If you’re not managing your energy at year-end, you’re wasting your time

This time of year comes with both good and bad news – yes, the festive season is upon us and brings with it the promise of a well-deserved vacation but by now, you would have also realised that taking time off means first wrapping up an enormous workload and then returning to a backlog of additional deadlines.

If you’re putting in extra hours to reach year end, I’m here to tell you that this is this only going to leave you feeling burnt out and demotivated. Yes, 2018 has been incredibly demanding but 2019 promises to be no easier – and your pending beach trip will soon become a distant memory as you navigate increasing pressure in the new year.

The more you take on, the more you are going to need to do – and with limited time, you’re not going to be able to achieve more than you are already. It’s time to change the way you are working so that it starts working for you. It’s time to learn how to manage your energy.

This may seem limited at the moment, thanks to over-sleeping, over-caffeinating and over-working but if you get it right, it becomes an unlimited resource that allows you to play to your strengths and sustain peak performance.

Unlike time, energy expands when you focus on nurturing it – or rather the components that make it up: your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Harvard Business Review cites several case studies where greater energy made it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability. The key is to start by recognising what rituals and behaviours are depleting your energy and then to work on changing them as quickly as possible so that they become the habits that drive your actions.

Of course, now you’re nodding that this all makes sense but thinking to yourself that you simply can’t get to this at year end, when work is just so busy. Let me ask you this – if you are prioritising work as a sprint that you need to reach the end of, why are you treating the rest of your life like a slow-paced marathon? This long-trek will most certainly burn you out, if your job doesn’t push you over edge first. You need to refocus your efforts around sprints – and then recovery periods.

There’s no time to wait for the ever-elusive moment where you make – and keep – your New Year’s resolutions. If you are pushing yourself harder than ever and feel increasingly closer to breaking point, this is not going to change until you do – and if it seems too overwhelming to change your entire existence in one go, start with one small, achievable step at a time.

In fact, let me make it even easier for you, given that you are so busy – start with exercise. As Forbes reports on, out of all the positive habits you can form, this is the one that has the greatest impact on all the other areas of your life. It’s the habit that helps you to create other good habits because it amongst its many benefits, it enhances your mental state, makes you want to eat better and improves your sleep. Tick all those boxes and you are guaranteed to start feeling more energised.

Success is not something you stumble upon. It takes habitual hard work – but this doesn’t have to mean long, depleting hours. Start now, maximise your vacation time by really focusing on solidifying good habits and return to work ready to take on the new year in a new way. Where others will still be resolving to do better, you will be sprints ahead – and this will give you even more breathing space to really recognise what race you need to be running.

I’m talking about having the time to be fully present – knowing what your purpose is and where best to focus your efforts, being able to step back and evaluate what is worth saying yes or no to, understanding what drains you and sustains you – and then doing more of the latter. These are the ultimate keys to unleashing your energy, performing at your absolute best and ensuring a knock-out year in 2019, when everyone around you is just feeling knocked-out.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop wasting time – on your marks, get set, go!

The power of personal branding

Who you are is up to you

The 30 second elevator pitch, your next social media update, your LinkedIn profile, and the answer to the question ‘tell me about yourself’ are all opportunities to make a great first impression. According to Donna Rachelson, founder of Branding & Marketing YOU, they are also ideal occasions to showcase your own personal brand.

“What really surprises me is how many people never think of themselves as a brand,” says Rachelson. “And those that have given this serious thought often wonder how to market themselves in a way that is authentic and founded in integrity.”

The belief that personal branding is only relevant for celebrity personalities, politicians, or high profile captains of industry is a common and unproductive misconception notes Rachelson. “The fact is, we are all branded, whether we like it or not. In most cases, if you don’t take responsibility for your own brand and market yourself effectively, others will do it for you,” she says.

