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It’s easy to create a company. Have a brilliant idea, draw up some legal paperwork and boom —
you’re in business. Sounds easy, right? You already know that it’s not quite that simple. Successful companies don’t just open up their doors and find overnight success. The best companies begin with identifying their mission, vision and values, and then they
create a poster and put it up on the wall in the conference room
actually live them out every day
This is how ordinary companies transform themselves into powerhouse brands — and the strength of a brand manifests itself in its reputation (think: customer reviews, loyalty and a cult following). A brand reflects how a business’s performance stacks up against the promise it makes to its customers. It’s the difference between whether companies exist and whether they thrive.
What does that have to do with me, you might ask? Your personal brand can do the same thing for you as an individual as a strong brand does for the world’s most admired companies.
How do you discover your personal brand?
Grab a pen and paper or your nearest whiteboard and follow these four steps:
1. There’s a saying that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Using this logic, write down the five people you look up to or admire the most. These people can be alive or dead, real or fictional.
2. Now write out the character traits or other things next to these people’s names that you admire or would like to emulate. Write as many as you can.
3. Next, take that list and write them all out on a piece of paper and start grouping these traits into similar items. For example, you may write down “healthy, fit, active, trim,” which you would group into a “physically healthy” category.
4. As you start to consolidate, aim to create three to five larger categories. Then, identify anything missing that you value. Add these items, and aim to finish with five to seven core values or character traits that you admire and wish to emulate.
Look at your list and ask yourself how many of the traits you currently live out on a daily basis. Unhappy with where you are in life? It’s probably because you aren’t living out these qualities, which means you aren’t realizing the best version of yourself. If you aren’t living as the best version of yourself, then you aren’t realizing your true potential personally or professionally.
Have some room for improvement? Take the traits and values you listed and make them your “brand standard.” Looking at your life through the lens of these values will help you identify what needs to change in order to reach your potential.
How can you make the changes you need to live out your personal brand?
I’ll share a bit of my story to explain how. For years, I struggled with my weight, but doing the above exercise made me realize that while maintaining a healthy lifestyle was important to me, I wasn’t making the right choices to live it out every day. I was allowing my enjoyment of “eating all the things” to prevent me from staying true to one of my important core values.
Every day when I eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, I began asking myself, “Is the food I’m eating in line with my brand standard and values?” This focus on my brand has helped me hold myself more accountable to what’s really important to me when I’m tempted by cheeseburgers, beer and sweets. This self-accountability has helped me achieve a physically fit body that I’m proud of and happy with.
Brand standards help businesses stay focused on who they want to be and ensure that their actions are always in alignment with their long-term strategic goals. They are guidelines for everyone in the business to follow. We can use brand standards to hold ourselves accountable and stay on track with what we want to accomplish in our own lives. When you pay attention to and cultivate your personal brand, you harness your existence and make it into a life.
December 21, 2018 at 09:10AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs