Your personal brand is essentially who you are (authentically) and what impact you have on the world around you. This is who you are in your truest form, free from the layers of disguise you may feel yourself adopt when you think you need to change in order to be ‘good enough’.
A sincere understanding and respect for who you are as an individual and what you really want, informs all areas of your life. From your romantic relationships through to the professional decisions you make, a real connection with who you are as a person helps you to make the right choices for you. It effectively gets you and keeps you on track towards finding what will ultimately make you happy.
Nowhere else is a sense of personal brand more important than in running a fulfilling and successful business.
As business women our businesses are both an expression and extension of who we are. Running a business presents us with an incredible opportunity to live authentically. That is, doing what we enjoy, living by our values and making our impact on the world.
To reach our true potential we are best placed to build a business around our unique personal brand and stand out from the crowd for being ourselves. Developing products and services around our innate strengths increases the chances of these being successful as we are operating upon our natural abilities. It also helps others, whether clients or potential business associates, to understand (or ‘get us’) and our business brand quickly & easily. This helps people to trust in us and paves the way for real and valuable business relationships, which in turn contributes towards success.
Whose Shoes are these Anyway?
When we are not being our true selves it can feel like we are trying to walk in other people’s shoes rather than our own. This feels slightly uncomfortable (like walking in a pair that are 2 sizes too small..) and limits our development personally and professionally.
In mimicking other people that we view as being somehow ‘better than us’, this attempt to blend in with the status quo means we modify our self. This type of chameleon effect is something we experience typically when growing up and trying to fit in with our peers. However this is not an experience that is exclusive to teenagers. As adults when we doubt who we are, we too can resort to adopting a façade in order to be better, more acceptable or how we perceive we are expected to be, in any given situation.
Are you experiencing the chameleon effect in your life currently? What situation makes you act differently? Where do you find yourself being inauthentic? Why is this? What are you telling yourself about you in that situation?
It is both a wise and successful strategy to replace trying to be what we are not (and will not ever be) with embracing all that we are, to achieve what we want in life and in business. After all it is not possible, nor should it be desirable, to keep up a masquerade for long. Being anything other than ourselves is tiring and counter-productive on many levels. Our energies would be better spent on giving our true self a presence and walking confidently in our own shoes.
Who is the Real You?
Harnessing who you are (who you really are) is fundamental to achieving your full potential and living a fulfilled life. This equals achieving what you want to achieve in business also.
The first step is to take a good affirmative look at yourself and identify all of your great attributes. This is effectively like performing a positive evaluation on yourself which draws out your strengths, skills, attributes and expertise. These characteristics are distinctive to you and are your tools which, if utilised, will help you progress.
To work through this process sit in a place that inspires you or at least helps you think laterally, so get away from the space where you usually work or your home. Then on a piece of paper write “Who I Am” in the middle and begin to map out your:
– What things do you find easy to do?
– What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What comes naturally?
– How do you positively impact people around you? For instance, do you take on the role of Supporter, Motivator, or Rock for others?
– What expertise do people frequently seek in you?
This ‘painting the picture’ exercise is something I touched upon in my previous article Identity Matters in September. If you find the process of listing your positive traits (all the good stuff we often overlook because of being conditioned to focus on the things we don’t like) a little tricky then a way of unlocking all of this is to take a different and less direct approach. An effective method that I use with clients frequently can be found under the ‘Your Strengths’ section within this article Identify Matters
Does it really matter?
Once you have a picture of who you are, it is then important to add what really matters to you. To pinpoint the things that are central to your life, complete the following self defining statements using your good old friend, Ms Gut Instinct:
The people or things that are most important to me are: ………………..
It is really important for me to feel: …………………………………………..
It is really important for me to have: …………………………………………
In my lifetime it is very important for me to achieve: ……………………..
You now have your personal brand blueprint; an outline of who you are and what matters to you.
Did the process itself highlight anything for you? Do you think you are utilising all that you are in your personal and professional life? Do you have untapped resources which, if applied, could transform your business? Make you happier perhaps?
What’s Your Personal Impact in Business?
Once you have your unique blueprint it is time to decide what you would like to do with it in relation to your business. What impact do you want you & your business to have? What mark do you want to make?
To reveal the personal impact you would like to have in business and how you are going to create this, ask yourself the Dynamic Q’s below in relation to your business stage.
Starting a Business with Your Personal Impact
Starting a business is a brave and bold step for anyone to take. If you are contemplating making the jump or have recently started your own business, it is worth considering how who you are fits into the type of business you will run. Rather than look to your competitors who are already established for inspiration & direction, ask yourself:
- What is the key motivation behind me running my own business? What’s my major aim?
- How am I going to do things my way?
- What are the attributes in my personal brand that I can apply to form my USP?
- What strengths of mine could be utilised to offer exceptional services?
- How can I use my personal attributes to stand out from my competitors?
Begin with who you are in mind and you are guaranteed to create a business that stands out from the crowd. Uniqueness and truth are very attractive qualities in business, magnetising both clients and significant business associates towards you.
Growing a Business with Your Personal Impact
A business demands a constant flow of time, energy, money and ideas. Pausing to connect with your personal brand and the impact you want to make (i.e. why you started the business in the first place) can transform your business over night. Grow your business successfully by asking yourself:
- What areas in my business am I not being myself entirely & why?
- How can I grow the business based upon who I am authentically?
- What products or services could I offer that are in line with me as a person?
- Does my branding reflect the real me? If not, how can it represent me more effectively?
- Am I on track to creating the kind of business I set out to create?
Shaping your business into something that both embraces and compliments your innate personal brand will not only feel great but will open up the right kind of opportunities for your business to grow. You are your business and the correct framework will make running it feel like a broadening of your interests and progression will come naturally.
As I mentioned in the opening, having a strong awareness of who we are has a positive effect throughout our lives. We are who we are and fighting against ourselves not only drains our emotions but it drains our businesses of opportunity, potential and money too. In life, have you ever noticed that when things feel right that they just flow? Good things just happen? This is thanks to the undercurrent of authenticity and it is this truth that can help you take your business where you wish to take it. Seek more truth, more genuine expression of who you are (both in your interactions with people and in the services you offer) and you will just know what to do to make your business the success it can, it will be.