If I asked you, “Are you actively building your personal brand?” you’d probably immediately respond with an enthusiastic “Yes, of course!”
However, what would happen if I asked you, “What have you done today to build your personal brand?”
Career Progress photo from ShutterstockYou might pause before answering. After a moment, you might respond that you’re going to “do some branding” later in the afternoon, or tonight, after everyone in your household has gone to bed.
“And, that’s the problem! If you’re not actively and continuously involved building your brand throughout your day, you may be missing important opportunities to advance your career.”
Or, even worse, your behavior may be undermining the personal brand you’re trying to build!
What is mindful?
One of the best definitions of mindfulness was provided by Peter Sterlacci in his recent post, 4 Personal Brand Attributes That Transcend Cultures. In Peter’s words:
“Mindful” personal brands stay in the moment and actually pull us into this moment with them. They embrace the value of silence and reflection. They focus on those around them and not on themselves.
Personal brands are always on trial
Consistency and eternal vigilance are the hallmarks of a strong personal brand.
Your clients, coworkers, and friends are constantly evaluating your personal brand. Your words, actions, and demeanor are always either contributing to your personal brand… or undermining it.
Rating your own personal branding behavior
Here are some questions to ask yourself about the consistency of your personal branding success strategies.
- Pausing before responding. Do you always take the time to consider how your words or action may be interpreted by others before reacting or responding? Or, do you “shoot first and aim later?” Ill-considered responses can do lasting harm to your personal brand. A slight pause before responding, however, helps avoid problems and communicates that you value your client or co-worker enough to carefully respond.
- Listening to your words. Do you carefully listen to your words and judge the image they’re projecting? The words you use should reinforce your expertise and strengthen the professionalism and “trust value” of the brand you’re building. Imprecise language, inappropriate humor, or a condescending tone can undermine your expertise.
- Appearance. Is your attire and grooming appropriate for the situation? Taking the time to project a professional image, and monitoring your posture and facial expressions can reinforce the image you want to project.
- Environment. Is your work area clutter-free and neatly organized? A cluttered desk or cubicle can project a disorganized mind. Likewise, too many revealing “partying” photographs or vacation shots can communicate you’d rather be elsewhere.
- Writing and editing. Do you take the time to review the accuracy, conciseness, and grammatical correctness of everything you write, even routine emails and responses? Do you double-check your emails for correctly-spelled industry terms and proper nouns? If your morning emails were reviewed a year from now, would they project an accurate image of your expertise and accomplishments?
- Punctuality. Do you strive to always be on time and always meet your deadlines? It’s never appropriate to be “fashionably late” at meetings; on-time arrival is expected at informal meetings as well as scheduled events. Punctuality also involves respecting others’ time by keeping your contributions at meetings and brainstorming sessions as focused and concise as possible.
- Priorities. Most important, Is the way you’re spending your time aligned with both your current and long-range objectives? Are you satisfying your immediate objectives and responsibilities, as well as investing time in your long-range brand building, as described in my recent ?
Personal brand building can’t be put off until “later”
A sound personal branding strategy never “begins,” because it never ends! Success is based on all of your daily behaviors and all of your interactions with clients, prospects, and co-workers. It’s what you write, what you say, and how you look. The best way to build a strong personal brand is to be mindful throughout your day, always looking for ways to reinforce the image you want others to associate with you. Share your insights and questions about mindful personal branding efforts below, as comments!
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