When we talk about personal brands, it is easy to focus on the strategy, maximizing your personality, and the goals you are looking to achieve.

For many people this is the beginning and end to their personal branding efforts. In which case, I would give you an “A” for effort and a “F” for the point of the assignment. (Yes, I would have been that teacher who would have found it cathartic to use her red pen all over your school work.)

When you take this somewhat limiting approach with regards to your personal brand you forget that limits, boundaries, also known as qualities must define your brand.

More than your personality, the strategy, and your goals, the qualities that define your brand are influenced by you, but in the end are decided on by the people who experience your brand, aka the people who are around you.

How can you help control the conversation that will ultimately define your brand?

Step 1. Know you.

Credit:     rooneymara.tumblr.com   

You have to know what you would or would not EVER do. What are the personal guardrails you place on yourself morally, ethically, etc?

Step 2. Where are your professional boundaries?

Credit: Grandfathered (via Giphy.com)

Credit: Grandfathered (via Giphy.com)

Personally, I have always summed it up as this, “If it is not illegal or immoral, it is a possibility if you are a private client of mine.” With this statement, my clients, staff, and myself know that we play all in.

Step 3. Go to your own funeral.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself at your own funeral. Who is there? What's the vibe? What are people saying about you? Write down the words that strike you positively and not so positively. Then examine your life. Are you investing your energy into the tasks that matter most to you in the end? Evaluate and adjust.

Step 4. Seed planting.

Credit: firekid  youtu.be    (via Giphy.com)

Credit: firekid youtu.be (via Giphy.com)

Self deprecating humor seems innocent, but it isn't. Don't joke that people always say you are the slowest person on a project. Though meant to be humorous and a passive aggressive way of communicating that you may be late on delivering what you promised, such “humor” plants the seed in other people's minds that you are in fact “slow.” And because you joked with yourself about it, they will naturally feel that they can make jokes about it and that it is a “safe” adjective to use when describing you. If you are guilty of this in the past, make sure to always reframe it for people. “I'm not slow. I am detail oriented. Everything will be as perfect as it can be when it leaves my desk.”

Step 5.  Think before you speak

Far too many bad moves, moments of miscommunication, and mental meltdowns have occurred after impulsively acting or speaking before actually thinking the situation all the way through. Such actions can begin to look impulsive and erratic, qualities most people don't want to be defined by. The caveat to this is that sometimes you can't see the end game from where you are at. Therefore a leap of faith must occur and words or actions taken.


When you take time to think about the qualities that define you, you aren't just strengthening your current personal brand, you are laser guiding it to be what you really want. And though you can't 100% control the qualities other say define you, you will know what defines you and in the end they will too.




Examine your life. Are you investing your energy into the tasks that matter most to you in the end? Evaluate and adjust. @thealicraig