Have you ever wondered if your personal brand will really fit you years from now, or even days? That was one of my fears when I first started crafting my personal branding to where it is now. I was afraid to commit to something because I felt like I couldn’t be tied-up in a pretty bow like that. I had too many interests, too many things I wanted to do.
“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
There’s a lot of pressure when you’re building your personal brand. You ask yourself questions like, “is this who I really am?” Or “How can I pretend to be who I want to be perceived as?” Or “Will people like me as this brand?” These are some of the most common fears that come up for my clients and students too.
It can sometimes kind of feel like you’re a college freshman being asked to pick the career that you want for the rest of your life.
But the thing is…these fears aren’t based in reality, or at least they don’t have to be.
Change is guaranteed.
Just like the world around us, we humans are ever-evolving. And thank goodness because good gawd, I cannot imagine if I was still attracted to the kind of guys I liked in high school. Or imagine I still spent the majority of my income on Fun Dip, Blue Razz Berry pops, and collectible plush bunnies like I did in elementary school, or wore the same overall-shorts and shoulder pads I did in junior high. Okay, maybe my junior high fashion is back, but that’s beside the point.
Your core doesn’t change…
We’re are meant to adapt, mature, and change, but there are also things about us that stay pretty constant. And that’s good too. For instance, while my spending habits may have changed, my innate desire to help people has always been there.
Except when it does?
You can even have phases where you seem to change and then come back to who you are. While I had always been a sensitive caring kid, I went through an awful (now embarrassing) phase of gossiping about classmates during my middle-school years. When I eventually realized it was more about my own insecurity than other people, I was able to return to my original factory setting of being empathetic and compassionate.
The point is, if we’re living with our heads screwed-on most of the way, we’re trying to be the best we can be. And that drive and evolution to be our best selves is something we can hold onto, something we can build our personal brands on.
Our strengths, values, and core is something that won’t drastically change even if we decide we’d rather be a social worker than a salesman. Okay, maybe there’s some ethical changes necessary for that one, but you get the idea.
Powerfully stepping forward
When we consciously work to be the best humans we can be, we find more powerful ways to step into our purpose and interests. We may even discover along the way that we prefer writing memoirs to novels, or painting in oil, rather than acrylic, or working a low-stress job to fund our artistic interests, rather than working freelance. And that’s okay, it doesn’t mean your personal brand has to be thrown out the window.
In the past, I think these kind of changes might have signaled a sea change in how we think we should have presented our “brand” or “persona.”
The opposite is actually true. Even the corporate bigwigs know that people prefer to connect with other people, not inanimate corporate brands.
As Entrepreneur.com notes:
“When brand messages are shared by employees on social media, they get 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels.”
Your personal brand still has value, even if you left your job, or changed careers, or retired. Sure it may need some work, but if you’ve used your own personal strengths as the foundation, it’s much easier to rebuild.
Loyalty to People
“As society changes, as politics change, as people change, certain songs still seem to resonate.” —Beck
Think of some of your favorite personal brands, if these people shifted their focus it’s likely you wouldn’t write them off. For instance, Oprah had a talk show for years, which she shifted from to start new ventures like O magazine and the O network. Sure there was talk of audience loss, maybe growing pains, but look at her now. She’s still a big (a huuuge) name. She’s dug more deeply into spirituality with Super Soul Sundays; she’s invested in other shows and stories she feels aligned with.
And she’s still successful.
Did she lose some fans along the way? Probably. Did she gain even more who are aligned with her personal brand values? You betcha.
Not everyone will like you.
Here’s the other thing, if or when you make some changes in your career, or life, or brand, some people won’t like it. They’ll leave, block you, or fall out of touch. That’s just fine. You don’t need to be everything to everyone. In fact, you can’t. Not really.
Embrace who you really are at your core, embrace what you truly believe in, and build your brand on WHO you are, not just what you do. You are much more than your title, your art, your craft, or your job. You’re an exquisitely faceted PERSON whose personal brand works to help attract the kind of people you want in your life.
Strength in Personal Branding
That’s why I focus on strengths-based and personal values-based personal branding. I believe your character, how you treat people, are still the most important and memorable things about you.
When you can build a personal brand grounded in who you authentically are, the fear of how things may change down the road, melts away.