Having a strong personal brand is about defining your niche and becoming highly skilled in it, NOT being everything to everyone.
Think of all the successful popular brands you know. They are really good at a few things and don’t apologize for what they do not do. Sure, a brand may evolve and expand, but there are definite areas they don’t bother to venture into. Why? It’s much better to do a few things extremely well than a bunch of things only so-so.
Confidence is built from a strong sense of self and being secure in your own identity, trusting in your efficacy and likability. To create confidence in your own brand, start with what you naturally excel in and what makes you different than others. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- Ask people in your life to describe you in 5 words. I call this the Personal Branding Survey (see upcoming video interview) and I’ve been doing it every 2-3 years for 15 years. Whenever I assign it to students in my career development classes at Brigham Young University, they are always touched by all the positive things their family and friends see in them.
- Journal about what you like about yourself. What accomplishments are you proud of? What unique perspectives and ideas do you have to offer the world? What makes you happy?
- Take a strengths assessment. My favorites are StrengthsFinder and VIA Strengths Survey. Ponder on the results and how they show up in your life.
Once you’ve got a good inventory on who you are and what you have to offer, it is just as important to identify the things you are NOT and the services you do NOT offer. To give you some ideas, here’s my personal list:
- I am not athletic or sporty. I can’t remember all the game rules, I’m not naturally competitive, and I don’t have good agility, strength, or endurance. I am okay with this because I thrive in dance, Pilates, and yoga.
- Having a detailed memory is not my strong suit. I have to paraphrase all quotes and excerpts. I am okay with this because I can easily look it up online and save space in my brain for principles and theories that are broadly applicable.
- STEM areas are not my strengths. I have no idea how the internet works and my brain has trouble grasping the immense dimensions of outer space. I am okay with this because I excel in the humanities, performing arts, and social sciences.
- High-risk activities aren’t my thing. I avoid activities that may paralyze or kill me (skiing, horseback riding, skydiving, outdoor rock climbing, etc.) and I’m terrified of heights. I’m okay with this because I frequently get out of my comfort zone through public speaking, being vulnerable in expressing my emotions, and initiating conversations with strangers.
- I wear my heart on my sleeve. You can read me like a book and if I don’t like something, it’s very visible. I am okay with this because I create relationships of trust with my openness and honesty.
- Mental health therapy, health coaching, or dating coaching are NOT my space. I do a combination of career coaching, counseling, and advising – 3 areas in which I am highly skilled and experienced. If clients are too emotionally distressed to work on their careers, I will refer them out to therapists first.
- There are no in-person sessions offered for my career coaching business, Launched by Linda. All my sessions are conducted virtually. I currently don’t have a separate office and I will not hold sessions in my home. If a client really wants to meet in person, I will refer them out.
There you go, now create a list like this for yourself. You can do it. It will feel liberating! You will free up so much mental and physical energy to focus on maximizing what you’re already good at. Your personal brand will feel more efficient and authentic.