Wright Foundation | September 10, 2015

How to Define
Your Personal Brand

What are YOU all about? When we think of personal branding, most people think it’s all about your “look”—am I formal, casual, artsy or professional in my dress?

The truth is that while your personal brand can be presented through your clothing and style choices, it goes much deeper—into who you really are.

Your personal brand is really about your defining characteristics, your truth, your honesty and your essence. It’s about presenting to the world the heart and soul of who you truly are.

When trying to understand and articulate your personal brand, terms like “value systems” and even “personality types” come up. This is when it’s time to work on your personal mission and vision statement and give it a review.

Your brand should be well thought out, applicable to all areas of your life, and above all, true and honest to yourself. Inauthentic branding is transparent and off-putting. We’ve all known someone who tries too hard or feels inauthentic in the way they act. That person’s failure to adhere to their personal brand is what you’re picking up on when a person feels “fake.”

Does Your Job Fit Your Brand?

We aren’t all graced with a job that’s 100% perfect for us all the time. Even entrepreneurs find they have to stretch themselves in certain ways to please a client, coworkers, or an industry-wide expectation that doesn’t quite align with how they understand their personal brand.

If you find you’re in a workplace that doesn’t quite “get” you, just like in a relationship, it’s time to take a long hard look at yourself and do some transformative work. Since we’re each 100% responsible for our own emotions and actions, you may need to look inside yourself to get on the same page as your office and team. Are you operating true to your inner self…or are you fighting against the culture of your company or organization out of fear, guilt, or shame?

Once you’ve looked at and managed your own internal “stuff,” be honest about your fit with the company. If you’re feeding off the negativity of others or not allowing yourself to really express your feelings and engage in a productive way, then maybe you’re contributing to the negative culture that you’re picking up on in your office.

If you find your workplace is truly holding you back, even though you’re meaningfully engaged in your life, then it may be time to consider a different organization with a culture that’s a better fit to your personal brand. This isn’t a knee-jerk decision, however, and should be one that’s arrived at only after you’ve done some personal growth work.

Put Your Best Face Forward

Remember when I said your personal brand isn’t just about how you dress or your personal style?

Well, it’s true, but personal style does come into play. People who take pride in themselves and care about themselves present themselves that way. This means dressing like you care about yourself, doing your hair like you care about how you look, and practicing self-care. After all, if you dress like you don’t matter, people will believe you.

There’s an old adage about dressing for your next position or the next rung up on the ladder, and generally it’s a good rule of thumb. It doesn’t mean you have to suppress who you are or wear a suit and tie if you work in a coffee shop. It does, however, mean you should give your work appearance a little extra polish. Your career is important and reflecting that importance in your appearance is key if you want to grow.

By the same token, if you have a big personality, don’t feel like you have to downplay your nature, but do reflect on how you’re resonating with others. Make sure you’re learning from them, and growing with them. A large part of learning is listening, so be sure your personality isn’t so loud that no one can hear over it!

Your personal brand should be identifiable to others but shouldn’t knock everyone over or force others to conform to who you are or how you want them to be. You should convey your personality, your style, your approach, and your personal philosophy in a way that lets others in. Engage with others on a level that both of you can reach so you can learn and grow together—and in turn, deepen and strengthen your personal brand.

Join Us For More Life Training

In one educational and inspiring weekend, you’ll learn all about our practical, down-to-earth, easy-to-follow program designed to jumpstart your journey to self-discovery, personal fulfillment and better interpersonal relationships.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user audiolucistore.

Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.