Personal branding is all about how you show up in other people’s minds. Before you start thinking about the content you should post on social media, let me ask you an important question:
How do you show up in your own mind? What impression do you make on yourself when you walk into a room?
This is the foundation of being a powerful and authentic brand because it all comes down to sales, like in the product world.
This is true for you because selling is the key to building a powerful personal brand. After all, you are selling yourself.
The question becomes, how can you sell a product if you don’t honestly believe in it?
If your self-talk is harsh and you are highly critical of yourself, this will filter through your body language and whole demeanour.
A powerful personal brand begins with how you feel about yourself.
Here are steps you can take to show up powerfully to yourself and build your brand from the inside out.
Keep the promises you make to yourself.
Confidence is directly proportional to the promises you keep to yourself. If you set the alarm for 6:30 to go running and you hit the snooze button, you broke the agreement with yourself.
It’s never just ‘this one time’; because breaking this agreement has a domino effect on the rest of your day. The self-talk becomes incredibly critical; you begin to procrastinate on your tasks that you swore you wouldn’t do, and then you figure you will ditch the whole day and go and grab the doughnut that you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat.
One small broken promise becomes four broken promises, and they stack up throughout the day. You are in full self-loathing mode by the end of the week, which is not a state where inspiring decisions are made.
To build trust in others, you need to start with building trust in yourself.
Consider when a new brand hits the market, they don’t launch with ten products at first. They launch one hero product and get that perfect before the next version gets released.
Apply this strategy to yourself. Don’t get caught up in the personal development treadmill, and try to work on several habits at once. Choose one — what is one new habit you can commit to and make it as small as possible.
If your goal is to get fitter, start with a ten-minute walk. You want to get the system in place before you overload it with trying to do too much in one go.
Consider expanding your range once you have this habit under control and consistently commit to this promise.
Do daily acts of kindness.
“You can’t force yourself to be worthy. It’s an act of treating yourself as worthy” — Steve Chandler.
Positive self-talk and affirmations can only go so far. It’s like a relationship where someone tells you what you want to hear, but their actions demonstrate something completely different.
How can you show yourself daily acts of kindness that go beyond essential self-care?
One of my coaching clients was on the verge of burnout because he subscribes to the ‘grind through your days to succeed’ mentality. I’ll ask you the same question I posed to him:
What would you do if you had a free day to yourself with no work or family commitments?
He paused and said, I would go and sit in the garden for 20 minutes to breathe, followed by a massage. He broke down the rest of the day, but all were straightforward activities.
We then scheduled time into his week for the little things that energise him from the inside out.
Daily acts of kindness are about filling up your internal fuel tank; it can be as short as twenty minutes and not cost you a cent like sitting quietly outside to think.
When did you last indulge in a long bath, read a magazine or a fiction book? When did you last take yourself for your favourite coffee in the middle of the day or spend thirty minutes colouring in between meetings?
An act of kindness is something you know you will love but tell yourself that you don’t have time for it. Investing this time in yourself makes you a far more powerful brand than you could ever imagine.
Consider the difference in your performance when you feel content, energised and happy?
Daily acts of kindness are a way to upgrade your software to be the complete version of yourself rather than running the 2015 version and wondering why everything is so slow.
Master your self-talk.
Building on your daily acts of kindness is mastering your self-talk. Both work hand in hand; it doesn’t help to do the daily acts of kindness if you tell yourself that you don’t deserve it or ruin the experience for yourself by obsessing on how many things you could and should be doing.
I used to be guilty of this — I am militant about my facials, and when I went to the appointment, I spent an hour in my head focusing on everything I should have been doing and got myself into such an anxious state. The irony is that I left the appointment more stressed than when I arrived.
Even though the act of the facial is kind, the self-talk was pure self-sabotage. Fortunately, I have taken the lesson and now can’t wait for the appointment. It’s an hour to unplug, unwind and let my mind wander. I can tell you that some of my most creative ideas come to me in these appointments.
What you communicate to yourself has a significant impact on how you present yourself to the rest of the world. If you are trying to sell ‘brand you’ and your self-talk is how you are an imposter, and everyone will figure out that you know nothing or that you’re not enough, then this incongruency will filter through your body language and tone of voice.
What you choose to show up to will also be impacted because you will talk yourself out of potential opportunities if you don’t honestly believe in yourself.
