Personal Branding Image Consulting ,Atlanta
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 going to talk to 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 express your most authentic self and #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"
Photo courtesy of J. Hilburn.
As I consult both professional men and women, I reach out to many sources for sartorial knowledge and information to stay current and in-the-know about corporate and professional style trends. Although I never encourage fashion trends, as they are so flighty, I always want to pass on smart information that applies to my client and his or her personal style. Maintaining a quality, current and professional wardrobe takes a bit of effort and investment, but the result is a wardrobe that is relevant for many seasons and a professional image that authentically represents the individual. Afterall, style means nothing unless its personal.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin Knaus, Creative Strategist, Retail Advisor, Trend Forecaster and Professor of Fashion Marketing and Management at SCAD, Atlanta. Our special focus was on men's wear and the trends corprate America is witnessing in professional attire.
Q: In the past decade, we have increasingly seen casual attire take over offices all over America, and not just in the creative industries. Do you see this continuing, or is there a fall-back to a more sophisticated and "dressed-up" sense of style?
A: I do see it continuing in the office environment. Future change will be up to the company or organization and how they establish or enforce dress codes. Today’s employees must exert a certain amount of judgment when casual attire is offered.
So much has been written about the changing of dress codes. Recently major Wall Street firms announced new relaxed dress codes to compete when recruiting talent from major technology firms but, today’s employees are still very confused on business casual which gives retailers an exciting opportunity to develop fashion education programs for the customer.
Q: Do you think that younger men/millennials have a greater sense of personal/individual style than their Gen-X or Baby Boomer predecessors?
A: Yes – Younger men/millennials are more open to experiment with dressing. I do see a difference in the older millennial verses the younger millennial. The younger millennial wants to dress with a more significant personal style. When visiting retailers, the staff are telling me that young millennial men have a stronger interest in dressing up. This customer likes the educated staff that can help them with the correct purchase.
Q: European cuts are just that! Are Southern professional men embracing the more fitted shorter jackets and pants or are they still inclined to wear tailored and classic cuts?
A: I feel this is a personal taste and depends on the man. As we know the American man has a build that is different than the average European man. It’s very common for American men to be larger in the middle, more so than European men. American men can have difficulty finding correctly sized European suits because if the jacket fits, the trousers may be too small. It comes down to how much a man wants to spends. A well-fitting suit can be expensive. In the end, the Southern professional male is still inclined to wear the classic cuts.
Q: The blue blazer is a timeless piece for men. How often must it be replaced to stay current in a man's wardrobe?
A: The blue blazer will always be a staple in a man’s wardrobe. The blazer is perfect for a meeting or with blue jeans as it’s a timeless silhouette that will always be in style. Dressed up or down a man always needs the classic blue blazer. Today, many types of blazers are available but, I recommend either the standard double-breasted or the two button as they are the most classic for men. Today’s man needs a great cotton/linen blend for summer and a wool for winter.
Thank you for sharing your valuable knowledge and expertise with my followers, Kevin!
"helping you express your most authentic self"
Click the StyleVOX icon below to be directed to our YouTube channel.
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.