While we may intuitively understand the importance of maintaining a good reputation, Rachelson explains that many people underestimate the ways in which almost everything we do counts towards building a personal brand. “The way you dress, how you treat people, the quality of your work, the people you associate with, how you handle difficult situations, and what you publish on social media platforms – these all matter a great deal and send the world a message about the kind of brand you are.”

By adopting a simple change of mindset and attitude towards personal branding Rachelson says that anyone, irrespective of industry or chosen career path, can begin to develop, grow, and market themselves far more effectively. And the best place to start is by knowing yourself. “This is the fundamental cornerstone to personal branding,” she says. “Without this self-knowledge and awareness, there is no way you can build an authentic brand. It is only once you know who you are, your values, and what difference you want to make, that you can address how you will achieve your goals and pursue your purpose.”

Drawing on years of experience, Rachelson adds that the most successful personal brands all share one important feature – authenticity. “Authentic personal brands are effective because they’re honest. Personal brands that are brave enough to be honest, even when they’ve made a mistake, stand out from the clutter and create an emotional connection. Which is why truly living what you say so incredibly important in personal branding and marketing,” she says.

Rather than being an intimidating prospect, the realisation that what your personal brand stands for is entirely your decision can be very empowering. “People with successful personal brands understand the need to take responsibility for building their own brand rather than letting other people dictate it,” says Rachelson.

“The next time someone says ‘tell me about yourself’ think about how your story can create an emotional authentic connection and then seize the moment to define your brand before someone else does.”

Fake it till you are it

This weekend I was reminded of Allon Raiz’s brilliant summary of his term ‘Competency Crisis’ – something many entrepreneurs are familiar with: the doubt you sometimes face when you’re on the verge of growth – and his corresponding prescription to ‘act as if’. If you’ve read my book, Play to Win: What women can learn from men in business, you may recognise this from Lesson #9: Fake it till you are it.

If you are an entrepreneur, I highly recommend Allon’s book. It’s full of wise advice and lessons from case studies, and short enough to finish quickly.

But Allon’s advice isn’t only relevant to entrepreneurs. Most of us have been in situations where we question ourselves and our ability to succeed. Whether this is in response to a significant challenge, promotion or a stretch assignment, we can experience a lapse in confidence.

Here is an excerpt from Allon’s book What to do when you want to give up: Help for entrepreneurs in tough times:

At the risk of sounding sexist, I have always believed that women’s ability to apply make-up gives them a strange advantage over men, in that they are able to use the make-up to portray their features in the best possible way.

They can quite literally put their ‘game face’ on. Make-up enhances what already exists. Start-up entrepreneurs need to apply ‘make-up’ to their businesses. This is the basis of ‘act as if’. History is filled with entrepreneurs who have pretended to be what they not yet are. The entrepreneur’s quality of being able to visualise future scenarios – and to begin acting in a way that is commensurate with these future scenarios – is one of the secrets of success. It is epitomised by entrepreneurs who speak of ‘we’ when actually they have a one-man business (and ‘I’ would have been more accurate).

Kathy Delaney-Smith was the coach of the Harvard women’s basketball team. This description, from a blog by Adam Brotman, so aptly describes the power of the ‘act as if’ philosophy that I have taken the liberty of quoting it here in full:

This is an amazing story of a woman who didn’t have experience coaching basketball, but acted as if she could, and went on to lead her team to one of the biggest upsets in NCAA basketball tournament history. She then went on to harness her own ‘act as if’ philosophy while taking cancer head on. I’ll never think about anything else other than this coach and her amazing story when thinking about the power of acting as if. In a New York Times article from 2009, Melissa Johnson writes about Delaney-Smith’s philosophy:

‘Any decent athlete, salesman or Starbucks barista can put on a good game face.
But her philosophy, “act as if”, goes much deeper than mere swagger or theatrics. It’s a method – a learned skill for convincing your mind that you already are what you want to become. The body follows where the mind leads.‘ [Emphasis mine – DR]

There are those who disagree with this view. They see ‘acting as if’ as deception or, even worse, lying. I am not advocating either of these. The unfortunate reality is that it is a gamble to start a business and it is a gamble for others to support a start-up business. At some point,m a leap of faith is required.

