Yes, this question is a serious one. If you are ready for upward mobility, but you look around and notice that people are climbing and you are left behind, I want you to take a serious look at your Personal Brand.
What is a Personal Brand, you may ask. According to Wikipedia: “Personal Brand is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” This concept was coined by Tom Peters in his Best-Selling Book In Search for Excellence.
Now, would it help, if you take a minute to assess yourself as a product?
What would that product be?
Now, you may ask, Fay, what is a brand then? The dictionary calls it an identifying mark (burned on livestock/criminals or slaves). I know this is a different context, but this is what the dictionary calls “branding.“
As an example, if you were to assess yourself as a car brand, what type of car would you be? Would you be a reliable Honda, a safe Volvo or a classic Mercedes? What would your brand be?
So, can we conclude that in today’s market, we see a brand as to what and how people think of you or a product when they see or say your name? It’s the emotion and thought of you that comes up with the thought or the sound of your name.
What does this mean when we talk about your career? Do you have any control over what people say or think about you? Can you influence someone’s view of you? Sure, you can, we see it every day in film, in industry, and in life. When you make a change, for instance, to your hair color, style or shape, you change how others see you. When you want to make a change, you make it; sometimes it is forced upon you, sometimes you make the decision yourself. Either way, the decision to change or not is still yours.
But, now, how many of us really take the time to make focused changes to attract a career, a position or a project we really want. How many times do we make these changes with intention? Most of the time, we either make the changes or we don’t without giving it a second thought. We go with the flow of our daily lives without being strategic about our goals, careers and the decisions we need to make to obtain our desires.
I am not suggesting that you poll your friends, family or even your boss every time you want to make a personal or a professional change. What I am suggesting is for you become strategic, look at your goals then make the necessary changes, improvements and actions to bring your goal into fruition.
There are many misconceptions about personal branding in the workplace but the most damaging one is believing that your “Brand” does not matter, that if you work hard enough and people see your “efforts” you will be rewarded. I am sorry to break it to you but, like cars, every brand advertises; their targets may be different, but they all advertise with the intent of capturing buyers’ attention.
When you look in the mirror, what job do you see yourself advertising for? An assistant? A specialist? A boss? It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, the primary question is: Were you intentional in your choice?
In my practice, I see how well-educated and professional women find it difficult to understand why they are being overlooked for promotions, why they are not viewed or considered as boss material. I will look them in the eyes and ask, do you act, talk and show up like a boss or an assistant? “Be clear and be intentional” is always my advice. Know what you want and work towards it. It is the only way to get where you want to go.
The decision is yours.