Build Your Career and Your Life – Why and How to Build the Brand of You

Today I once again guest lectured at the University of Texas in the Leadership Institute. I have guest lectured for years for a couple of universities and enjoy visiting with the students and teaching them from my experience (the school of hard knocks) and also learning from them. They will soon be in the workforce and their focus is naturally on where will they find a job, when and how.

More and more I see an upcoming generation of workforce that does not understand the soft skills required for success in business and in life. This generation has been told they can do or have anything they want and have it instantly. Us old folks know, this is not true. This generation has been told it’s not only okay to over-share the details of their life, it is rewarded through “likes” and “shares”. This generation thinks people want to know what they had for breakfast. There is a sad reality soon to hit. This generation doesn’t have any idea that what they put into the world will impact the brand of who they are and therefore their success path.

We work with clients every day to build their brand within their targeted stakeholders. That might be a customer/industry base, that might be a political grassroots base, or that might be legislators and their staff. These efforts focus on building a reputation for an organization or company, a group of people. But, what about the brand of their leaders? What is your personal brand and how does it impact your career?

Building a career takes years of work. Education and training. Trials and Tribulations. I prefer to learn in the deep end of the pool – jump in and figure it out.

While building a career you are also building the brand of you, establishing who you are as a person. What are your values, can you be trusted. People are watching and perception is reality. Always be mindful and conscious of your own reputation, your brand. No PR firm can help if you are tone deaf.

A few things to consider as you think about your own brand:

  1. Things change/things happens – good things happen. So do bad. The ups and downs are much easier to ride with a strong reputation.
  2. Nobody is successful alone.
  3. Choose the people around you carefully. Put people around you who build you up. And you build them up. People don’t remember what you say but they do remember how you made them feel.
  4. Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. (Will Rogers)

The most powerful tool you have in creating success in your life is to appreciate other people.

Why should you care about what others think? Because people do business with people they “know”. To succeed, you need advocates – people willing to say this is a leader you can trust, this is someone I recommend. Everybody needs somebody else. Nobody succeeds alone.

Media and social media are omnipresent whether you engage or not. Use this to your advantage. Be aware of what you are projecting. Remember that you are what you tweet. But don’t be afraid of social media. Like anything else, it’s a tool in the toolbox – a way to tell your story and showcase your strengths, your brand. It takes thoughtful engagement and a little bit of time but the return on that investment is exponential. Clients still ask me whether they have to be on social media and my response is always the same – if you can go without your phone for 48 hours then you are in a world that doesn’t require a social media presence. (Nobody has made it 4 hours yet, much less 48)

The brand of who you are as a person, a leader, will impact the success of your career. Nurture with intention and keep knowing your business and the rest will fall into place.