What’s in a brand? Personal branding is hailed as one of the most effective strategies to get ahead in the build world and corporate race. By learning how to package oneself in a way that highlights your most positive traits and strengths, you widen your opportunities toward personal, corporate and financial growth. You also multiply your chances of attaining personal success and happiness. Read More. (And, if it speaks to you “Like” and share it with your friends)
It is a cold winter Sunday morning. I’m running 20 minutes late. Church starts at 11 a.m. It is 11 a.m. I still have to pick up a child I’m mentoring who lives 15 minutes away. I arrive at his home. Instead of sending my usual text “I’m here,” I anxiously, but gently blow the horn. He walks to the car, opens the door, and jumps in. While pulling the seatbelt, he says, “Ms. Renee, you are the only person that trusts me.”
Showing no emotion, yet completely shocked by his eyebrow-raising statement, I wait to hear the click sound of the seatbelt that lets me know it’s okay to begin to back out of the driveway. As I put the car in reverse I’m suspiciously wondering: Am I about to get punked by a seven-year old? Shifting to a mindset lacking emotion or judgment, I asked, “Why do you say that?” Without hesitation he said, “Because every time something happens, my mom asks me what happened, but when I tell her she doesn’t believe me.” Trying to be objective, yet wiser than the mini man, I threw out another question. “So why doesn’t she believe you?” I don’t know, he replied.
I understood his bewilderment. Like what many of my adult clients face, this young child’s quandary illustrated a classic personal branding issue based on past events and behaviors. I searched my mental database looking for an age appropriate way to explain his problem and how he could solve it.
After serious contemplation, I couldn’t decide. Hesitant to guide him from pure assumption that he had created some trust challenges that needed correcting, I waited to collect more data. Driving on to our destination, I decided that reassuring him with a list of people who trusted him would suffice for the moment. I did, however, bookmark his statement intending to revisit it when I could best serve him.
Later that day we went to his favorite place, McDonald’s. After eating a six-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal, a cherry pie, and drinking some chocolate milk, he claimed he was still hungry. Surprised, I asked, “Are you sure?” Nodding his head up and down I continued, “What would you like?” He pointed to an oversized color poster hanging on the window that advertised a 10-piece Chicken McNugget for $1.99. “I want that,” he said energetically. “It’s only a dollar ninety-nine.” I didn’t offer to buy it for him right away because I wanted to give myself more time to think and make a good decision.
Finally I asked, “And what else?” He added, “A small fry.” After some savvy seven-year old negotiation, I silently opened my purse and pulled out my wallet. Looking for $3 for the $2.99 meal, I began explaining to him how to go to the counter, place his order, and pay the cashier. Watching closely from afar, I heard the cashier say, “You don’t have enough money.” Thinking that I could have made a mistake and not wanting him to feel embarrassed, I rushed over to find out where I went wrong in totaling $1.99 + $1 = $2.99.
Puzzled by the miscount, I looked probingly into the eyes of the cashier and asked, “He doesn’t have enough money?” She confidently replied, “He ordered a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, a small fry—and a smoothie.”
I smiled at her, peered down at the mini man, and gave him my you’ve-been-naughty look. I requested that she remove the smoothie from the order. I then walked slowly back to the dining area to wait patiently and wisely for him. As I perused my mental database again for the best way to handle this defining moment, I suddenly remembered the statement he had made earlier. But before I could say one word, the 4’2” fella hopped up in the seat and cleverly declared that the smoothie was for me. “I wanted to surprise you,” he announced.
I thanked him for his attempt at generosity. Then I carefully constructed an illustration that explained why surprising someone with a gift by spending their money on what he believed they wanted failed to exhibit genuine kindness. I also revisited his opening statement for the day, “Ms. Renee, you are the only person that trusts me.” This led to his first free coaching session on personal branding and its impact on his present and future relationships and endeavors.
If you are like him, you may not realize that you have a brand that you’ve been consciously or unconsciously building since you came to this planet. It’s the reason you were treated a particular way in school by your classmates and teachers. It’s what’s causing you to be overlooked and underestimated. It’s your brand that is still tagging along with you determining your personal and professional advancement.
The most important point to recall is that you have a brand. At any moment, you can assess it, redesign, and launch a new brand, which is probably the reason you are reading The Bridge to Your Brand.