You need to present your business as having reached a level of success that you know it has the potential to reach. There is no doubt in my mind that when you act as if you are successful, you are more likely to be treated as a successful person. It is a virtuous cycle that breeds success. A word of caution: it all falls apart if you don’t have the substance to back it up. Do not say things that you do not mean and do not promise what you cannot deliver.

Lesson #9: Fake it till you are it from my book Play to Win: What women can learn from men in business covers just this crisis in confidence, and at the end of the chapter I give 4 strategies for beating the ‘fake’ feeling. In summary, they are:

  1. Reframe your fear.
  2. Set reasonable expectations.
  3. Make failure your classroom.
  4. Remember that ‘faking it’ is a skill.

The first step to being successful is convincing yourself that you are successful.

You can get your own copy of my book right here.

Image ‘bride with a mirror’ by mahmoud99725 from flickr

Relaunch your career

You’ve been out of the workplace for a while, you may feel a bit nervous about restarting your career.

Make sure you market your top skills and highlight the value you can add by brushing up your personal brand. Whether you’ve been on a sabbatical, taken time out to have children or been on a break while you’ve been travelling, getting back into the workplace can be challenging. Make sure you get your personal brand in top shape to attract the attention of recruiters. Here are a few pointers to help you get started:

Research where you want to be. Find out the requirements of the position and do whatever you need to do to make sure you fit the bill, then use your network and contacts to target the job you want.

Talk to an honest friend. You need honest feedback on your personal brand. Ask a straight-talking friend to talk you through how others perceive you, the areas where you’re doing well and the areas where you could use improvement.

Focus on key relationships. Keep in touch with people in your industry. Think about the top people you want to know about your skills, talents and passion, and find ways to market your personal brand to them. Identify the core aspects you want them to understand about you and make sure you communicate those in every interaction.

Make sure you look the part. The fact is that we are judged by the image we project. Statistics show that people who look good are seen as more professional than those who don’t make an effort. Before you get to the stage of doing job interviews, invest in looking your best, even if it means calling on a professional image consultant.

Package your strengths effectively. Even if you don’t have a huge amount of experience in the area in which you’re planning to work, you can be clever about showcasing the skills you do have that you will make use of in the new position.

Get up to date with your industry. Read up on the latest trends and developments and be ready to talk about them. This shows prospective employers that you’ve done your homework and understand the environment.

Focus on your best projects and strengths. Make sure you show the value you can add to an organisation by highlighting your previous projects and their tangible benefits. If you have taken on a big project during your break, talk about that too, even if it was outside of your field of work. For example, if you successfully set up the PTA at your child’s school from scratch, it demonstrates people skills, initiative and management ability.

Be honest about the gaps in your work history. Don’t ignore the break you’ve taken. Rather offer an explanation supporting the reason for the break, which will help employers to understand your background. Highlight anything positive that you have undertaken during the break period, such as completing a computer course or volunteering.
Use the power of recommendations. Rustle up your testimonials and letters of recommendation. If you don’t have any, ask previous colleagues to write up short testimonials. Let other people market you in their own words.

How To Inspire Others To Invest In You

In business, the old adage often still rings true: it’s not what you know; it’s who you know, I am sure that we have heard that in just about every entrepreneur story we have heard. When you’re looking to find people to back you, whether it’s a sponsor for your MBA or funding for your new business venture, relationships matter, this is the basis I believe of all entrepreneurship courses. Your personal brand is what will get people to buy into you before they buy into your idea. How then, do you become “backable” and what is my advice as an entrepreneur?

1.    Back yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself or your idea, you’re not going to be able to convince anyone else. Self-confidence takes time to develop, but start with thinking about what makes you special – what is it that sets you apart from someone else with the same experience and qualifications? This is the foundational step in building a successful personal brand that others will want to invest in. Identify what makes you unique and differentiates you from your competitors.  Develop your unique selling proposition (USP).

