I get to work with fascinating and inspiring clients. And a lot of what we do together as part of personal branding is making sense of the various threads of their stories.
How they got here.
What they offer.
And where they’re going.
I was meeting with a client this week who in addition to having built up a not-for-profit, has both an unusual early professional background and a rich, extra-curricular artistic life. The question:
How much of HER can and should go into her personal brand?
We’ve been taught to be professional, to conform to resume guidelines, safe interview answers, and relatively bland LinkedIn profiles. And perhaps were afraid to expose other parts of what makes us, well us.
This is the safe route. It is also makes everyone a lot more homogeneous and more bland.
What if there’s more to your professional story?
What if the “personal” sides of you are actually key features of your professional assets? And perhaps, clues to where you might want to go next.
Four prompts to help you decipher whether parts of your personal brand story deserve to be told
Does it Complete the Story: Sometimes, the professional bits don’t add up. Why you moved from there to here. Why you studied that major. How you ended up in this country. Maybe there’s a piece of your background that completes your story?
Is it Informative: Often, some of the “personal” parts of the story are actually relevant to your professional value. They illustrate how you show-up in our work, what you bring to the table, how you look at things, or how you tackle problems.
Is it Distinctive: You may like to jog or you like to read. Neither of these are very distinctive. Is there something in your background or your life today that is distinctive and could be given meaning?
Is it Additive: Finally, whatever it is needs to add to, not confuse the overall story. If it doesn’t connect with the professional story then it isn’t additive.
How these story elements show up in your personal brand is another question for another article. You need to feed this into your market, your career stage, the market power you’ve earned and what you’re trying to do next.
What’s your professional story? I have a well-developed process to help clients and customers uncover and develop their professional assets and from that, a coherent, compelling story. Get in touch to learn more.