Over the last decade the notion of “the personal brand” has been cemented into our culture. The idea that we are all products for consumption and that what we do adds or subtracts from this brand just like we were McDonalds. Is this real or just another made up thing by the internet of things? I can tell you it’s not all made up but it’s also a lot of myth making.
Everything you do is construed by someone. Do similar things in a certain way in a certain space over and over, and those things become a reputation and or a part of the brand of you. Do it publicly or in a highly visible manner and that reputation (brand) builds. But is that all we are?
Clearly that’s a trick and the answer is far more complicated, but in today’s world the answer is you are the myths and truths that you amplify about yourself, and this means. You can control it.
After a tumultuous 2017-2018 I found myself asking myself a lot. “What happened to who you were?” My roles in some of the things I was involved with were changing and felt like I was completely disconnected from the life I had spent 15 years building. It was alarming and honestly I felt a touch lost. It took a good talk with my two best friends to realize most of what i was feeling was all in my head.
In my head, I had become disconnected with the brand I had “built,” but in the eyes of the public, not a whole lot had changed. To my fiends and those close to me, I was just blind to that as well as not owning what I had created.
This all sounds like a bit of self inflated fakery and ego driven back patting, but it’s true. A “personal brand” is made up of the things we tell the world about ourselves through our actions as well as the things we tell ourselves. It’s your character and your reputation. So if it’s going off the rails, you’d better check yourself first to make sure the things your telling yourself and others are true to WHY YOU DO THE THINGS YOU DO.
I’m a huge Simon Sinek fanboy and without going into his whole career (you have a googler, use it), what and how we do things don’t matter as WHY we do them. People are attracted to the WHY. Not the WHAT/HOW. This applies to personal brands as much as it applies to Apple.
Ultimately I am known for being involved in the healthy living business. Seems simple. To me though, I do this because I am driven to make people better (through health). Semantics? Maybe. I don’t think so. That WHY is a backbone for all of things I say and do. And thankfully that backbone benefits from the 15 years of strengthening it so that when I feel lost and or question what I do, I can lean on that strength to get me through a rough patch.
A college friend of mine , Matt, wrote recently about this same subject as it applies to high school athletes and he made a ton of good points that are very similar to what I’m saying here, but as I read his post, I kept wanting to add something to it. His post was about bringing to light how to build a personal brand and it was a good one. I coach high school and adult athletes and my kids read what I write. What I wanted to add to Matt’s post is this. A brand isn’t worth anything if it’s not built on good character and backed up with authenticity.
That’s the unspoken danger of “the building of personal brands”. They can be built on the foundation of your WHY and become greatness, or they can be built upon the lies we all tell ourselves, and will crumble from that weight.