2.    Spend time developing your personal brand as well as your cause, business or idea. Before you spend time on your business case or proposition for a potential backer, make sure that you’ve developed a strong personal brand. That’s the first sell – the pitch is actually the second one.

3.    Identify why your goal is meaningful. People are more likely to back you if your objective is not purely self-centered, but serves a higher purpose or cause. You’re also more likely to persevere if you believe that your goal will benefit others too, whether your goal is studying further to be able to provide better for your family, or developing a business that doesn’t just make money, but also makes a difference.

4.    Work on your powers of persuasion. I don’t mean studying up on sales tips (although that may well help you). I mean that others will invest in you if you are compelling – if you have clarity about your goals, what you can deliver and where you can add value. When given the opportunity to share about your plans and hopes, you should be able to make a simple, convincing case because you know exactly what you want to communicate, rather than waffling and missing the key points.

5.    Prove your trustworthiness. People choose to back individuals that they trust, and trust is earned through consistency and continual excellence in delivery. Nobody will invest in someone who has a track record of letting people down and failing to deliver on promises. If you want others to back you, make sure you have a history of being a good investment.

How to achieve consistent personal branding

Of the three Cs of personal branding (clarity, consistency and constancy), consistency could well be the most powerful . . .

Take yourself out of yourself for a minute. Pretend you’re not you. Let’s say you’re someone else – an objective third party – and you’re conducting an evaluation of your personal brand across all the varied platforms and channels upon and through which you operate.

  1. When you meet people for the first time, what do you talk about?
  2. If you drove a van, what would be written on its side?
  3. Are people ever surprised when they meet the ‘real’ human you?
  4. Is your phone voice different to your normal voice?
  5. What’s your email ‘voice’ like? Different? Similar? Identical?
  6. Do all of your social media accounts ‘sound’ and look different?

If you’ve answered “Yes” or “I don’t know” several times, it’s time to talk about personal brand consistency, and how to sustainably achieve it.

Why is this important? It’s important because if your personal brand defines who you are, what you do professionally, your personal life, and the message you project online, it stands to reason that all of these elements should match up. Right? After all, people like to know what to expect from you, it gives them comfort and puts them at ease.

Step 1: Image

This is the easiest one. To help people identify and remember your personal brand and promise, be sure that you have a consistent photo, logo and colour scheme across all your social media accounts, marketing material and promotional content. This will help people associate visual icons or images with your brand.

And, if you’re going to have a corporate identity, get an expert to guide you on what will make you stand out in your industry in terms of colours, styles, icons, etc.

Step 2: Behaviour

Match what you say (in writing and verbally) with how you act in real life. Each in-person interaction, whether professional or personal, is similar to a job interview. You’re being evaluated, whether you’re aware of it or not. So ensure that you’re ‘living’ your brand in terms of speech, body language, conduct and conversation.

For example, if you’re able to be outspoken online and yet you speak in a soft, timid voice when you’re in front of a small audience, you may need to re-think your presentation skills, so they match the strength and power of your e-insights.

Step 3: Corporate
Every time you attend a meeting, conference, seminar, talk, networking event or workplace function, be mindful of what others are experiencing about you – especially in the context of what you want others to experience about you.

Are you the person who always asks questions? Do you have value to add? Are you sincere and friendly? Or do you prefer to remain silent and absorb what’s going on? Are you more of a learner than a teacher? Are you more reserved?

Step 4: Digital

To build your personal brand you need to promote it by being (or appearing to be) everywhere. Have a social media presence, create your own website and/or blog and ‘show up’ in places where your expertise might be needed or appreciated.

And once you start, don’t stop! This is a big part of consistency. The moment you start engaging via social media, you cannot allow your brand to go quiet. You also can’t afford to pick and choose. Beware of only being responsive sometimes (when business is quiet, for example) or favouring some channels over others.

