Personal Branding Image Consulting ,Atlanta
Today is Day 11 of my family's self-imposed isolation and formal social distancing, as advised by the CDC and other national public health entities. I've been practicing the other recommendations of hand-washing and sanitizing to stay virus-free, for over three weeks. I filled my pantry with multiple trips to the store a month ago. On March 13, I felt prepared for whatever. By March 16, I was obsessed.
I am a fact nerd. I love data. You want me on your trivia team. My coronavirus obsession, however, went beyond that, affecting me to my core for several days. I kept the TV on throughout the day. I bookmarked the CDC, Johns Hopkins, NIH on my computer for quick reference. I watched every news conference. I wanted to be armed with every bit of current information available. I was frustrated with any social media connections posting fluff. "I get up and get dressed for work, even though I'm working from home," said one woman. An infographic by a female-centric organization asked, "Tell us, what are you reading?" Ugh! Of course, I was silent. I felt I had nothing to contribute to the current conversations online.
On Wednesday, March 17, I woke up early, made coffee, and sat down to write at my desk. I had not been in my office for a week. I needed to purge and self-reflect about my anxiety. My value proposition, posted on the wall next to my desk, reminded me of my purpose. That morning, the coach and mentor in me showed up too. Thank goodness! Where had I been?
I offer you a summary of the self-reflection I've done over the past seven days and the conclusions I've made for myself. I hope they are of service to you.
Address your fear.
Fear is a good thing. It's a deeply rooted human mechanism that helps us mobilize and be safe when a threat arises. When anxiety becomes our daily motivator, we lose our focus, at the expense of so many other aspects of our life. If we live and strive and work according to the principals and values that truly define us, there is no place for fear. Dr. Andrew Zwig, one of my favorite thought leaders in the field of psychology, says, "Don't nourish your fears more than your dreams."
The core values that direct my life every day are creativity, service, authenticity, and inspiration. Fear kicked those aside and distracted me from my life's purpose and my professional mission. Fear is not a core value. It is the result of living away and outside of our core values--our true self.
I identified my fear and removed it from my TO DO list! I now consider it a momentary lapse of sound judgment.
Live your life.
These are extraordinary times, but we have an ordinary life to live. Our families, colleagues, and clients are relying on us to show up! We must engage the core values that define us and our reputations for their sake and ours. Our communities need us for our competency and our consistency.
Before isolation, what were the essential things on your goals list? What was your priority? I am working on the top four items that I can manage within the parameters of my isolation and via the fantastic technology at our disposal.
Create your future now.
Don't lose your focus. Now is the time for personal development and professional growth. Audit and enhance your social media platforms. Learn something new! For me, that's video editing. In 2014, when I started my consulting business, a mentor gave me advice that I still try to put to use. These are his three tips for business success: Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.
This state of being in our world will not last forever. We have to prioritize the now, but we must take time to plan and envision our future. Make wise choices, protect your family's health, and follow the directions in the small print!
Stay healthy my friends--
I'm sure you've heard this before: "The way you do anything is the way you do everything." That means consistently, authentically, and with integrity... or not. The choice is yours, but remember, the result is yours as well. Your personal brand is the result of the way you do everything and exists in your reputation, how others perceive you, and the value you provide those you serve.
If you are unsure of the status of your personal brand, I challenge you with these questions. If you are confident in your personal brand, I ask you the same questions.
This last question is the first step you need to take to strategically and intentionally build and manage your personal brand. Your core values serve as your internal compass and influence every decision you make. Know them, name them, espouse them, and consistently message them through your digital presence, professional behavior, actions, and your value proposition.
---Helping you express your most authentic self,
The Need to be Known: I stepped away from social media to guide my teen through her own struggles with it
When my daughter received her first iphone at the age of 12, I had just started homeschooling her. I had been homeschooling her older brother for a year already. Our family plan was to home school our kids through middle school and then send them off again to public high school. My son, a brainy introvert, took to it amazingly! I simply directed him and he taught himself amazing things!
My daughter needed a much more hands-on approach with her instruction--more of a "white-on-rice" mom presence. When I wasn't actively in the room with her, she would get very distracted and bored. She used her phone to play games and socialize (with strangers) on apps that she wasn't supposed to have. She became obsessed with the secrecy. The emotional breakdown that ensued upon being discovered was the most dramatic, heart-breaking occasion I had experienced with my child.
She was reprimanded, the phone taken way, and the apps turned off. For a three month period, while we dealt with her struggle, I stopped posting--everywhere. Some well-needed counseling led us to understand what was in her heart and mind.
As I tried to understand why she went out of her way with secrecy and risky behavior to achieve these things through social media, I realized I also sought these things from social media, but on a professional level. Did that make it acceptable?
