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One Personal Challenge that will Make 2017 your Best Year Yet

One personal challenge made up of three special words has the power to positively change your career and greatly impact your world for the better.  Are you ready to make 2017 your best year yet?   Here we go!   The act of branding livestock with a fire-heated iron to identify ownership dates back to the ancient Egyptians. In business, the concept of “per­sonal brands” dates back to the late 1990s. At launchbox, our approach to branding is a fresher take on the value of defining your personal brand and considerably less painful than being touched by a hot iron (although millennials are not averse to marking; nearly 40 percent of them sport tattoos).

We call this your “brandstamp.”

Brandstamps are about who you want to be, how you want to be perceived in the world, and whether or not you deliver on that brand. To help our clients define, articulate, and own their personal brands at launchbox workshops, keynotes, or peer-to-peer networking groups, we create brandstamps through an exercise you can start right now.

It starts by finding your three brandstamp words: Three words that define your personal value and how you want to be perceived by the world. You can pick any three words you want to but try and pick:

  • words that are aspirational—that you think you are and wish to be perceived as—such as smart, caring, honest, and thoughtful.
  • words that, when you wake up in the morning and immedi­ately think of, make you push yourself to be your best.
  • words that if you lived by them every day, you would be the best version of yourself and who you are meant to be.

Now that you have your brandstamp words, you need to field-test them to find out how well they are aligned with views people you know have of you. Because when people see you as you see yourself, you are succeeding in convey­ing your value.

Before I started launchbox, I struggled with what my brandstamp would look like would look like. My coach, Lauren, had an idea that we should assemble a group of thirty friends, former employees and bosses, peers, workout buddies, and mentors to discuss who I was. They would help me start to determine how I could build something big.

Before I went in to talk with this group, I chose my own three words. Once we were assembled, Lauren and our facilitator, Angela, had the group pick the words they thought represented my per­sonal brandstamp. They had fun joking and whittling down hundreds of words to three: direct, giving, and motivational. (I admit to being relieved when “arrogant” and “annoying” finally left the table.) Wow. Not only were they generous words (I felt like I was at my own funeral), but they also aligned quite well with mine at the time: generous, bold, and inspirational. To me, that meant I was living my story, and my story reflected who I was to them.

As launchbox has evolved, so has my personal brandstamp. Today my words are generous, bold, and empowering. That is the cool thing about your three words: they can evolve and you can change them whenever you need to, as long as you own them and keep them aligned with how people see you.

Okay, your turn to try.

Once you have your words, see how they align with the way your people see you, and listen to their comments. Do this with at least three people. See what they think your three words should be, then share yours and see if you are in alignment. If the words are aligned, congratulations! Live them and let them evolve as you do. If they are not aligned, get at it. Find out and explore the inconsistencies—seek to understand why disconnect exists—and get the words aligned.

For more on working from the inside out, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

 

 

 

Step Up Your Game, Develop a Personal Brand

Great branding doesn’t just apply to businesses. In fact, you can develop your own personal brand and jumpstart your career in any industry. But your personal brand isn’t about a good color scheme and font; rather, it involves identifying your strengths, values, and passions and using these attributes to build your professional presence. Here’s how you can create your own personal brand and give your career the boost it needs.

Identify strengths & weaknesses

During interviews, you’re likely asked about your strengths and weaknesses as an employee. But when you’re building your personal brand, you’re digging much deeper than these questions suggest. Identify a few things that you do particularly well. To get yourself started, you can ask yourself the following:

  • During your past successes, what was it that made you so successful?
  • What skill do you find yourself using the most in challenging situations?
  • What are some strengths others have identified in you?

Once you’ve created a list, narrow it down by deciding which skills you would enjoy using on a daily basis. This will help you identify a long-term brand path that will be both successful and enjoyable.

Network

Climbing any career ladder requires a little help. Fortunately, you have a built-in support system with your coworkers and upper management. Start by establishing a mentorship with senior staff, or by helping others around the office with small projects.

You never know who might lend a helping hand, so make connections in unexpected places to build potential in your professional network. If you make a habit of adding value to your work relationships, this will become something you’re known for and word travels fast of helpful, enthusiastic professionals.

Blend personal & professional

A great way to build your personal brand is by getting more involved with extracurricular activities around the office. Is there a party planning committee? Ask to join. You can also create your own social groups, whether you’d like to organize a monthly company outing or a book club among coworkers. This pro-activity and positive attitude will add a richness to your personal brand that will help keep you at the top of your game.

Get noticed

Finding ways to stand out can be difficult, but if you’re charismatic, open-minded, and willing to take advantage of new opportunities, you’ll find yourself getting noticed by your superiors and your coworkers alike. Be careful that you don’t have any traits that can negatively impact your personal brand, whether that’s tardiness, lack of professionalism, or unreliability.

Changes won’t happen overnight, but if you maintain these good habits over a period of years, you’ll successfully build your own personal brand and establish yourself as a person worth working with. Plan for the future with a well-developed, carefully designed personal brand.