If you’re just beginning the branding process, I would recommend that you complete this exercise. Write down three adjectives you think describe you. Then select and ask three people to provide you with three adjectives that describe you. Consider a family member, friend, and co-worker. Ask a customer, neighbor, or pastor. Supervisors, spouses, and children are also great contributors to this fact-finding process.
It is important that you give them permission to be honest and objective. Tell them that you are trying to grow and need their help. This will ease their mind to share their honest thoughts and feelings with you. Do not punish them for their honesty by debating, defending, or forcing them to justify their submissions. More than likely, the adjectives that you see more than once or the synonyms to those words indicate the way you’re received and perceived by others.
Even if you don’t like, agree with, or want to accept the descriptors, you have to remember that it’s the way others see you that is important during the research stage. It’s like going to the doctor; a diagnosis comes through the process of elimination. You have to figure out what is and isn’t working for you. What you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. What you like about what people are receiving and perceiving from you and what you don’t like.
As I tell my clients, stop saying, “I don’t care about what people say about me.” That’s not a true statement. You may not care about what everyone is saying about you, but you care about what some people are saying about you especially those you depend on for support. And, everyone needs support from others.
Did the adjectives that you wrote down to describe yourself match the ones given to you by others? The data collected serves as a starting point to awaken you to the fact that people have a clear opinion of you. That opinion matters, especially in environments where you spend the majority of your time—at home, work, and in other social settings. Awareness is growth. Are you awake and aware of what’s going on around you? What about what’s going on because of you?
©2011 All rights reserved. The Bridge to Your Brand Likeability, Marketability, Credibility will be available in paperback beginning August 15, 2011. Pre-order your copy today.
Hello Ms. Renee,
I need your help. I often doubt myself in most situations. For example: I often think I won’t be able to handle the classes my major requires—physics and chemistry. Math and science are my worst subjects. I can do the work, but I will just have to work so hard at it. It drives me crazy. I try to stay encouraged, and stand on God’s word, but my main phobia is failing. I get so discouraged when I don’t do as well as I would like to. Can you help me get over this crisis, please?
Thank you for your courageous question. Every day each of us are faced with thoughts, feelings, and challenges that force us to face ourselves and who we claim we are. That’s what confidence building is—evolving to a state of consciousness where we no longer freeze in doubt, but, instead, know that whatever decisions we make we can handle the outcome. In There Is More Inside, I explain that confidence is learning to trust yourself with your own life.
I’m not sure if we ever earn our own complete trust. I believe, however, that the better the decisions; the better the outcomes. Successful outcomes develop the trust that one needs to build a confident relationship with him/herself.
As I access your email and concerns it is clear that you are, as an older and wiser friend shared with me, “turning on yourself.” The admission that you “often think I won’t be able to handle the classes…” tells me that there is a battle. Like an argument with a loved one, internal battles drain our energy and occupy needed thought space for other important matters. This is what causes chaos and creates fog in our lives.
Quantum leaps always start in the mind. You may have faith to begin the journey, but do you have the belief system to sustain yourself over the course of the trip? As in your case, you had the faith to start college. Do you believe that you can finish it? It is important to have faith. It is equally important to have belief in the faith that you claim you have. You can’t “stand on God’s word.” You have to know and understand the laws and principles so that you can move in God’s word.
You claim that, “Math and science are my worst subjects…it drives me crazy. I get discouraged when I don’t do as well as I would like to.” I hope that the results don’t come as a surprise to you. Words travel farther than you can see them go. Creating the life you ask them to create. Think of it this way. If you sent a package via one of the express carriers to China, you would expect it to arrive safely. Every word you speak arrives safely to the Creator. The Creator then assists you in creating what you’ve asked for. But, remember, you asked for it. It’s never about what you can or cannot do. You’re not the first person challenged in a subject. And, you most certainly, won’t be the last.
What did the individuals who were in your shoes do? They studied more, got a tutor, and joined a study group. I don’t believe that you are in a crisis. The person who doesn’t have access to food, shelter, clothing, education, and safety is in a crisis. You are learning, growing, and evolving into the person that the internal, real you knows that you are. When you seek, you will find the answer. Remain Powerful and always remember that There Is More Inside.
2009 © SRS Productions, Inc., S. Renee
The response is only the opinion of S. Renee. She doesn’t state any claims or make any demands that her opinion is right or that anyone should follow her advice. If you feel that you should seek medical assistance you are encouraged to do so.