Thoughts on Personal Branding

Cut the Shit, Attack the Bull.

The first and most important thing is to really understand who you are because if you don’t start with self-reflection, you can’t communicate or exemplify your brand to those around you. Your brand is not about what people think about you because what they think is a subconscious decision made based on many factors that may or may not generate accurate facts (and which is outside of your control). What you can control is YOUR branding, the communication channel in which YOU are the CEO i.e. making executive decisions around what people hear, see, and feel. It’s a channel that allows you to communicate your narrative, your story, your character, morals, values, and standards to every stakeholder in your life; that’s what personal branding is about.

Do you remember a time when you had a presentation and you walked in the room feeling like “I have no idea what the heck I’m about to say”? You didn’t study the material, rehearse well enough, and prepare and you see a crowd of 100 people staring at you, the lights are on, you start sweating, and the moderator says; “whenever you’re ready.” Branding is the exact same thing. If you don’t self-reflect, understand yourself, know what you’re about, and what you want to communicate to the world, when you get on that stage i.e. social media and exemplify your personal brand, you’ll be putting up an act, faking it, bullshitting people, and/or being someone you’re not. To avoid this, you have to cut the shit and attack the bull.

Social Media Isn’t the Problem, You Are.

Every tool can be used for good or bad intentions. A knife can save or end a life. Social media is a tool that works in the same fashion. I find it entertaining when people say how stupid the Kardashians are. I usually comment back by saying, “then we must be even stupider for allowing them to be stupid.” The last I checked, Kim had 82 million followers. The reason why these platforms have absorbed our focus and attention is because we now have the ability to look inside the world of anybody who chooses to make theirs visible – this is something our predecessors never had at their disposal. What you choose to use it for is completely up to you i.e. you can use it to take pictures of your food, dog, clothes, you can use it to make people laugh or use it to motivate people. Social media isn’t the problem, you are.

Guard Reputation with Your Life.

As soon as you walk out of your front door, the lights are on; people see what you’re wearing, what you say, how you act, your mannerisms, and your nonverbal cues which go towards forming the personal brand people associate you with. What people think about you is correlated to the things you do and the things you say. Warren Buffet said it best, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to ruin it.” Guard reputation with your life.