I too want to be known as a professional, to feel relevant in my career, to be followed by my peers and clients, and to find common ground with other thought- leaders in the social media universe. I concluded, what does it matter having 10,000 or more followers on Twitter, 500+ connections on LinkedIn or to be an Influencer on Instagram, when it is authentic, personal engagement and symbiotic relationships that truly lead to conducting business, especially on a small business level?
I personally know a Twitter media giant with 350,000 plus followers. He's smart, kind, and so experienced. He's worked very hard, everyday, for ten years on Twitter--connecting, re-tweeting, liking, posting. He thanks everyone who follows him. When we meet for lunch or coffee I frequently ask if his social media presence brings him business. His response has been, that although he engages with many people and has met many great people through social-media, the actual business he has generated isn't quantifiable. It's the long-term relationship he builds after meeting someone on or off line that actually may lead to a paid project.
A digital presence and social media are critical to your branding efforts. You must have a website. That is your home-base, where your messaging is controlled and curated by you in a concise way. This is where you explain your product or services, where you espouse your value proposition, where your satisfied clients' comments and recommendations reside, and where all your contact information exists. Your home-base is where you can convert visitors to engaged participants who buy in to your newsletter, your blog postings, your news emails, and maybe, hopefully become a new customer.
I have now assigned social media a new specific task--to get the word out about ME. Who I am, what I do and why I do it better than anyone else. The goal of every post is to direct my audience to my website: my home-base.
As for my girl? We decided to take on some teen counseling. She loves it! She really looks forward to talking with her counselor a couple of times a month and pour out her feelings with someone who cares, but isn't her mom! Actually, it has made her more open and conversant with her dad and me. She's grown. I've grown. Our relationship is being built for life and social media is in our control. It does not control us.
Helping you #BETHAT for which you want to be known,
What if making decisions was as easy is opening a compass and heading due north. What if I told you your core values are that compass? Do you know your due north? Your core values are your personal fundamental beliefs. They have been described as what you stand for, who you really are, and the expression of your authentic self. I refer to them as your internal compass.
You, in fact, have always had a set of core values whether you have identified them or not. Some, you may have held close since childhood, handed down to you by your family and the circumstances of your upbringing. Others, you may have adopted over the years as you have grown and evolved--influenced by your faith, education, the change of cultural norms, friends, the prevalence of social media, and even your job! Your core values are at the base of everything you do and how you do it, everything you say and how you say it, and absolutely influence how you are perceived by others. They can be perceived through your words, actions, appearance, and digital presence.
Unfortunately, we do not always present our authentic self to the world. So many of us fear transparency and the potential social retribution of being seen for who we are or who we are not. For those who are self-employed or own a small business the risk of "exposure" is even more threatening because "we are our brand". Who we are perceived to be determines the success or failure of our business. We need to be perceived as a smart, talented, passionate, inspirational--a professional who has it together and provides an amazing service or product. The truth is, perfection is only an Instagram story.
All the motivational poster babble, social media quotes, profound snippets on #motivationalmonday or #wednesdaywisdom are fluffy words that can not help us if we fear expressing our true essence--expressing our core values. Realistically, we can not serve our families, friends, or our clients if we are not intentionally using our core beliefs and values to guide the decisions we make and express who we are. We only serve best when we know who we are and what core beliefs and values drive us. Identifying these values, putting a name to them, and literally and figuratively wearing them on our sleeve is what differentiates us as professionals and business owners. People will not buy our product or service until they buy who we are first.
On January 17, 2019 I will be conducting a workshop focusing on core values and how to intentionally express them in your daily professional and personal life. In the three-hour session you will:
This is the first in a series of five #BETHAT professional development workshops offered for small business owners, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurst at Decatur CoWorks in Decatur, GA . For more information and to sign up go to our Eventbrite Link below. If you have additional questions please connect with me
Do you have Style? Don't panic! This is somewhat of a trick question. It's important to understand foremost, Style is not just about the way you dress. Style is the manner in which you do anything: the way you communicate, the way you behave, the way you process emotions and information, and the way you dress. On a professional level, Style includes your managerial and leadership approach. All of these "style-types" are influenced and led by your unique personality, core values and how you express yourself visually, emotionally, verbally, and behaviorally.
I can not stress how important it is, in all phases of your career, whether you are an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, or in the corporate world, to know and understand your "Styles". There is an ancient Greek aphorism espoused by many writers and philosophers to "know thyself". In the 21st century, this advice is still extremely relevant. Do you know yourself?
So relax. Yes, you have Style. In everything you do. Understanding your styles allows you to bring a value proposition to the table every time and to intentionally build your authentic personal brand.
"helping you express your most authentic self"
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I write about the topics that make you stand out and help you be that for which you want to be known. My passion is helping you as a professional, discover your values and your inner style and project them authentically and confidently though your words, actions, appearance and digital presence.