How do other people see you? When they talk about you (and realistically, you know that they do) what do they say? And do you have any control over that? The answer is yes.


Photo: (cc) Hot Gossip Productions via Flickr

Brands or reputations are based on people’s experience of someone or something. Each encounter or observation is a data point. Together they form a pattern, and people can “name” that pattern any way they want: they might name it “energetic” or “thoughtful” or “professional” based on the data points you put out there combined with their own subjective experiences. Being deliberate about those data points can enhance your personal brand or reputation.

In our seminars, speeches and in the book we guide people through a process of “show and tell” — show people the representative behaviors of your brand, and use specific words to tell them what they are seeing so they can name it properly and consistently.

A colleague recently told me that he dislikes the idea of personal branding


Photo: (cc) Roger Davies via Flickr

because it feels like a label. I agree that labels are undesireable when they put people in a limiting box not of their own choosing. However, when one can create her own professional brand that is both sustaining and distinguishing, that’s powerful stuff. In an interview, one of my favorite authors, Garr Reynolds says, “People may push back on your brand, but it’s yours to demonstrate.” Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0 and a blog on personal branding believes that one’s brand evolves out of one’s passions and abilities. When that happens, you can be an authentic and self-empowering leader. People will know exactly who you are and what you stand for.

Lion or lamb? You decide.