Welcome back to Branding YOU! This is the second video of our mini series. This is all about YOUR future brand. What is it you want your brand to be? What is it you want to put out there? What is it you want for yourself in the future?
Hopefully by now you have been through the first video – the one all about self awareness. If not, I recommend you do that first: Brand YOU! The importance of Self Awareness
Those of you who have would have had time by now to think about yourself: what you value; what you are proud of; who inspired you; your strengths; your areas of development etc etc. That’s certainly gonna help at this second stage.
People tell us that finding their future, finding their career path is probably one of the hardest things they do and we get a lot of calls about that. We try to help people with that conundrum. Certainly younger people find it really hard, they are often pressured into finding their passion in life, choosing their major in college, their first role. But you haven’t really learnt about yourself yet and people are asking you what you’re passionate about – I don’t think that works.
But what we do want you to do is to start to think about what IS the BRAND you want to put out there? What is it you want people to start saying about you differently? You know as you looked at your past and you looked at the things that you really liked about yourself – which ones of those super-powers or strengths are you going to amplify? How are you going to do that? Which areas of blind spot or opportunity for your development do you want to work on and change – so that you start to hear different things about yourself. That’s really important.
If you are lucky enough and have had some experience, maybe you could think about something that is more aspirational than passion. Aspirational things make you feel more happy, you breath better, it’s where you are doing your best work. I often ask people to think back to your last week or two, which day was it that you felt the best? What were you actually doing in the moment when you felt great? Try to think about that and how it could take you forward to your career path, to your future, to your new brand.
Some people tell us they have been put in a box by their company or colleagues, and that they can’t get out of that image. They have been GIVEN a certain brand. I often turn that back onto people and ask, ‘Is that something you have done?’. I get a lot of people that want to tell me, ‘I want to be seen as a leader in this company, but I’m now just Mr or Mrs Special Projects’ or ‘I get given all the tough stuff – they helicopter me in and I turn it around, then they give me another one’.
So, ask yourself – what did you lead with when you came into this company or role?
I often get the answer, ‘That I’m really good at special projects’, ‘I’m really good at turning things around’, ‘I’m really good at getting things fixed’. You know, we are often put into a box because of the way we are showing up or behaving. So, I want you to think about that.
So, what IS that new brand you are looking for? And, what would be the behaviours you will need to display for people to start talking about you differently?
We also get hung up at this point, when people tell me, ‘Well Andy, I have a dream of being more politically engaged, I want to be more involved with stakeholders, I want to be on executive programs. But, I don’t want to be inauthentic. I don’t want to look like I’m being fake, that I’m not being myself. What’s got me here is strong values, execution and delivery. I don’t want to take that away’.
The thing I would like you to think about, if that’s you is, this is going to be your NEW authentic self.
You are be going to be building some new behaviours and habits that will potentially be the new you – and that IS authentic, you are NOT pretending. You are just searching for the new you and that’s fine. You are allowed to be a work in progress and you are allowed to play with it.
As you experiment new behaviours, you are not committing to being that new person, you are just trying it out. You are seeing what makes you happy, what is successful and what’s good for your team or business.
So, please don’t get hung up with that – remember, people say, ‘fake it ’til you make it’. That’s exactly right! You are trying, you are experimenting, you’re practicing, you might fail. People will probably try to hold you back, especially if people are uncomfortable with change where they don’t want anyone changing around them.
You know, I came back from the chasm (when I got my first feedback) and one part of it was about me being a bit of a joker, that I prioritised fun – and I did! I just wanted to have fun in everything that I did. It’s a very core value that I have. But, it wasn’t helping me or others. So, I tried to show up a little bit more professional, I tried to reduce the amount of gags that I put into a meeting – and it started to work. But, people were wanting back the old Andy, complaining I wasn’t as fun as I used to be. I replied, ‘no I’m not’.
I didn’t just want to change my brand, I realised I was impacting other people. My joking around was not very effective and was wasting peoples time. It was also quite intimidating to other people. I had a personality that got me listened to and so I took up a lot of air in the room. Other people couldn’t get their points in. That really upset me, when I understood the impact I was having on them.
So, you are going to have to push through all that. The idea is that you should practice. This branding of you is so important. People won’t just go on the data, they won’t just look at what you’ve delivered (if they are even looking at all). There’s a thing called the availability bias. If you think about this in your career you would have seen it play out. People listen to the pictures and stories they’ve recently heard. Things that are easy to recall in their brain. That is part of branding.
You want to make sure that you’re always present, that people are talking about your ‘stories’, that there are pictures and power points showing what you have achieved. It’s easy and it’s in their face. It’s starting to build your brand – rather than simply hearing you delivered 10x the number and you delivered all of your KPI’s on time. You need to do that as well, but the branding is also important.
This is a really hard time. So use it to find your brand, discover your future, think about your aspirations, and the new brand that you want to start walking and talking.
Use your family and friends to help you, don’t try to do it on your own. It’s really good to do it in a collaborative way.
So, that’s it for today. In the next video, we are going to talk about the development that you are going to need to undertake that brand. The things you are going to need to undertake for you to get to that new brand. The things you are going to need amplify, and the things you are going to need to tweak or change to become that new brand.
Then the final video will be how you’re going to market that brand. Catch you soon!
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