- Who & Why?
Ever stop to think about how much your thoughts shape your world? Most of us tend to never even stop and think about our thoughts. We are too busy doing our “thing” in life.
Consider the fact that on the Internet I read we have anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. How in control of your thoughts are you? Do you think it matters to the overall scheme of your life- to make money, get rich, retire wealthy and then finally “be happy”?
In this post, I ask you to consider that your thoughts impact your everyday behavior and interactions with others. As such, your thoughts impact your personal brand tremendously.
For instance, if you are running around like crazy because you have so much on your “to-do” list, the odds are you have random (and maybe not so random) thoughts flying through your head. If you never stop to assess the situation here’s what we likely see- a frantic, out of control, less-than credible person running around trying to get their life in control. On top of it all, odds are you are likely cranky or unhappy- with friends, family, colleagues, with yourself and with the world.
So try this challenge on for size: For an entire day try to be as aware as you can of every thought you have. Then quickly assess: if you met someone who didn’t know you, would they want to get to know you and then hire you based on your thoughts? Put yourself in our shoes and try to imagine what we all see when you are “thinking” and running around. Is it a personal brand you want to own?
For more on this topic, stay tuned for my interview with Byron Katie on June 19, 2014.
I’m a big proponent of everyone having their story (Personal Connection Story, is my terminology) down well as part of their effective personal brand. But this is always the hardest part of personal brand development for all our clients. For starters, no one appreciates their story- not just the significance of it, but the need for it, how to communicate it, etc.
People always ask me what parts of their story they should lead with because otherwise they feel overwhelmed by their own story. After all, if you know your story well enough and have developed it well, your total story should be significantly lengthy. I’m assuming you have all lived at least 25 years, which means you’ve got a lot to share with the rest of us.
Always keep in mind that you are looking for a connection with whoever is in front of you. What do you have in common with them? Why? Once they know this information, people extrapolate an assumption that you “get” them. Connections come once I think you are on my team.
In other words, people want to know if you are on their side. WHY do you do what you do and how can you help them? So look at when and how you are an ADVOCATE for your clients and/or customers. Then convey that part of your story to prospects/whomever you are trying to connect (i.e., network) with. That’s what I need to feel/know from you when I meet you.
I am very blessed to live in San Diego because of the all the really cool activities we have got going on. (Yes, I am ignoring the wild fires and the high taxes!). Just this past weekend, San Diego was home to The Weekend Of Grace whereby the Oneness Meditation community brought meditation to the masses/public in San Diego. There was a group meditation in Balboa Park plus other group meditations throughout the city. I was fortunate enough to attend.
I observed the crowds. The regular meditators were very different than the rest of us. In what way, you may ask? While there will always be exceptions, for the most part it was very clear to me that the folks who meditate regularly had all the ingredients we always speak of for a great personal brand. They were much more calm, happy and balanced. They had focus, clarity and could hold a conversation without the need to check their phones constantly or be looking around all the time. In short, they had an effective personal brand.
I am always encouraging (well, requiring it for my clients) you to make meditation a part of your daily life. At least just sit in silence and try to think of nothing. In that space of stillness and silence great things happen. You become focused, clear, self-confident, well-put together and super powerful. You can then go into a meeting composed and effective.
If you doubt it, just try it to prove me wrong. Shut your door, find a comfortable place to sit, remove all distractions and for at least 10 minutes sit in silence and try to be still. See if you can gradually graduate up to 25 minutes a day.
Here’s to your fantastic personal brand!
Since my post last week was about the top three ways to kill your brand, I thought this week we’d tackle how to maximize and optimize your personal brand. The biggest issue I find with all my clients is that everyone is out of wack. You know, we can’t seem to find balance in anything in our lives it seems. Between work, family, parents and a social life, where can we draw a healthy line and thus, have a healthy personal brand?
My documented research has shown a direct, inverse correlation between stress and your personal brand. The higher your stress, the lower your self-confidence and thus, the less effective your personal brand value. No one wants to be around someone who is stressed, much less hire them and pay them good money!
