.com
At the recent Country Music Awards (CMA), I saw a very entertaining, yet unusual occurrence. The show paired two very unlikely brands to sing the first song of the night.
Out on stage came Miranda Lambert, who is about 40 pounds lighter these days. That was just fine. However, she came out with Meghan Trainor who sings the hit song, “All About The Bass ”. What an odd duo vocally.
Not only was the duet an odd brand pairing vocally, but it was visually strange. Here they were singing about how they were bringing booty back and that size is irrelevant. Miranda Lambert was looking sleek and thin, obviously through effort and a desire for it, singing it doesn’t matter our size.
Yet, Miranda Lambert has been very verbally public with her weight loss and well, less of a booty these days. While Lambert has said she is happy any size and loves to eat fried chicken, she has also said she loves being inspired to look at/listen to Brittany Spears when working out.
I respect her verbal stand on the topic, but if I hadn’t read anything about her stance and just saw the performance, my perception would possibly be very skewed for the worse.
In brand development, I always point out the “2 C’s”: Clarity and Consistency. Clarity is all about knowing who you are as an artist and as a human. It would seem Miranda Lambert is clear that she prefers being a smaller size and that’s fine. Consistency is about communicating your same brand in the same manner every time to everyone. Without consistency, your audience gets confused, can’t track you, relate to you, be your biggest fan or follow you. Since branding is all subconscious processing of information, perhaps your fans won’t actually be thinking these exact thoughts, but they will be “feeling” something is off and uncomfortable for them- about you.
I remember when I first stopped practicing law, I had no clarity on who I was as a personal brand. Since I had decided to stop practicing law, I was so lost and confused. My identity as a “lawyer” had been stripped from me. I had no idea who I was, much less how to consistently show up as a brand. As the first step to my brand clarity, it took me really learning that I was NOT my career/profession in order to really be able to show up and gain a following.
So seeing Miranda Lambert up on stage singing a song about loving ourselves regardless of size when she had lost all that weight, was not true to her current visual brand, I would say. I think it is great that she has lost so much weight. Good for her. But you always have to watch what brand statement you are making with anything in your life, including weight loss. This is especially true when you are up on stage standing next to someone who has a current brand around a hit song stating verbally the opposite.
What does this mean for you? I realize both “C”s are hard to master. For starters, all you need to do is to be self-aware. Be self-aware of who you are and how you want that message to come across to others.
Remember, branding is subconscious perception. That means, you have to know it and believe it before we do. And yes, your visual brand matters just as much as the verbal brand message you give us. Always remember, we likely see you first before we hear from you, so you need consistent verbal and visual brand messages.
In Part III of my four-part series on Brand Stagnation, let’s chat about stagnation of our personal brands within our friendships. As a recap of “why” this series, I’ve been thinking a lot about brand stagnation lately. It just so happened that so has Oprah!
Oprah has talked about this topic of Stagnation in her “What I know for sure” column of her September 2014 O Magazine, “The Two Questions You Should Ask Yourself Each Day”. Oprah, whether she knows it or not, is my mentor because I have incredible respect and appreciation for her presence in this world. For four weeks, I am taking her topic post and going deeper and looking at it from one of my viewpoints. This method is how I decide what is the next best area that ‘sparkles with rightness’ in the branding world.
So what is Stagnation of your brand within the context of your friendships? Well, these days the word, “friendship” has an entirely different meaning to us all. We have so many “friends” virtually that we seem to have lost the concept of real, dynamic, non-stagnate friendships.
I have lots of Facebook friends and many more people who want to be my Facebook friend whom I have not “accepted” as friends because I don’t know them- at all. While I appreciate that these unknown wanna-be-friends are out there, I’d rather have a cup of coffee with each of them and then “accept” them as friends- on Facebook or in person.
I used to get all out of sorts over my Facebook friends. I would think to myself that I should “accept” all these friends or the world would think I am not loved and don’t have enough friends. Perhaps this would be a sign that I’m not running a good enough/successful enough business if I don’t have enough friends and “likes” on Facebook? I would start to hyperventilate (sort of) and couldn’t focus on my work. How dumb of me! At some point, I stepped back and decided I had gotten sucked into the virtual friendship hole of mis-perceptions that feeds our low self-confidence levels. I couldn’t let Facebook drive my confidence down!!