Step 5: Local

When putting yourself out there, don’t limit yourself to the online world, target your community as well. Check out small businesses, organisations, societies and groups that may be in need of the services you’re offering or the knowledge you’ve built.

You’ve heard of the big fish in the small pond? He’s so much more effective than the teensy-weensy guppy in that expansive blue ocean.

Side note: Interestingly enough, this one also works in reverse: You can extend your local or personal involvements into the online space, for better exposure.

Step 6: Authenticity

Your personal brand should be authentic. This is only possible if it genuinely represents the value you can deliver to those you are serving. Remember: This doesn’t mean self-promotion. It’s not hard sell and it’s not pushiness. In fact, self-promotion has nothing to do with personal branding, which is deliberate but subtle.

In essence, this means that you shouldn’t bother to fake a personal brand. Or to mimic someone else’s. It simply won’t last. And your audience can sniff it out.

Bottom line?
Does all this consistency sounds like a lot of pressure? Like a huge responsibility? Well, it is. But only the first few times you think about it. With time, being the same ‘You’ becomes a natural part of who you are, wherever you are.

Have fun

Four personal branding trends to consider in 2015

If you think that personal branding is for celebs like George Clooney, or bigwigs like Bill Gates, you need to think again! You are a brand.
So, before you market your company in 2015, you need to market yourself. Whatever people say about you when you’re not in the room, that’s the start of your personal brand. And taking control of it is the most important thing you can do for yourself in 2015.The same strategies that make celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others can be implemented by you. And you can build brand equity just like them. So, be four steps take a quick look at four key trends to get you ahead from a career perspective:1. Don’t use every single social media platform.Social media profiles are like a pre-interview, a modern-day CV, a ‘cultural-fit’ barometer. And the platform choices are exhaustive.

Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, blogging, podcasts, vodcasts and webinars, it is hard to choose?

Many people don’t choose these days, taking on the burden to use most of these. But you really shouldn’t.

Decide which one or two or, at most, three will speak to your audiences. Where do your communities live? Go to them where they are. Invest there. Everywhere else is bound to be a time-waster.

2. LinkedIn only works when you take it super-seriously.

If LinkedIn is going to be one of your Top Three, you need to spend real time on it.

Start by leveraging your email inbox. If you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while now, chances are you’ve connected with most people you know/have worked with. That said, searching through your email contacts is a great way to find people who might have slipped your mind or who work in a different industry than they did before.
Keep your LinkedIn profile updated. It does seem obvious, but people tend to get busy and forget. Granted, you shouldn’t need to make major changes to the experience or education sections, but if you consistently update your work portfolio, you’ll keep connections clued up on what you’ve been doing.

Finally, use the LinkedIn applications that you can add to your profile to enhance it in different ways. You might want to add WordPress, which lets you sync blog posts with your LinkedIn profile. You could use the SlideShare or Box.net apps to embed presentations or videos. Or you could connect your LinkedIn account with Twitter, to either display tweets on your LinkedIn profile or share LinkedIn posts on Twitter.

Remember: you don’t need all of these. Pick one or two, and ignore the rest.

3. Come to terms with the fact that video is the new black.

About ten years ago you had to have a websites to be taken seriously. And you still do. But the game-changer these days is video. And putting them online.

The power of video is that it shows and tells. It allows you to deliver a complete communication that’s visual, relatable, and will build emotional connections with people who are making decisions about you.

A video bio projects your personal brand in a way that shows people who you are and what value you can deliver. It’s not a video version of your CV, in which you laboriously recite your credentials and experience, but a 3D portrait of you.

If you can get a colleague, a staff member or (ideally) a professional to video your next presentation or take a video of you sharing an anecdote, do it. If you’ve been interviewed on TV, get the producers to load the clip onto Youtube and share that. Use any decent-quality expression of yourself being a pro on film.