These days it seems everything stresses us out. I just heard of a study that found that an astounding number of cell phone users (don’t quote me, but something like 92%) stress out when their phone battery is low (i.e., hits the “red” bars). Part of this is generational. As a soon to be 42 year old, I kind of like the prospect of checking out and being unreachable via my phone. I’m just saying….. But I’m sure the 20 year olds don’t feel the same way and I get that.
So how do you reduce your stress and increase your personal brand effectiveness? Here are five obvious, but harder to practice concepts that are a MUST for everyone, including all my clients:
1. Meditate or sit still– the more you do, the more crazy and nutty you tend to become. We all notice the craziness and no one likes it. Unfortunately, we are not used to sitting still anymore. Find 10 minutes (at least) each day to sit in silence and do NOTHING.
2. Keep a gratitude list/journal– the more grateful you are about the everyday things in life, the better your life. I point this out because of my goal in creating HAPPY personal brands for all my clients (yes, lawyers, financial advisers and even rock stars). Projecting a happy personal brand that others want to follow requires you to “be” happy. End of story.
3. Take Inventory– sit down once a quarter and review your calendar. Do you really need to be doing all the activities on your calendar? Does each activity optimize your life? Does the activity make your soul sing? Do you get business as a result? Does your personal brand shine with the activity? Be honest. No one is grading you but you.
4. Paint It RED– at least once a week I am telling a client to paint it red. At least 3 times a week, I am painting it red. In cases where you are not sure what to say or how to interact with people- be HONEST and sincere and tell them the exact truth or reasoning behind your mindset and/or activity. Watch the weight be lifted off your shoulders and your stress come down. They will love you, and your personal brand, for it.
5. Be Kind– Being kind boosts our self-confidence because we have done something nice for another and feel good about ourselves. Being kind attracts kindness. Being kind boosts your personal brand and relieves your stress. I promise. This is easier said than done. Just being aware of when you are kind and when you are not is a great start. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
Email me and tell me what stresses you out the most and your coping mechanism.
As the years go by in my personal branding work with people and organizations, I see some very common mistakes people make. Below are the top three mistakes I see very regularly. These mistakes are a sure way to have an ineffective personal brand and thus, lead to an ineffective business brand. Both lead to you having less recall value for others, a less robust client and prospect pool and– less happiness.
“People come to me because of my expertise”- All too often (just yesterday), I hear my brilliant clients argue with me that their personal brand is just fine because people come to them based on their expertise. This happens less when I am working with musicians and artists because they have a better tendency to appreciate the “entire package” philosophy.
We are all conditioned to believe that our education and our substantive work are superior to anything else in life. I’m a big believer in education and providing quality substantive work. However, don’t believe for a minute that your education and your substantive know-how is what your personal brand is all about. People first notice you and your uniqueness, not your expertise and substance. Your emotional value for people has nothing to do with expertise, necessarily.
“I’m too busy” – Time becomes more and more precious in our society, it seems. We are all running around juggling work, family, parents, etc. Time is also a very good excuse for us to avoid focusing on our personal brands- figuring out our uniqueness, passion and contribution to society as a person. It’s much easier to focus on our substantive work (see #1 above) because it is safer and within our comfort zone. We have less chance for failure and less opportunity to find out about ourselves and fix things that don’t serve us well. Find time or else pay the price later.
Ignore the ‘signs’ and feedback– It is so difficult for us to accept criticism or be willing to look at ourselves and see what we are doing not so well. It takes serious guts and a desire to succeed to be willing to explore yourself and your personal brand. I have deep respect for every client of mine for this reason. I often get comments stating that personal branding is “fluff” and irrelevant. These comments often come from those who are afraid to be better- better people, better leaders, better employees and better service providers. To have an effective personal brand, you’ve got to be willing to stop and assess what the world has to say about you and your brand,- the good, the bad and the ugly. How else will you improve, excel and be happier in life?