Business and branding consultant Lisa Haggis regularly helps clients identify their strengths, appreciate their gifts, and chart a purposeful course based on a more authentic personal brand. In today’s post, second in her “Branding You” series, Lisa offers her expert advice to help you dig deep, discover, and define yours. Take a few minutes, give her exercise a try, and pause to reflect a bit on “why”. – Ed.
Ready to amplify your influence on the world? Why not start with one of Oprah’s most famous questions: “What do you know for sure?”
Your brand is not based on fiction, and getting to the bottom of it doesn’t require you to change yourself or get “creative”. Instead, it requires you to unearth the unchanging parts of who you are.
The things you know for sure.
Look for constant threads throughout the journey of your life: What has always been true about you?
Building your brand from these deep-rooted certainties is how you keep it authentic and real. It’s also why, once you’re living your brand, everything flows. You’re not stuck pretending to be something you are not.
A SHORT EXERCISE IN PERSONAL BRANDING
To get started, think right back to your childhood, before the world did its best to average you out. Identify the consistent things in your life that have always:
- Driven you mad (in a good or bad way),
- Prompted people to comment on, ask of you, or envy; and
- Made your body sing, time slip away, or your heart feel so full that it just might explode.
Think of specific memories or examples for each, and then pull out the commonalities by asking yourself “why?”. By doing so, you’re digging up characteristics that will fall into one of three categories: your Talents, Passions, or Attributes.
NINE THINGS YOU KNOW FOR SURE
Talents are those activities or abilities that come naturally to you. Passions have the power to make you act. They are a huge source of energy for you. Attributes are the innate personality traits that shape your behavior and effect on people.
After reflecting on the questions above, and drawing on a lifetime of knowledge, choose three meaningful characteristics for each category. This will provide you with a starting point for your brand definition: nine concepts of “you” by which to live your life.
This exercise only scratches the surface when it comes to discovering the parameters of who you are, but getting clear on that which you know for sure is just the beginning. In my next post, we’ll build on this and explore how to live your personal brand more fully.
In the meantime, watch attentively for opportunities to pursue, feature, and simplify your life down to these nine concepts. Watch for things that challenge, weaken, or contradict them. Savour them, and, slowly, if you can, narrow them down to only the ones that resonate most.
Lisa Haggis helps people create powerful legacies through their businesses and their careers. With a unique and systematic approach to branding, she supports visionaries as they bravely fulfill their calling by living and breathing an authentic brand story. She is a strategist, coach, writer, and orchestrator of memorable experiences. You can find her at lisahaggis.com.