Whether you realise it or not, everyone has a personal brand. Including you. Sure, there are people out there who are carefully designing a purposeful personal brand and then… well, there is everyone else. People choosing to let their digital footprint run loose and turning away from the fact that an authentic personal brand can benefit both their career and life.
Everyone we encounter on a daily basis, perceives us in a certain way.
In other words, they have ‘branded’ us, most often, within a couple of minutes or even seconds of meeting us. Recognition as a thought leader or expert in an area or industry doesn’t happen overnight. This kind of branding and expertise takes years to build and to design and carve out in the public sphere. Sadly, we are living in an age where more extroverted individuals are confidently mislabelling themselves as thought leaders and game-changers in the pursuit of speaking gigs, media and so on. This is not what I am talking about here.
Let’s take the marketing speak out of the equation (as in, the term, ‘personal brand’). I’m really referring to leaders who know that to truly connect with others, they need to operate authentically and leave their ego at the door. The people who realise that a great personal brand will shape their legacy, long after they have moved on from their current gig.
As an introvert, I tend to attract other introverts.
It’s now been almost five years since I first started my own business and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into introverted leaders who are very apprehensive about the need to build their profile and share their genius publicly. I get it. It can be scary and intimidating to put yourself ‘out there’. But let’s flip things on their head and consider a different perspective for a moment.
Forget about the words ‘personal branding,’ which often leads people down a slippery slope in terms of their immediate thoughts. Instead, let’s think about writing and sharing ideas that help people to better understand who you are and what you’re passionate about. Let’s consider taking off that invisibility cloak (Harry Potter fan, right here) for one moment and think about truly connecting with like-minded people. It doesn’t seem that scary now, does it?
When introverted leaders turn their back on sharing their thoughts and expertise widely, we all lose. Reality is, you can be the most talented person in your field or have the most innovative business idea up your sleeve but if people don’t know about you, they can’t reach out or buy from you. Many things in the business world are likely to change but this will not: people buy and interact with people they trust.
A thought that has helped me in my business journey, particularly around the notion of sharing my thoughts, ideas and pieces of my personal story, is that doing so isn’t really about me. Actually, it has nothing to do with me at all. Anything I share publicly starts and ends with the intent to help someone else, whether that’s because something I am writing may be relatable to others or I am aiming to pass my knowledge on.
We’ll leave the final words to the wonderful Dr. Seuss.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss.
Over to you: are you proactively building your personal brand as a leader? Why or why not?
If you’re a fellow introvert and would like help with building your personal brand (or whatever you call it), reach out and let’s chat: firstname.lastname@example.org