- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘credibility’
One of my clients mentioned the other day that in her line of work ,whenever a client disagrees with her decisions or course of action for the client, my client feels like she wants to avoid what seems like oncoming conflict. It’s hard for us to face conflict. Often times, for most of us differing opinions makes us uncomfortable enough to want to run and hide.
I used to be one of those people that could not stand it if someone I cared about would raise their voice or disagree with me. It always felt like I was in a boxing match. My best defense: I would exit stage left and just disappear. Looking back now, it was pretty funny. Who just up and leaves the room like that? Not exactly a strong personal brand.
Most of us believe if we are in careers that call for conflict/negotiation, then we must be really good at confrontation. That’s not necessarily the case. Look at me for example: I was a lawyer, yet I was never fond of conflict.
It wasn’t until I recognized that confrontation does not mean conflict that I was able to stop leaving the room whenever a conversation got “awkward” and uncomfortable. As a result, my brand grew stronger as others saw me as a self-confident person who stuck around.
We often get confrontation and conflict, which leads to possible aggression, confused. Here’s how I define it:
If we can confront a situation, that’s power. There’s creativity in differing opinions. That’s a good thing. Confronting a situation means be brave, stand firm, yet kind and address the issue for the greater good. That’s a powerful brand that is effective and attractive.
If we can’t confront a situation, then we often default to aggression using force. As Werner Erhard states, “force negates power”. Never is aggression backed up by force an attractive brand value. No one respects forceful brands. No one wants to follow forceful brands. No one wants to buy from forceful brands. It can’t work.
So stop and think to yourself:
– how is your ability to confront a situation? Do you flee or stand firm?
– can you start looking at confrontation as a natural part of life based on differing opinions that could result in varied approaches to business and life?
– when do you resort to aggression and force to get your way, as a brand? Being self-aware is the first step in developing a successful, deliberate personal brand.
How much thought do you give to the concept of integrity in your life? Do you know what it really means? How would you know if and when you are out of integrity? How do others show up for you when they are in or out of integrity? Who cares?
I’ve been very aware of the concept of integrity these days. In the Being a Leader program in which I participated in Dubai recently, the instructors brought the practice of integrity to light for us. In particular, Michael Jensen, professor at Harvard Business School, has researched and written on integrity as it relates to effective exercise of leadership as a natural self-expression of ourselves. For instance, did you know that in business most people believe that integrity is a nice thing to have, but not a must?! This floored me.
As I have discovered, integrity is simple to learn about, but not easy to “be”. Basically we are in integrity when we keep our word. After all, we only have our word. What else is there? Don’t panic- there are plenty of times when we just can’t keep our word because of circumstances in our lives. If you can’t keep your word, then you must honor your word. Often, honoring your word is as simple as acknowledging you are out of integrity, apologizing and cleaning up any mess you have caused as a result.
So I started looking around in my own life at where I am in and out of integrity and why. I discovered that I, like everyone else, live in the world of slipping in and out of integrity. You know what I’m talking about. The little white lies, being a few minutes late here and there, etc. However, I also discovered that I’m in integrity more than I knew. Whew. That made me feel better. I also discovered how easy it is to honor my word when I am out of integrity. You’ll be amazed at how far a simple acknowledgment and apology goes- “I am 3 minutes late and I apologize. I don’t have a good excuse”.
In my world of personal branding, when you are out of integrity your personal brand is completely ineffective. It’s a credibility issue and a perception issue. Everyone subconsciously gets that you are out of integrity. Not only that, they don’t want to be around you, much less hire you, buy anything you are selling, promote you, go out with you, etc. You get the picture.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and think to yourself:
- How often are you in and out of integrity?
- Do you do the right thing when you are out of integrity?
- Do you have self-awareness of how your personal brand is impacted each time you are out of integrity? If not, why not?
- What’s one thing you can do to be self-aware of keeping your integrity in check?
Today we come to the final blog in a four- part series in which we look at the different ways we all stagnate; in business, in friendship, in family and in our spirituality.
As I said in all three of the other blog posts, 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.
So I took her topic post and went deeper, looking at it from one of my viewpoints. This method is how I decide what is the next best area that ‘sparkles with rightness’.
So what the heck do I mean when I say, “stagnation in your spiritual life”? Most of us avoid the topic of spirituality for similar reasons. We don’t want to be seen as tree huggers, fluffy, not taken seriously or perceived as not credible.
The list goes on and on. But if we are not even addressing our spiritual life, then how could it stagnate and impact our brand value poorly!?
I’ve found the main reason we don’t venture into our spiritual life is because of fear. This fear triggers all the reasons/excuses I listed above.
I know I personally was afraid for a long time. At first, I was afraid of looking at the concept of spirituality in my life. The definition of spirituality is different for everyone, as it should be.
I got over that fear as I evolved and changed careers from law to brand management. In fact, my spirituality and growth as a human was what helped me transition careers and be stable.
But my fear did not end there. Now that I was finding my spirituality, I found that I feared sharing what I learned and knew with my clients. In other words, I was afraid my business audience and clientele would not take me seriously if I wasn’t just talking to them about using their brand to get business and sell themselves well. I was afraid of not being taken seriously and seen as fluffy and nutty, I dare say.
Then one day not too long ago, I just got tired of flying under the radar and bringing ‘stealth spirituality’ to my work and clients. I got that I was stagnating in my message and purpose as a personal branding expert. I was only sharing and giving up half of what I knew. It wasn’t fair to me – I wasn’t self-expressed. It certainly wasn’t fair to my audience.
Since my “awakening”, I have started sharing my personal branding expertise and know-how completely differently with my audience. I share from the heart and share from my own experiences and issues. I’ve found they are applicable to everyone somehow, so everyone can relate and learn and grow and also teach me something new!
What does this mean for you? Stop and think:
- What areas of your life are you afraid to look at? Why?
- Where are you stagnating as a result of this fear?
- How can you take one small step today to be dynamic in your entire life and personal brand? What would be possible as a result of that one small change?
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?
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?