4. Decide, in advance, what you’ll say ‘No’ to next year.

Are you a chronic over-committer? This is not only bad for your health, your spirit, your productivity, but also for your personal branding. So, my advice is: in 2015, plan to say ‘No’ to things that sap your energy but don’t rejuvenate you. Here’s how:

If you’re asked to do something optional that you can’t commit to. Just say this: “I appreciate your thinking of me and I’m honoured by the request. But I don’t have time to give this my best attention right now. I think you would benefit from finding someone who can devote more time and energy to this project.”

Remember: By saying No to something, you’re saying Yes to something else.

Set yourself apart in 2015

Think about it: what do people say about you when you’re not in the room? Whatever that is, that’s the start of your personal brand. And the most important thing you can do for yourself in 2015 is take control of it.

As a brand, you can leverage the same strategies that make celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. And you can build brand equity just like them. So, be four steps ahead, from a career perspective and take a quick look at four key trends:

1. You don’t have to use every single social media platform

You already know that social media profiles are like a pre-interview, a modern-day CV, a ‘cultural-fit’ barometer. And the platform choices are exhaustive.

There’s Twitter, Facebook for Business and LinkedIn. There’s Instagram, YouTube and blogging. And then there are podcasts, vodcasts and webinars. How to choose?

Many people today simply don’t choose, taking on the burden (or adding to their interminable To Do lists the obligation) to use most of these. But you don’t have to.

Simply decide which one or two or, at most, three will speak to your audiences. Where do your communities live? LinkedIn? Youtube? Or Twitter and Facebook? Go to them where they are. Invest there. Everywhere else is bound to be a time-waster.

2. LinkedIn only works when you take it super-seriously

If LinkedIn is going to be one of your Top Three, you need to spend real time on it. Start by leveraging your email inbox. If you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while now, chances are you’ve connected with most people you know/have worked with. That said, searching through your email contacts is a great way to find people who might have slipped your mind or who work in a different industry than they did before.

This one isn’t rocket science: keeping your LinkedIn profile updated . . . yep . . . obvious. But so many people get busy and forget. Granted, you shouldn’t need to make major changes to the experience or education sections, but if you consistently update your work portfolio, you’ll keep connections clued up on what you’ve been doing.

Finally, LinkedIn has applications that you can add to your profile to enhance it in different ways. You might want to add WordPress, which lets you sync blog posts with your LinkedIn profile. You could use the SlideShare or Box.net apps to embed presentations or videos. Or you could connect your LinkedIn account with Twitter, to either display tweets on your LinkedIn profile or share LinkedIn posts on Twitter.

Remember: you don’t need all of these. Pick one or two, and ignore the rest.

3. Come to terms with the fact that video is the new black
About 10 years ago it was websites. You had to have one to be taken seriously. And you still do. But the game-changer these days is video, and putting video online.

Why? Because the power of video is now. It shows and tells. It’s memorable. It allows you to deliver a complete communication that’s visual, relatable, and will build emotional connections with people who are making decisions about you.

Option 1: Video bio

A video bio projects your personal brand in a way that shows people who you are and what value you can deliver. It’s not a video version of your CV, in which you laboriously recite your credentials and experience, but a 3D portrait of you.

Option 2: Video message

If you can get a colleague, a staff member or (ideally) a professional to video your next presentation or take a video of you sharing an anecdote, do it. If you’ve been interviewed on TV, get the producers to load the clip onto YouTube and share that. Use any decent-quality expression of yourself being a pro on film, and start there.

4. Decide, in advance, what you’ll say ‘No’ to next year

Are you a chronic over-committer? This can be bad for your health, your spirit, your productivity and yes, your personal branding. So, my advice is: in 2015, plan to say ‘No’ to things that sap your energy but don’t rejuvenate you. Here’s how:

Let’s say you’re asked to do something optional that you can’t commit to. Just say this: ‘I appreciate your thinking of me and I’m honoured by the request. But I don’t have time to give this my best attention right now. I think you would benefit from finding someone who can devote more time and energy to this project.’

