As a college professor, I love the first day of a semester. This reset is a time of great anticipation and excitement. It is like New Year’s Day. Many students embrace this new beginning with energy and optimism. However, the shine of newness soon fades and the grind of classes, assignments, exams, and other tasks can overtake the big picture goals of learning and growth.
The struggle to keep focused on goals is not limited to the journey of college students. We often become sidetracked while on the road to personal growth. It is not deliberate self-sabotage. Rather, losing focus tends to come from a combination of competing demands on your time and others making their priorities your problem. Your focus shifts from managing your situation to putting out other people’s fires. The next thing you know, months have passed and you have not even begun that project or started working toward a personal goal.
When it comes to managing your personal brand, you cannot afford to let competing priorities consume you. Why? Think about it, no one else in the world has as much motivation or urgency to care for your identity and reputation as you. Even the people who love you most— parents, significant others, or close friends— have less vested in your success.
What I am about to share with you is not meant to scare you; I merely state fact when I say once you embrace a personal branding mindset, you have made the decision to be “always on.” Your brand is not active Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00 only.
A brand is an ongoing concern. Nike cannot afford to take a day off from caring for its identity, and neither can you. This call to be always on is not intended to be a burden. You will not be working at 3:00 a.m. (unless you choose to work at that hour). But, for best results you will always be mindful of how your values, thoughts, attitudes, and actions impact personal development and how you are perceived.
What Is Personal Branding?
Before embarking on a journey to build a better personal brand, it will be helpful to establish what we mean by personal branding. One of my wife’s co-workers said she equated personal branding with tattoos that have names or symbols of loved ones. If you are averse to body ink no worries, personal branding does not require getting tattooed!
In the book Me: How to Sell Who You Are, What You Do, and Why You Matter to the World, Colby Jubenville and I define personal branding as “a process for identifying, developing, and communicating your unique value.” The process of personal branding is the ongoing, always on approach to fine tuning and improving the unique value you offer.
Reinforcing a Personal Branding Mindset
Details on personal branding and suggestions for fulfilling the awesome responsibility of managing the world’s most important brand are the focus of a book I just published titled Brand New Year: 52 Ways to Create a Distinctive Personal Brand. In Brand New Year, you will find 52 ideas for implementing a personal brand mindset.
I suggest reflecting on one idea each week over the next year and follow through on the Brand Builder recommended action at the end of each chapter. Some ideas will have significant positive impact on your brand. You will scoff at other ideas as being so not you. That sentiment is fine, but even if you feel that way about a particular idea reflect on how it could help build one’s personal brand.
Brand New Year is not written from the standpoint of an expert or teacher as much as it is written from the perspective of someone who is grappling with the same challenges as you to build a meaningful brand. Embrace personal branding and enjoy the journey.