I think we need to simply define your personal brand.
On a high level, you can think of your personal brand as “how others perceive you.”
You can define your own brand, and try and have others perceive you in a certain way, but if your actions, words, the way you dress, etc. contrast how you want others to perceive you, your brand will likely be different than what you want it to be.
You can NOT define your own brand, and let it just happen. But then you risk letting others define it for you. This might be okay. Maybe you are too busy being awesome (or, doing the right things) to try and communicate your intended brand to others. But what you might think is productive and busy, others might define as reclusive, absent, stand-offish, etc.
Should you define or ignore your own brand?
Here’s one of my favorite stories (as I remember it)… many years ago I worked for Don Aslett, a professional cleaner and self-made multi-millionaire. He had a different career path set up, but ultimately chose to stay in the cleaning profession.
One day, after finishing a school wood floor, he went to get the principal or facility manager to show the job was done. He made a critical error, which turned out to be a great learning moment.
He said, “what do you think?”
Don was thinking “this is the best wood floor job I’ve ever done. Surely he’ll recognize it and praise our amazing work.”
Instead of that reaction, the boss started to nit-pick and find problems. What should have been congratulations and praising turned into “well, fix this, and fix that, and here’s a problem.” The problems were outside the scope of the job, and outside of Don’s control.
It totally went the wrong way. Don says he should NOT have asked what the person thought, but he should have said “Look at this job! This is one of the best finished floors I’ve ever seen! Let me tell you why this is so good!” And then he would list the reasons why it was good, focusing on the positive.
Do we ask people who we are, and what they think of us, and what our strengths are? SURE – we can get great information on how we are perceived.
But don’t stop there. Tell others what we do, how we do it, why we are so good or special.
I am a huge advocate of YOU defining your brand, and communicating it out to others.
What is your personal brand?