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.