What holds us back from speaking up, standing out and building your brand

Talking about shame, has never felt this empoweringThe Power of Vulnerability -Lessons in Personal Branding.

I am on an audiobook kick. I have been listening to the Power of Vulnerabilty by Brené Brown and wishing I had a longer commute (isn’t that something?). I have even played it on one of my infrequent runs, because it is that good.

One of the most powerful lessons I find myself walking away from this audiobook and learning is what inner gremlins I tell myself that hold me back and how they might be holding you back too.

What are shame gremlins? What does that have to do with personal branding?

In simple terms these are the voices that come out when we want to do something that is outside our comfort zone or we feel we are not very good at. So another term for it might be self-doubt embarrassment or second-guessing yourself.

For some it might be writing, for me it’s been speaking up online.

I read a lot. I have always loved reading and one of the fun aspects of my job is reading new things everyday. But you would never know it because I rarely raise my voice and say something about it anywhere. I think I have what one might call social media shyness.

The irony is my job calls for a lot of social media participation. As you can guess, I have not been very good at beyond blogging, quite honestly I’d rather write and then hide behind the confines of my writing and wait for the content to spread itself. Which goes against what I know works, which goes against what I would recommend others to do.

This bugs me, it has always bugged me and I have tried to ignore it, until I came across Brené Brown.

Embracing vulnerability is the key to doing your best work

After listening to about an hour of her book, I came to realize some hard truths. Shame is a powerful trigger for not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. It comes across in different ways, but when it ties to doing my best work the fear of looking like a fool has held me back. Not good.

I sat down and decided to write honestly what my shame gremlins are. The thoughts that come across my mind when I am about to submit a comment on a blog, or LinkedIn group as it relates to my work. To be honest sometimes it’s harder than it should be because I feel I do no know all there is to know about internet marketing. Another gremlin was that I may not be accepted.

Brown covers this in her work by talking about how focusing on acceptance and acknowledgement can actually be a source of anxiety which holds us back, she shares, “Courage stats with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

Focusing on showing up and being seen takes care of the anxiety of not being accepted, and how others might perceive you, which is a powerful gremlin without acknowledgement.

There is a comment that my boss Patrick shared with me when he was first hiring me as a freelancer. Everyone is an expert in something.

Although I am not an expert Twitterer or Google+er, I am really good at writing. I can write everything from blog posts to e-mails to e-books. I can think of ideas, do the research and find a way to present it all in a neatly understandable chunks in a friendly manner. That’s my thing. I ought to celebrate, embrace, and share it.

That’s just me.

What being vulnerable has to do with personal branding.

Personal branding requires a bit of sticking your neck out there. That can be intimidating. It’s easy to forget that all these masterminds had to start somewhere and they had to overcome their own internal gremlins and speak up or stand out. Each person had to go out on a limb and really believe in themselves. And they had to be able to do it in a way that left them open to attack from Internet trolls.

We forget that they make it looks easy but it’s was not always so.

Everyone had to speak up or stand out at some point. And that made all the difference.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” ― Brené Brown

So in my quest to conquer my shame gremlins I have made a small vow to myself to speak up more. Even if I feel like an amateur, to focus on what I’m really good at, and to be seen daily. Whether that is leaving a comment whenever I read a post, or participating in a discussion.

What personal branding goal would you like to make? Speak up, I’d love to hear your voice on conquering your own gremlins.

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” ― Brené Brown

How to use your personal brand statement to create SMART goals

Personal brand statement goal setting -Oscar WIlde QuoteOne of my first days in college, my health professor asked us to write down all our lofty goals, and just save them somewhere. He said that if we had written them down we might direct forces within our beings to achieving those goals whether directly or indirectly.

I tried that, and as far as I can tell, I am a long ways from getting a cherry red jeep, or taking a hot air balloon ride across the Serengeti.

So I switched the idea of writing all my lofty goals, and narrowed them to just 3 simple goals that I hope I can achieve within the next 5 years. I can’t tell much else beyond that, and 5 years is long enough to make me feel like I have time, but short enough that I can break down into chunks of what I want to accomplish this year, and the next.

