What about our personal values? We all have them, even if we struggle to articulate them. Do we really spend enough time paying attention to them as individuals in identifying, measuring and calibrating ourselves to them? We would argue that many find this as elusive as self esteem can be.
Values go to the core of who we are. They are sacred and are our very being. Just like an organisation, our values define what we stand for and what we just can’t stand. Alex Hamilton, a British Journalist, once said in a radio broadcast in 1978, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything”.
Identifying and recognising our values is fairly easy, when we set our minds to it and maybe with a little help from others. But what do they say about our personal brand and why is this important? Personal branding is the public face of who we are. We all have one, even if we don’t know it, but does your personal brand say what you want it to, does it amplify your beliefs and personify you?
our values define what we stand for and what we just can’t stand
Social media is now well entrenched as a powerful publication medium, comprised of main stream channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn etc. These channels are relatively user friendly to the extent that just about anyone can access them and, if used wisely, will promote your brand either implicitly or explicitly. They are vehicles to easily drive your brand, however that said, this is a red alert – be cautious to make sure they don’t drive you!
Authentic leaders understand the value of personal branding and importance of trust, openness, transparency, integrity, which are all cornerstones of effective leadership. Authentic leaders know their values intimately, stay true to them and do not betray them for anyone. Simple, right? But simple doesn’t mean easy. This often requires great courage particularly in the face of criticism or derision, where our values provide a great source of strength to follow our convictions. Whenever we might face a difficult decision our values often shine a light on the right pathway forward. To quote Maya Angelou, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage”.
Similarly, this is also true for your personal brand as we shape and nurture it. However we also need to be vigilant to protect it especially if we find it unjustly under threat or misrepresented in social media, organisations or the broader community.
Here are few key questions to ask yourself in nurturing and protecting your personal brand
- What are your values and expressly, what does each one mean to you?
- What have you, and do you, want to achieve and why?
- What do you want your personal interaction style to be?
- What do you want others to say about you – if your brand could talk what would it say?
- How will others hear about you?
- What mediums will you use and monitor to promote your brand?
It’s your brand, treat it like gold and make the most of it to achieve your personal and professional goals.