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Getting it all together
Ready, Set, Go!
When I speak on the topic of personal branding, one or two people in the crowd always ask me when would be a good time for them to start building their personal brands. If I can give a one-word answer for this question, it would be– YESTERDAY!
Personally, I feel your brand building exercise should start as early as possible. Ideally, you should start it during your student life. Of course, brands evolve over time and you can make course corrections as you grow.
If you wait for a good time to “look into” this personal branding exercise, I can assure you that it won’t happen in the near future. Here’s the simple reason. There is no immediate, short-term beneﬁt that you will receive through personal brand building. There will always be several projects that will yield short-term results that will compete for your attention and most often, these other projects WIN!
As you can see, the odds are against you. The only thing that has the capability to charge-ahead against all these odds will be your commitment and actions to build your personal brand!
Along the Way…
Of course, they say that the project that has begun well is already half done. The other half is still tough. You still need to work VERY hard to take a project to completion.
Now, that’s for the normal projects. Think about your personal branding project and there is no end to it. It is executed over your lifetime. The goals keep changing because you keep growing and discovering new strengths within you and probably raise the bar for yourself.
Along the way, the marketplace changes and the relevance for what you were bringing forth to the marketplace may increase or decrease. What will save you is the high degree of ﬂexibility and ability to re-organize yourself to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.
A personal brand cannot exist in isolation to the marketplace. As the marketplace changes, you need to transform yourself to continue to be relevant to the changed marketplace.
The New Practice
Any new practice requires discipline. If the new practice does not provide any short-term results, keeping the discipline is hard. Investment in your personal brand may take time away from things that will provide instant gratiﬁcation. A large majority of people will be engaged in activities that would provide instant gratiﬁcation. It requires tremendous discipline and willpower to NOT be one of them.
This new practice requires a new level of commitment. Commitment to something that will provide a return only in the long-term.
The best way to inculcate this new practice is to get into the habit of working on practices that will give return only in the long-term.
Think Public Speaking.
Think Relationship Building.
Think Healthy Eating.
Think Personal Branding.
Think LONG TERM!
Can you imagine watching a ball game where they don’t keep scores? You will be bored to death sooner than later.
Same with your personal branding project. You’ve got to create metrics for your project and keep a score. Otherwise, you may be engaging in activity that is not contributing to the cause. It is very easy to get carried away and not see any results for a long time and you can just explain it away saying that a project like this will not have any short-term results.
At the risk of contradicting myself, let me say that you will see the side beneﬁts of building a personal brand along the way.
If your personal brand is gaining more power, you should see some or all of the following beneﬁts:
- Your requests get fulﬁlled faster: You make a request and people are eager to fulﬁll them- at least better than before.
- You get more people wanting to be friends with you: People are interested in connecting to inﬂuencers who are connected to other inﬂuencers.
- More opportunities open up for you: You may get requests to write an article, speak at a conference, new job oﬀers or simply a faster promotion at your work.
I can think of many more or you can think of them too. The point is that you will see signs that your investment on personal branding will start paying oﬀ. Maybe not a home run. A single here and a double there. What you need is a scorecard to ensure that you are not living in a fantasy world and chasing a rainbow in the name of personal branding.
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