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Your posture is your outlook towards your life. Your posture will inﬂuence your interactions with the world around you.
Your posture plays a major role in the way you look at Personal Branding. Here are some things to watch out for:
Tom, Dick and Harry
“Your Mental Models”
Your mental models about yourself and the world can be limiting factors to build your personal brand. Your mental model about yourself in its simplest form can be your self- image – who do you think you are. Your Mental Model about the world in simplest form can be ‘how do you think the world is – how do you think the world operates.’
If the mental models about you and the world are not powerful, you may not be building a powerful personal brand.
The problem with decoding mental models is that unless checked, your mental models about you and your world are TRUTHS for you. They are the reality. They are truths similar to the truths such as gravity or shape of the earth. Since they are “truths” for you – you don’t question them. You can get lucky if your mental models are empowering, but that is not common.
How do you get out of it?
The simple answer is to get an external help. A mentor who is powerful can help you decode your mental models and reframe them to help you succeed.
Me, Me, Me is NOT Me
“You don’t want to show oﬀ”
When you “show oﬀ”, the only person you are concerned about is yourself.
Personal branding is diﬀerent.
For now, think of “showing oﬀ” as being the lowest (or even the negative) aspect of the “Personal Branding” scale.
When I talk to people, many of them don’t know the diﬀerence. Since most people don’t want to “show oﬀ”, they put oﬀ building their personal brand building exercise. You don’t have to be a braggart or a self-promoter to build your own positive personal brand.
Also, you can reveal your credentials (which is important) without bragging. The secret there is relevance.
Imagine the two scenarios. You are the VP of Sales and are making a pitch.
The ﬁrst scenario: You can start the conversation with something like, “I am the VP of Sales for BigBrandInc. I have 22 years of experience and …”
The second scenario: You can start the conversation with something like, “I am the VP of Sales for BigBrandInc. I looked at your company and the project in discussion. I want to tell you about some of the solutions that me and our team have created in the past that may be of interest to you…”
In the ﬁrst case, there was no relevance established – leading to a feeling of bragging. In the second case, you establish the relevance and now the client is interested in learning more.
People don’t like to hear you brag but they deﬁnitely want to know your credentials and if they are looking to do business with you, they want to know how your credentials, experience, connections etc. are relevant to their business.
A word of caution: As you start building your personal brand, and especially in the transition phase (when you don’t yet have a personal brand) there will be others who will say that “You are a show-oﬀ”. It is up to you to have the mental strength to NOT cave in to conform with the rest of the world and keep at it.
Personal Branding or any project that requires a long-term commitment is hard. If you want a good reason to give up in the middle – you will ﬁnd way more than one.
“You Want Short-Term Beneﬁts”
We are a “driven” society today. Everyone is looking for getting what they want RIGHT NOW. Public companies are operating on a 90-day cycle and private companies are operating on a cycle imposed to them by their current investors or “would be” investors. Everyone is running like crazy to “get” what they want NOW. The unpublished theme everywhere is “instant gratiﬁcation.”
However, this is not a case of ignorance or ﬂawed logic about the need for long-term commitments. Everyone accepts that it takes nine months for a baby to grow from concept to completion. Similarly, people accept that a fruit tree must grow for years before it can bear fruit. However, when I say that it can take years before you see beneﬁts from a personal branding program, people are not happy.
Knowledge workers often focus their eﬀorts on projects that produce short-term results. They may not want to spend time on anything that won’t yield measurable short-term results.
When you learn a new technological skill, it can create an instant impact on your career. Imagine that you invest a whole year learning AJAX. At the end of that year, you’ve expanded your skill-set. You can now apply for jobs and projects that require these skills. However, you may not ever see a job listing that states “the ideal candidate will have spent at least one year developing his/her personal brand.” You can make many choices, such as learning new skills, that will yield short-term beneﬁts. However, personal branding is almost always a long-term eﬀort.
Thinking short-term is in our blood. I describe it as “being addicted to Newton’s Third Law.” Let me explain.
Most of us remember Newton’s Third Law in Physics – “Action and reaction are equal and opposite.”
I get a feeling that we use this law more often than required. I have been trapped so many times and I see many people around me getting trapped into this. Let me explain. There is an insatiable desire for instant gratiﬁcation at work and in life. Most of us want instant results. Turn on the TV and you will see weight loss programs promising to slash oﬀ a few pounds in days or over a weekend.
Many of us have tried to apply this at work and probably over extended this law. While we want to be revolutionary, in life and in work, things mostly happen in an evolutionary fashion. Things take time and we need an extra dose of patience to wait for things to happen (in this fast paced world).
Many times, Newton’s Third Law still applies, but with a time lag. Take for example – public speaking. We can start learning this art and it would take years to master. If we take a public speaking class and expect miracles to happen on the very next day, it would seem a bit odd.
Personal Branding is just like that – results come in but after a TIME LAG.
In fact, I can say that Personal Branding requires more than Long-Term Commitment. It requires a Lifetime Commitment.
It’s your life. It’s your lifetime. Your personal brand is your identity over your lifetime.
You Must Be Kidding!
“You Are Not Willing to Pay the Price”
Some people want the beneﬁts of personal branding, but they don’t want to pay the price—the time and energy required to build a personal brand.
Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other. This is more of an attitude issue where people “just want a sweet deal.”
You can avoid paying the price but you can’t avoid the consequences of not paying the price. Let me explain. If Bob and Jack are equally competent knowledge workers but Bob has a more powerful personal brand, Jack cannot avoid the threat of getting lower pay or “not so cool” projects as compared to Bob.
I always say, on important things – you either pay the price or you pay the price for not paying the price. In other words, if you are not willing to pay the price, you have no right to expect the rewards associated with the outcomes.
“It May Not Seem Important”
Despite all of the reasons I’ve listed, some people still don’t see personal brands as important to their lives. These people are often very smart people who have heard about personal brands from diﬀerent sources but have never become sold on the idea.
You don’t see a return on investment (ROI) from Personal Branding the next day. So if you are looking for short-term returns with your investments, Personal Branding may not seem important for you.
You may see this as a buzzword or a passing fad. It’s here today and it will go away tomorrow. Well, if everyone thinks that way and not act on building their personal brand, you may still not lose anything. However, there is a personal branding revolution going on in the world and people are embracing it. You can join the revolution or sit on the sidelines and watch. Your choice, really!
Remember that brand premium can come in many ways. It could be that you might earn a promotion faster than your peers or you might be the pick for the next cool project.
As you grow, invest and grow your personal brand, it can be your unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace.
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