Only quite recently I have come to understand the importance of our personal brand.
I spoke about my core beliefs before and how these are a state of being and a driving force in how I live my life. Authenticity is undoubtedly the most important one : self-knowledge, self-awareness and having the confidence to be myself throughout my actions, both in my personal and professional life. These make up my moral compass.
But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I fully understood how authenticity and personal branding are linked.
I was conducting a mentoring discussion with a young entrepreneur who was explaining his business idea to me and his challenge of taking his photography concept out to market. I couldn’t fault his approach in terms of planning and building a prospect list of potential new clients yet it all felt very theoretical and detached. Frankly his pitch was boring.
Where was the person behind the idea? So I started probing him about what had motivated him to become a photographer and join forces with a friend to build a photo and film business; what were his drivers and motivations and what defined success for him. Only then did I see his eyes lit up and a beautiful smile emerge…He talked passionately about his childhood, were he grew up, his parents and the local community he belonged to and how he wanted to bring his own personal style to photography and film documentaries about that community.
That fire in his eyes and that passion is what people want to see when dealing with him and frankly it is what will make him sell successfully.
And that’s when I understood: if authenticity is at the centre of our being, then our personal brand needs to be an articulation and reflection of that central driving force. Therefore your personal brand needs to be much more than “just” your business elevator pitch or your marketing imagery.
If Authenticity is your x-factor — that thing that no one can recreate or even put their finger on. It’s that thing that makes people say, “I don’t know what it is, but I like you.” Then Personal Brand is the total experience you offer to anyone you are dealing with and what you represent as an individual; as a business entrepreneur; as a leader.
I love the term Brand Energy as it really sums up how these 2 concepts are interlinked : it is the energy that is embodied by someone who fully accepts themselves for everything they are – ” the good – the bad and the ugly”. This is what attracts people to you and what inspires.
Your audience, followers, fans and clients are inspired by how you show up in the world. When you commit to being seen, when you commit to self-care and inner growth, you become an authentic and inspiring leader. You become a mirror of what’s possible for others.
I was mindful of my newly gained insight when asked about my career learnings at the Hackney Council Entrepreneurship Conference (part of Global Enterprise Week ) and shared the following with the audience :
Be mindful that YOU are your Personal Brand.
Be Proud of who you are and what you represent.
Yes, be Proud of being a woman in business.
Be Brave in the choices you make.
And Inspire to make sure you take people with you.
BE PROUD – BE BRAVE – INSPIRE!
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