I think of it as this- I don’t need so many friends all over the place, just friends to whom I provide the same level of connection that I would want back for myself from a friend. This means quality, not quantity for me. And if someone chooses not to do business with me because of the number of my “likes”, “Facebook friends” or LinkedIn Connections, then so be it! I can’t afford to be a half-way friend and risk my brand connection- more does not equal dynamic brand quality. The more virtual friends, the more I found that my brand connection to them stagnated.
So how dynamic are you as a Facebook or real friend? How far would you go to be a “good” friend (whatever you define as “good”)? Does your personal brand shine as a friend or is it dull and stagnate?
A good test of this concept is the following: next time your friend makes a request of you, stop and think to yourself “how would I want my friend to respond if I was the one making such a request?” If you wouldn’t want it done to you, then think twice- your brand is not coming through and your friendship may have stagnated.
Another good test is to consider your friends circle- did you really “pick” them as friends or not? Same test could apply to your friends who are family- would you be friends with your siblings if they weren’t your siblings? Why or why not? Be honest…that’s how you get to a dynamic brand with your friends.
Several years ago I wrote a post on treating your clients like you treat your pets. I still get requests and inquiries about that post, including one just two weeks ago.
So here’s a post along the same lines. This post came about as a result of a conversation with a client last week. She was pointing out that she’s not sure how her brand comes across at work. New in her position as General Counsel of a major corporation, she is working on developing a brand that works for her and for others in her organization. Part of that brand is making sure she is seen as competent, yet warm and caring.
The dialogue then turned to the fact that she is not a particularly “smiley” person. In other words, her natural tendency is not to have a smile on her face. I appreciate this tendency, as I’m not a naturally smiley person either. Many people are not naturally prone to smile, and thus do not have an open and inviting face, during interactions with others during the day.
So I told her what I tell myself all the time. You have to practice and have self-awareness around how you are coming across. You have to practice putting a smile on your face- regularly! I asked her when she finds herself the most animated and smiling the most. Not surprisingly, when she goes home to her kids she is most animated and smiling in an effort to connect with them and show them her affection for them.
I told her the same mentality needs to, and can, apply at work. She needs to approach her staff and colleagues the same way she approaches her kids- with a mentality of connecting with them via animation and smiles. In my mind there is no difference. Sure, the audience differs. However, the end goal is exactly the same.
So stop and think to yourself:
– Are you a “smiley” person or not?
– How often do you smile at work? As much as you smile at home? If not, why?
– How animated are you with your clients and colleagues? Do they connect with you and “get” your communication and affinity for them and your work?
If you answered any of the above questions in the negative, then you’ve got some work to do. Get busy practicing that smile and remember, clients respond to smiles and attention just like kids.
I see lots of personal brands fail for a very simple reason: people tend to be competitive instead of collaborative. Period. End of story. While this may seem silly on its face, it is a sure way to ruin your personal brand value and perception. Not to mention, it is a very easy way to lead an unhappy life and not resonate with anyone. After all, stop and think about how many people you know who are “successful”, yet lonely. I often think about what is must be like to reach the “top” and be alone. It can’t feel good.
In her fantastic book, The Soul of Money, global activist and fundraiser, Lynne Twist, devotes much time to this very topic of collaboration versus competition. While the focus is on our relationship with money, Twist really drives the point home that those who collaborate more than compete have more quality lives, and thus stronger and more quality personal brands.
Twist points out that the “…idea of scarcity and competition are just the way it is, is no longer even viable science.” Twist sites evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris who notes that, “Nature fosters collaboration and reciprocity. Competition in Nature exists, but is has limits, and the true law of survival is ultimately cooperation.” Twist goes on to write that while the Earth does involve competition, it is in bounds and is not about annihilation, but instead about taking what we need and leaving enough for your competition to live, too.
As I often try to get my clients to see, there is NO competition if we all really “get” how unique we are. Once we see this side of ourselves, then collaboration becomes the norm- and that’s a fantastic personal brand. As Twist references, “…You’re not in a war; you’re in a community”. Take this from me, a person who comes from a war-torn country of origin. We’d all be better off if we remembered this point- always.
So next time you are presented with a quandary, or a decision to make, consider:
-what is driving your decision?
– are you coming from a place of collaboration, sufficiency and true cooperation? OR
– are you coming from a competitive place, where jealousy reigns and your personal brand value and self-confidence is low?