I’m going to share a big irony with you today. I’ve worked at the art of personal branding for years helping people unearth, understand and come into their own voice, as we call it, in order to share their story. It’s such a joy for me to help others captivate their authentic essence and start putting themselves out there, on the web, for the world to discover.
The irony is I have done little of this for myself. While I’m pretty clear around my own brand attributes and my voice I often take very little time to express it on the web despite the fact that I help others do this all the time!
What’s Wrong with Me?
For the last several months I’ve become keenly aware of this deficit and have been trying to understand two things: 1. Why? And 2. How do I fix that? Time to turn the lens inward.
Understanding the why is actually pretty easy. For starters, good ol’ Myers Briggs tells me that I lean towards the introverted side of the scale. I do not like the limelight at all. Even at my own wedding I was uncomfortable being seated at the head table!
On top of that, I am extremely humble by nature which likely stems from my parents who are also very humble about their own successes. As a result of that humility each time I have a success one of two things happens:
1. Each time (this does not happen often) I have the thought or feeling that “I am really good at that” OR “I did a great job at that” and internally it starts to feel like it’s going to my head something immediately happens that brings me back down to earth. Fast!
2. I down play it and the internal dialogue sounds more like “that was no big deal, anyone can do that.” Or, “people are just saying those amazing things about me because they are trying to be nice.”
Men are More Confident then Women
This makes total sense when you dig deeper into scientific research, which indicates that women are less confident then men, and that makes them less likely to share their voice and espouse their successes. I can certainly relate to this as well. As I shared above in #2 my internal dialogue is tearing my successes down not helping me take them to heart. The Atlantic Weekly ran an article called The Confidence Gap, which shares evidence that men are more self-assured then women. One of the most eye-opening quotes in the article is, “the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back.” It’s a highly interesting article so do take the time to read it if this topic interests you.
And the last “why” is time. It truly takes time to put yourself out there and build your brand. I spend a lot of time helping others build theirs and because I lean towards the introverted scale I would rather go to the dentist then share my soul online. (That’s a bit of an exaggeration actually because I really do dislike dental visits!).
That leaves me with “how do I fix this?” I’m still working through “the fix” but I’ve started with a few action items that I hope inspire others to take action too:
1. Make the time to share my thoughts and feelings online.
2. Share my findings around the personal branding work I’ve done for others over the last 8 years. Personal branding has been my passion for longer then I can remember so I have vowed to myself that I need to share what I have discovered through my own personal journey and that of others.
3. Take action to stop my inner voice from shutting me down. A friend and client who recently launched a business called “Consciously Prosper” told me to just tell myself “delete, delete!” when that negative voice creeps in.
4. Make the time to start writing more. Another friend, Cynthia Morris who runs a company called “Original Impulse” says in her manifesto “writing flexes our risk muscle and writing reflects our soul’s work.” So, I’ve started writing more. I am enjoying this so much because I was a writer; I worked as a journalist for several years and used to write daily.
5. Get courageous. I recently took my youngest daughter to see the original version of Wizard of Oz on the big screen. Watching it as an adult I realized that there are so many helpful life messages in that movie. One of them being about courage. As the lion prepared to meet the great Oz he realized that he had courage within him already. He just had to be tested and take instinctual action. How many times do we see someone in need of a hand and we just automatically take action? Holding the door open for someone, or bending down and picking something up that a complete stranger dropped. These actions are an instinct and a reaction to a situation. Putting yourself out there takes courage too but if it comes from the heart with the intent to help others’ it’s truly an instinct.
6. Put myself out there. This is an especially hard one for me but it prompted this post. Recently, Lane Kennedy interviewed me on her podcast “The Entrepreneur Experience” which is for and about women entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Lane shared her wonderful platform with me and I wanted to share the interview with you.
Building and sharing your personal brand takes courage, consistency, constancy and time so what are you going to do to build yours? What steps can you take today to start sharing your truth online? Would love it if you shared just one idea or action you can take to build your brand today in the comments below.