(7 Minute Read)
It sure feels like we live in a unique time where self-awareness and mindfulness are more common discussion topics and focal points for people than ever before. The power of intentionally authoring your personal brand is becoming more and more significant as people get in touch with and choose what really truly matters to them. Self-awareness and mindfulness have inspired people to live with more authenticity, vulnerability, and courage and there seems to be a large benefit for all of us in this.
The ability to leverage authenticity and vulnerability as a competitive advantage is greater than it’s ever been before. This goes for corporate brands and it goes for individuals and teams of bold humans. Authenticity and vulnerability serve as tools for leaders, creatives, sales professionals, technologists, storytellers and for really anyone who would consider other people’s efforts a critical ingredient in getting significant & important shit done. Being authentic and vulnerable allows us to connect with each other and when we connect quickly and deeply we then get to create, collaborate, pivot, adjust, invent and execute. Authenticity and vulnerability also serve us individually as we pursue and create lives of meaning and purpose, and as we leap in to the unknown and face the fear of uncertainty or failure. If you know Denver, there’s an abundance of bold people craving and creating community where they can risk failure and have their back and hearts covered by a group of convicted inspiring confidants; just google “business incubator” or “start-up week” in your local city and see how failure is being celebrated. This is happening all over the country. Authenticity, vulnerability and courage are bedrock traits of the innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity.
In the face of failure people are honoring, embracing and celebrating their unique passions and skills and rocking their weird everywhere you look - in the business world, the start-up world, the creative world, across generations, and around the globe. The power of self-awareness and mindfulness is at the root of this, in conjunction with having the courage to take intentional action towards a specific vision even in the face of life’s unknowns. Add in the power of all the digital channels in which people can showcase, celebrate and honor their story and genuinely connect with others, and we are experiencing a wildly unique time in which we can make a big contribution to the people and communities around us by being authentic and bold. To truly thrive, we must get in touch with ourselves to unleash ourselves on to something significant. It's a powerful and invigorating human act to adamantly choose how one contributes to the world, and to align your unique weird ways and your skills with focused energy and hard work. The return on investment of intentionality is always absurdly favorable in my experience. So, I say be intentional, choose what you stand for, and tell the world what you are up to. Personal branding is actively choosing the actual words and the stories of the experiences, passions, and skills that best express your current vision of how and what you intend to contribute to the world. These are the words that make you come alive!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman
6 key benefits of authoring your personal brand:
It serves as a launching pad, wherever you are at in the game. Personal growth is an ongoing process that can propel each of us, and it is very helpful to craft and author an “initial starting point” of sorts. It starts with a declaration of what you are up to today, based on everything leading up to today - this is the beginning of your personal brand story. It’s a declaration or a promise to the world about what you stand for and why, and what your focus is on. From this kind of foundation, you are poised and intention is fostered.
If everything is important, then nothing is important. Life is full of incredible experiences, people, opportunities, and places. If you have the means, then explore it all. But the abundance of “things” vying for our attention is absurd. Your personal brand is a filter through which you can view the world, make decisions and prioritize how and where you spend your professional and personal time and energy. Business opportunities, adventure, new jobs, and socializing will come in and out of your life from all angles. There’s an abundance of stimuli in our worlds, so how do we choose what’s best? Inherently we all know what is good for us or distracting, but writing it down serves in the process of taking responsibility for possibility. This filter dramatically aides in prioritizing key people to call upon, resources to acquire, and objectives that must be addressed as you begin to forge ahead.
Be more creative, be more inspiring. Your personal brand fosters an awareness of how you uniquely contribute and empower other people in your life, and how other people can support and propel you. People support you when they truly understand how they can contribute. Enrolling other people in your vision depends on whether you can articulate what you are up to with passion and conviction. When you do this well, the right people around you come alive to help and root you on. This fuels a confidence that affords ingenuity and imagination. Ultimately this affects your ability to influence others and translates to your ability to motivate, lead, collaborate, and create.
It helps you navigate the inevitable obstacles of the journey. There will be many occasions where you feel set back by life’s circumstances. Some obstacles will be real and some will be perceived. Your personal brand is both your compass and the tinder to your fire. It allows you dig deep in the face of real and imagined adversity and re-ignite your focus when you need it most.
Action, movement, change, and progress. Ultimately, to inspire others and cause a change in the world, you must present your ideas in a way that gets people to take notice and act. Your personal brand is your rally cry! It affords traction and leads to action.
Life and success, and your impact are an iteration of your story. Your personal brand evolves as you gain more knowledge, more experience and more insight on the world. Personal branding is an ongoing cycle of discovery, prioritization, action and accountability, growth and reflection.
People appear to be seeking to “know thyself” more than ever before. Maybe this is just more visible or accessible now because of the internet, but regardless, I’m inspired by the people who believe that continuous learning and the pursuit of self-knowledge fosters growth, and growth fosters possibility. People thrive when they can envision the new possibilities of who they can become, and how the world can improve or change. Right now, at the tips of our fingers we can tap into worlds and cultures oceans away, and we can find inspiration and connection from people, places and possibility from around the world. The world feels so accessible and has made many people in to human bundles of raging intrigue, curiosity and wonder. Our imaginations are able to collide with so many other imaginations, and that is expanding how we experience the world. From this dynamic, the world is demanding authenticity. You can hear, feel and experience authenticity in how successful and notable brands are telling their story and marketing to us. These brands are selling their “why” or their purpose, and producing stories that connect the viewer to what possibilities the brand can create in their lives. And then people act, engage and buy. Watch Simon Sinek’s “start with why,” and then watch these YETI Presents docu-mercials.
And here’s simply a beautiful story about seeking purpose to heal the soul.
YETI sells coolers but rarely sells you on the how or what of the cooler. They sell you on the why of the cooler. If you are inspired to buy YETI it's because it resonates with you to love fishing with all your heart. Or to love duck hunting. Or to love captaining a river boat. Or to love the outdoors. YETI has an entire series showcasing people passionately living out their authentic “why” and their personal brand through adventure, and that’s how YETI connects to and inspires its audience. And that sells coolers. Really rad and expensive coolers. They are also ultimate storytellers, and much of their strategy involves maximizing technology to compel people through incredible imagery and the authentic adventure.
Intuitively we all know our personal brand in some fashion. It’s who we feel we are when we are in the zone. The goal is to amplify the best version of yourself, and to be intentional with how and with whom you spend your time. Listen to Seth Godin on Tim Ferriss’ podcast at time mark 00:27:30 talk about personal branding and actively authoring your story. It’s our values, our passions, our skills, our vision for the future, it’s who we aspire to be. What I challenge you to do is to put in writing. What’s your mantra? Your manifesto? Your promise to the world? Write it down. Read it to yourself a hundred times and scrutinize every word for what’s essential. Write it and re-write it periodically. Make it a quarterly practice.
It’s strategic and empowering to know thyself these days. There was a time when it mattered less, and our roles and opportunities were perhaps more matter of fact and straight forward. I sense it’s more important than ever before, today. We all have the chance to make a significant contribution and the world is calling out for that. When you strive to know thyself and seek to always grow and learn, you give the world the best chance to thrive.
Thrival Concepts is hosting three two-night workshops before the end of the year specifically designed to provide you with a process to develop an authentic vision for 2017, a process to craft, author and constantly refine your personal brand, and the inspiration to charge ahead into the new year. Sign up now!