BEcoming Your Legacy
Take a moment to GOOGLE yourself – is it mystery or history? My first GOOGLE results are about my current job and former education, about the interviews and testimonials I’ve been privileged to give, about my recently released book “On the LookOUT – for the better half”. Pretty accurate I would say (and the pictures do me justice).
Recruiters, partners, clients – want to know WHO you are – and, unless you are in a pre-pandemic era when you used to meet face-to-face, nowadays they GOOGLE you, interact with your social content, and admire you from the bust up on ZOOM pretending not be bothered by the shorts and flip-flops you most probably wear under desk.
Ofttimes, we mix up between two essential questions “who am I in reality” and “whom am I posing as”. Being your own brand is having a unique identity and a coherent message that sets you apart from others. Your personal brand goes beyond the screen to how you actually carry yourself in real life and how others really perceive you.
So, what is personal branding? According to Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon – although he needed no introduction): “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Your brand is your mark.
When I was in highschool, I used to try different signatures using my former boyfriend’s last name. Luckily, neither the signature, nor the boyfriend actually sticked. While growing up, I started enjoying putting my last name on my own creations (from articles and presentations to arts and crafts). The joy in it had to do not only with the fact that I had the skills to bring that creation to life, but also that it was to be of use or help to somebody.
Becoming an authority in a field comes with responsibility once your message reaches a large audience and influences people’s lives. Your message should be an elevator pitch that shortly and concisely conveys who you are, what you do, how you can be of service. Building a true narrative is probably the most effective personal branding strategy that leads to everlasting legacy. Being the storyteller of your life, allows you to create your life:
- Communicate your purpose and mission in a genuine way – no authenticity leads to no trust
- Make your message clear – leave no room for interpretation or assumption
- YOU are at the core – bring your values, beliefs, boundaries to the table
There is no precise line between where your personal brand ends and your professional one begins. Your business brand is an extension of your personal brand – you create presentations for your company, you meet with stakeholders on behalf of your company, you represent your company at conferences. The strength of your personal brand lays the foundation for the security of your professional brand, hence the security of your income. As freelance makes for a big percentage of the world workforce, the true differentiator is your portfolio (testimonials, recommendations, endorsements).
As with any other living organism, brands evolve, change, transform. Adjustment doesn’t come in the sense of changing the DNA of your brand, but rather by managing new technologies, market opportunities and consumers’ choices. Your brand transcends the visual identity, as it’s the potential of brand manifesto which propels you forward. Now that we have covered the nitty-gritty of personal branding vs. professional branding, it is up to you to take a bold stance and craft your unique brand persona. After all, “legacy is the only exit strategy”, isn’t it right?