Let’s say you’re given a ridiculously short deadline. Say, ‘I know this is a high priority for you and if it’s absolutely necessary for me to complete my side of it by that date, I can make it happen. But if I could have a few more [days, weeks, etc], I could deliver something of a much higher quality. Could I please have a bit more time?’

Remember: By saying No to something, you’re saying Yes to something else.

8 ways to sell yourself

For entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business, building a personal brand is especially important as people need to buy into you before they will buy into your business idea

Entrepreneurs need to understand the importance of personal branding because it can play an enabling role as they seek to build a professional reputation and grow their companies.

Personal branding is about understanding what makes you unique, identifying your greatest strengths and talents and finding ways to consistently communicate these to your target market. Once you’ve spent time developing your brand, you will need to actively market it.

Here are some easy ways for entrepreneurs to build their personal brands for career success:

  1. Write a brand positioning statement for yourself: What sets you apart from everybody else? Know it, own it, believe and embody it!
  2. Build or expand your digital footprint: When you ‘Google’ your name, what comes up? Being constantly associated with a specific area establishes you as a leader or expert in that field. Find places to comment, share, speak on the topics you know most about. The Questions area of LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your expertise. Why not have your own website that showcases your product – you? Maximise the opportunities that being online affords you.
  3. Pick a few attributes you want to be known for and demonstrate them at every opportunity: Establish a track record of competence in your field and reinforce it at staff meetings, management meetings and networking opportunities by sharing your thoughts, asking smart questions and engaging with people in a meaningful way. This will keep you top-of-mind for related projects.
  4. Focus on great service: This includes interactions both within your organisation with colleagues and employees, and externally with your customers. Be reliable, communicate and deliver on promises you make.
  5. Love what you do – it shows! Passion is your personal brand’s fuel and it’s contagious. Let your energy motivate those around you.
  6. Have a global perspective: there is opportunity to learn, gain new perspectives and information at every turn and you will be surprised when that information can be used. Make sure you invest in yourself and in broadening your perspective, whether it’s through reading, training or mentorship.
  7. Challenge yourself: Step outside your comfort zone; learn new things; keep a record of your experiences and the things you have learnt. Challenging yourself will ensure you remain fresh and don’t stagnate.
  8. Develop a personal visibility campaign: Think about platforms you can use to market your personal brand, whether that means facilitating a workshop, developing a keynote speech, submitting articles to professional journals, getting active on social media or joining an industry body.

Does your personal brand resonate?

You’re working to develop your personal brand, but have you tested whether it really resonates with others?

As the year draws to an end and you reflect on everything that has happened during 2013, spend some time reviewing your personal brand and how effective it is.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did you get headhunted?
  2. Were you offered a promotion?
  3. Did you get selected for a high-profile assignment/project team?
  4. Were you recognised by your peers or superiors for your contribution in the organisation?
  5. Did you move forward in your career?

If you answered ‘no’ to all of these questions, your personal brand may not be resonating with other people.

What does it mean when your personal brand is resonating? Firstly, it means you are visible and that people are starting to notice you and your work. They start to notice the work you are doing in a particular area and see you as something of a specialist.

If your personal brand resonates, you also have credibility — a certain gravitas attached to your name, otherwise known as the ‘X-factor’.

If your personal brand resonates, there is an air of confidence about you and people want you on their team. They see you as adding unique value and having impact.

Personal brands that resonate also get talked about favourably. In essence, you start to build a sales force of people that are out there singing your praises.

How to build a personal brand that resonates

If you feel your personal brand is not resonating with your target market, or if you just want to do a better job at building a personal brand that attracts positive attention, start off by taking stock.

Get feedback on how you are perceived (relative to how you would like to be perceived). This could be as simple as having a few conversations with people whose opinions you value, asking them: “What do you think of me? And what could I be doing better?”

Once you understand how others see your personal brand and you have a clear picture of how you want it to be seen, take action where appropriate to ‘close’ the gap. Identify a few-high impact strategies and begin working on them so you can hit the ground running as you tackle the next year.

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