|When Do We Start Creating Our Brand?|
My wife uses to say that I meet with someone I know in every place I go and I have always had to agree with her.
One of those many times, I had a very entertaining and enlightening exchange with a woman. I'll let you know why I found it enlightening later on this post.
It turned out that we had been neighbors in Venezuela, during my teenage years, and she studied at a high school located two blocks away from my house and which we (my teenage buddies and I) used to visit every year, during Carnival celebrations, to bath all the girls who studied there with water, flour and everything we could think of, as soon as they were coming out through the main gate.
When she told me she studied right there, during those years of my life, my face turned pale, I felt an “I-don't-know-what-it-is” kind of feeling through my entire body, and I was only able to tell her: "Well, you know, I really hope you were not among the victims of one of our carnival visits".
Our personal brand has always been there with us.
Everything we’ve done, everything we haven’t done, our good decisions, those not so good, our good deeds and those that make us look away in shame, they are all part of our personal brand.
Your brand can not be created, because it's been established for a long time.
It’s not something we can create as if it was coming brand new on a box, because it has always been out there. That's why I said the encounter with this woman was enlightening to me: Your personal brand can’t be created, because it has been created for a long time, both your personal and professional brand, although nowadays, we usually refer to your "personal brand" when we truly mean your professional one, but for the purpose of this post it’s the same thing.
Think of your personal (and professional) brand as the footprint that has been etched in people with whom you've connected throughout all your life, in a personal, sentimental or professional way. And it’s a footprint that you’ve already created, even without realizing it, even without being 100% aware of it.
Why is it important to recognize that your brand has always been there with you?
Because somehow, both professionally and personally, we have to take responsibility for our own actions and all their consequences. Not only for our actions in the past, but also for all the things we are doing today and for those we’re intending to do in the future.
Honesty, humility and transparency, the core values of a strong personal brand
That’s the main reason why I will always defend honesty, humility and transparency as the core values you need to nurture to maintain a strong personal brand:
- Honesty .......... I guess it does not require further explanation.
- Humility: to be able to sincerely recognize your own weaknesses and strengths.
- Transparency: to learn to live with and professionally develop yourself knowing all of this.
And to explain it better, I offer you an example: You are an entrepreneur and want to develop your business. You’ve just come across a company with which you would definitely like to do big business. It would be your "dream client". (Who doesn’t want one?)
While you were doing your homework, you find out that the person you should talk with is called John Doe. His name sounds familiar, but no matter how hard you try to find connections, you just can not.
Finally you get to schedule an appointment with Mr. Doe. When you walk into his office, he stares at you for a couple of seconds, and after a brief pause, he says: "Your face is really familiar to me. You are (please insert your name here). We went to primary school together. Do you remember me?"
Your face pales, you squirm uncomfortably on your chair and start to feel a “You-don't-know-what-it-is” feeling inside. You just can’t make the connection. He looks familiar to you but that’s that. You just can't remember.
From now on, you can put an end to this story the you want. It can be either good or bad. It doesn’t make a difference.
The point is that you realize how your brand has always been there with you, even in those moments in which you weren’t even thinking that someday you were going to have your own business, let alone thinking about having a buddy from primary school be your “most desirable business prospect”.
Remember that your personal brand is the footprint you leave behind in all those people with whom you have related, whether in a personal or professional way, throughout your entire life. It may have been a positive, negative or neutral footprint, but it will always be there.
Photo credit : slasny / 123RF Stock Photo
Related post in this blog:
What Does a Barbie™ Have to Do With Your Personal Brand?