How do you describe yourself? Do you use words like anxious, introvert, worrier, I’m bad with numbers or shy? Consider how these habitual labels might be limiting you.
The words that you attach to your experience become your experience. If you attach words like a nightmare, stressful or terrifying, you will generate emotions such as anger, fear, or grief.
If you choose better words like opportunity, excitement, or a learning curve, you will generate feelings of joy, contentment, and happiness.
“Your feelings are data, not directives” — Susan David.
When you feel anxious, press the internal pause button rather than get upset and more anxious about being anxious.
What thoughts are you focusing on that trigger the emotional response in you? You don’t need to do anything; simply observe. Then choose a better thought to replace it and a more positive aspect to focus on, and you’ll find the anxiety begins to dissipate.
When you can control your thoughts and self-talk, you begin to take ownership of the feelings you want to experience every day.
A salesperson can never succeed from a state of desperation or fear, but when they come from a place of love and genuine contribution, they will be successful even if they don’t make a sale that day.
They left a great impression on the client and have sold themselves as trustworthy and genuine, opening the door to future possibilities.
Master the art of listening.
What made Larry King such a powerful personal brand was his ability to listen. He famously said:
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
Bill Clinton is also known for making people feel like they are the only ones in the room. He gave them focused attention combined with active listening.
How do you rate yourself on your ability to listen — not to other people but yourself?
Do you listen to your body wisdom when it tells you it’s tired and in need of rest? Do you listen to your intuition when it tells you not to trust that specific individual or instead take a different route to work today?
How many times have you decided against your better judgement and then regretted it afterwards?
To show up to yourself, you need to insert a mental pause button, slow down and listen to yourself.
Listening could be as simple as standing up, rolling your shoulders and getting a glass of water between meetings. It could be picking up the phone to call a relative you haven’t spoken to in ages or acting on that random thought that pops into your mind.
We get little whispers all day, whether it is something to do or our body begging us to pay attention to the chronic headache and fatigue. If you continue to ignore it, your body will finally scream at you to get your attention.
To be an exceptional brand, stop and listen. If you’re burned out, it’s too late.
Spend time with yourself.
A great salesperson knows their product inside out.
What strengthens brand loyalty is the buying experience. If someone can help you through your decision-making process and ask the right questions, you will be a brand convert.
How well do you know your brand? How is your product knowledge?
Have you updated your software to the latest version, or is your thinking still running on the 2015 thoughts, beliefs and values?
You may convince yourself that you spend time with yourself by exercising, but you most likely drown out your thinking with music or audiobooks.
I’m talking about time in complete solitude to tune into your thoughts, reflect on your wins or set your goals.
Journaling is an excellent tool because there is nowhere to hide. It’s you, your thoughts and the page. Journaling provides a bridge back to yourself by having an outlet for the circling thoughts that play on repeat.
Emptying your thoughts onto the page enables you to get out of your own way. Begin the journaling process by writing down anything on your mind that’s taking up mental bandwidth — feelings about a situation fears you may be dealing with or even start thinking ahead to your future goals.
Journaling doesn’t have to be heavy writing; it can be a place to reignite and rejuvenate yourself. Here are some prompts to get you going:
· If you had no fear and money was no object — what would you do?
· If you could plan your dream holiday, what would that look like?
· What is the most extraordinary vision you can imagine for your life?
· If you were living out your life’s purpose, what would you see yourself doing?
If you are single, you could write about the kind of person you would love to attract into your life. What do they value? What traits do you admire in them? It’s not about external appearances or a bank balance but how would they make you feel.
Here are some other Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery:
· What do I know to be true that I didn’t know a year ago?
· What distractions get in the way of being my most productive?
· When do I feel most in tune with myself?
· If someone described me, what would they say?
· What can wait until next week?
· How does every part of my body feel in this moment?
You know that knowledge is power and probably the upgraded version that knowledge is potential power; it’s what you do with the knowledge that matters.
This is true for you too.
Get to know yourself a little better — what triggers you, what makes you tick, what do you need more of in your life to become more authentically you?
Then move into action with better self-talk, more focused listening and daily acts of kindness.
To hit your sales targets, keep the promises you make to yourself.
When you can do this consistently, self-confidence will become your baseline.
From this place, you will not only show up powerfully in your mind but to those around you as well.
Here’s to being authentically you,