What does this have to do with personal brand statements?

Well if you really think about it, personal brand statement is a vision of how people should see you. So using it as part of your goal setting will help you refine what professional goals you should set yourself in the interim to make that personal brand statement happen.

So how do we use personal brand statements to create SMART goals?

SMART goals by the way are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time specific. So let’s start with a personal brand statement I recently wrote on creating your personal brand statement, and work off that to create a SMART goal.

“I want to help people find and leverage their uniqueness to achieve success in their career or business.”

Make the personal statement goal Specific

So breaking this down, how do I want to help people? Off the bat we can start with tools that I can use to achieve this vision: Blogging, creating and maintaining an e-mail list, joining LinkedIn groups that talk about personal branding, guest posting on related blogs. All these activities are centered on setting myself up as a resource for people to learn about personal branding.

Make the personal statement goal Measurable

How will I measure and track my progress towards achieving this goal? Tracking your progress can be inspirational and help you stay motivated and on-track. Just the other day I had a sign-up to my mailing list; this is how I am choosing to measure my success because I can get actual numbers on how I am doing.

Make the personal statement goal Attainable

It would be fun to say I want to be featured on talk shows, write a book and become famous for personal branding, but that is too lofty for me to achieve within the time I am setting for myself. So instead, I am focusing on making the goal attainable by looking at factors and activities I can control. I can start by promoting the blog, and writing darn good posts. I can research and read all that is out there to become an authority on the subject matter, I can seek out people in my profession to build connections with, these are all within my sphere of control, and fame is not.

Make the personal statement goal Realistic

I’m a big dreamer and optimist. I really think there’s nothing you can’t achieve with focus, time and passion. So for me making it realistic understands the constraints I am working under, namely I do not have a lot of money and time to throw into it, so focusing on what I can do is more of a priority. To that end, I can probably set apart an hour every other day to work on writing blog posts or promoting them before or after I get work done.

Make the personal statement goal Timely

At this point, you can take all the ideas you have and break them into chunks. Overall, say you want to achieve your vision in 5 years’ time, what can you overarching goal can you make each year that will help you get and stay on track?

Break down each of the ideas into phases, and then further down into quarters of the year. I did this by creating Evernote notebooks around each phase so that if I get ideas or see things I would like to carry out at a later stage I can put them into the respective notebook, and come back to them when I get to that phase. In case you were wondering, I’m at Phase 1.

That’s it; you’ve turned your personal brand statement into SMART goals. High-five me in the comments if you’re on board with this plan!

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy. In her spare time she writes a personal style blog. Find her on <Twitter and Google+ and tell her what strategies work for your business.

Creating your personal brand statement –An exercise

Complete this sentence. Writing exercises are ­_____________. I hope you answered fun, because we are about to jump into a personal branding writing exercise: Creating your personal brand statement.

Personal brand statement -Writing exercise -Daisy QuakerSay it with me, “Yaaay!”

Why you need a personal brand statement

A personal brand statement is a clear statement of who you are, what you do and why you do it. It can give you direction, focus and a way to set yourself apart, and it helps the world figure out what you’ve set out to do.

It’s a big deal for corporations to have personal brands, but it’s also a big deal for you. So you’ve got to carve out a small chunk of time and dedicate it to creating your personal brand statement before you dive into building your personal brand.

So let’s get started in creating your personal brand statement

Who are you and what do you do?

This will help you find your personal brand identity. It’s not enough to say “I am a consultant” or “I am a businessman/woman” what does it really mean?

Remember when you were learning nouns such as teacher, or leader or coach? These are roles that give others a picture of you in a snap! So focus on finding a role that paints a picture, and don’t from being adventurous by using terms like innovator, storyteller, and artist. This might not make it into the product but it will set you on track.

Now, what do you do? I’m not talking about an “I work with companies to blah, blah, blah.” statement. That’s too generic. Make it something specific, clear, but simple. How does your identity + what you do =helping others? Remember simple is powerful. A personal brand statement example for a graphic designer might be: I’m an artist who helps businesses bring their creative visions and ideas into reality. So simple anyone can understand their big idea, ad what’s more they become curious.

