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.