This morning I read a really great post about personal branding by Carlos Miceli. This made me consider more what personal branding should really mean. While personal branding has been defined in a way that has resulted in a somewhat of a calculated and insincere effort, I do think that conceptually the idea is important. But I think we need to stop asking ourselves what people think of us, and start asking ourselves who we want to become.
Several months ago, I heard a presentation from someone who was leaving their position after several years. He said that at each place you go, you leave an impression. You will the “the something guy/girl”. That was the guy that changed our hiring strategies. Or that was the guy who always blew off and left early. Or that was the girl who was always willing to put in the time to make sure the details were solid. We are constantly defined by our actions and comments. This is our personal brand: the personal recommendations that come from past employers and coworkers, those we have volunteered with, those we have interacted with socially, whether online or offline. Each time you respond or act, you are defining who you are. Quick to anger? Quick to laugh at a mistake and move on? Willing to listen to other people? Always consumed with your own stuff? Detail oriented? Organized? Dedicated?
I think we each need to consider what we say and how we act not because it will get us better jobs or more subscribers, or some other perceived benefit, but because it matters who we are and what we are becoming.
Anyway, that presentation has made me think a lot about that in the last few months and this post reminded me how powerful that comment was to me at the time: that it is more important to me who I am and what I am becoming than what someone else perceives of me.