Another approach might be to start with a phrase like “I want to help ……”

If you’re starting out, i.e. of building your business, starting your career or looking to move up in your in your field, a good starting point would be to talk about your goal.

“Help” is a keyword in this exercise because it approaches your goal as a service which not only gives the feel-good vibes, but it also attracts others that need the help you offer.

Why do you do it?

Without further ado, what makes you do what you want to do? What is your purpose?

Think about the big picture, the overarching goal, the main thing that drives your focus and just let your creativity and imagination run the show. Sure it might not give you something concrete at first but with refinement you will get a very clear way to explain what you do to others. Once again, avoid big words; keep it simple, honest, ambitious and real.

After some drafts I came up with my personal brand statement:Personal Brand Statement Examples

“I want to help people find and leverage their uniqueness to achieve success in their career or business.”

Now that was fun right?

I feel motivated and purposeful! Writing a personal brand statement is really a motivational activity, it allows you to close your eyes and imagine. Told you writing exercises are fun! Spend some time working on and thinking about your personal brand statement, write it up, print it and put it somewhere you can see the same way a business would hang up their mission and vision. It will help you as you go about building your personal brand.

But we are not done yet.

Once you have figured out your personal brand statements we can get started on creating by-line. I will publish the 2nd part of the personal brand statement exercise –the tagline next week. Look out for that post next week or sign up to the personal branding mailing list to get each post delivered to your e-mail so you can always get your copy of personal brand building tips and advice.

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So what’s a personal brand?

I am an anomaly. I can stand in front of an audience and present or perform without flinching or butterflies, but give me a room and tell me to network and I want to bolt straight through the door. I don’t have a fear of public speaking, throughout high-school and college I performed alone on stage without a problem. But put me in a one-to-one situation and watch how quickly I lose my cool.

I suck at networking, and I even sucked at virtual networking.

When Twitter came out I hated it. The thought of sharing my thoughts with the world or chatting up a bunch of strangers was not my thing. It’s just a fad, I thought. Boy, was I ever wrong. So I had to start training myself to become more open and more willing to walk up to people virtually and strike a conversation, I’m still not that great at it, but its a work in progress.

Maybe you have it wrong about personal branding, too. If your idea of building a personal brand is boasting about how awesome you are at every opportunity then you are on the wrong track. Building your own brand is a lot more fun than that

What personal branding is (and is not)

What is personal branding

It’s the sharing age and you could be a hot commodity

Who’s going to know how awesome you are if you don’t start showcasing your talent and skills? Building a personal brand in the tech age is all about sharing what you know. With your skills and talent you are a hot commodity to someone seeking help with a project or building a team.

Personal branding is about sharing what you know with the world. Referrals from one job or project to another are great but being found when someone is looking for someone with your skills is even better. It’s not enough to just do an awesome job at your company and ignore LinkedIn, Twitter and other networking tools. You have to spend time on creating your own brand too.

People that share what they know get further a lot faster than those that stay mum. So you’ve got to start thinking about what your skills and passions are and  how you can use technology to leverage them. Creating your brand or building your reputation is super importnat if you are building a business, but it’s also important if you want to stand out in your field.

Share what you know even if its jut becoming an active member of a LinkedIn group, or guest posting in blogs in your field every once in a while.

Personal branding can help you get work or clients

Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to build your own business, starting out on the job market, or working in a company, building a personal brand can help you get the projects you want to get. It can help you get the right kind of attention without having to straight up brag about it

What do you want to be known for?

Remarkable people are those that stand out. If we were to meet today, how would I remember you?

It’s time to get in the business of building you. What your name and work says about you will set you apart in every instance. The more remarkable you are the more likely you are to be remembered, and the more likely you are to succeed. It’s not just about having a skill, It’s about being able to market that skill to people who need it.

What are you good at? what do you want to spend your life doing? how are you going to share how awesome you are at ____________?

Think about it this weekend.