I always considered myself to be fairly self-aware, so deciding on a personal brand should be easy; right? I WISH!!! The reality is that it has been harder finding a brand than getting dressed in the morning (let me tell you that can be quite an ordeal). Do I portray myself as a student, a manager, a seller, an entrepreneur, mom, woman over age 40, someone who loves to listen to Madonna?
Self Awareness Who?
Self awareness went right out the window the moment I enrolled in a personal branding class at the University of Nevada, Reno. Don’t get me wrong, this has been by far my favorite class taken as an MBA student. Dr Bret Simmons introduced the class to the power of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The past 3 months I have blogged and tweeted on a regular basis. Bret’s suggestion was to find something that I am uniquely good at and base my brand on that.
Reality Sets In
Urgh! I wanted him to tell me what I should write about and have it all set before me (and then I woke up). My job as a customer experience supervisor is a great part of who I am but it does not define me completely. I am unique in that I owned a business for almost 15 years after which I closed the shop to go back to school and finish my degree.
Who am I?
My tenure as a non-traditional student makes me unique. I went back to school in my late 30’s and graduated with a degree in Health Science at age 41. My goal was to show my 2 kids what it takes to complete something as important as a college education. School became such a passion that I decided to continue right after graduation and joined the MBA program. Maybe I should blog about that?
The problem wasn’t that I had nothing to talk about. In my value statement, I state that I can talk to pretty much anyone. That is an understatement to say the least, I am a model ESFJ personality and I pride myself in the ability to start or join in most conversations.
Oy Veh! Here Comes the Fear!
Tonight, classmates began presenting their own personal brands and I left dumbfounded by all of the talent these students have shown. How could I possibly compete with their brilliance? What if everything I learned isn’t enough to showcase my personal brand?
I thought about what crazy reason I might have to think so little of my own work. Then I realized that I was afraid people may not like what they saw and read. I was afraid that I had nothing worthwhile to say.
Fear was choking the creativity out of me. Fear could not win. Each week I read, Ashley Ambridge’s blog The Middle Finger Project. In the category, fear exposed I realized that everyone has fear. Some of it is legitimate, other fears are unfounded. It is what you choose to do
about with these fears that is important.
Take a Deep Breath and Relax
So what if my personal brand is still developing. The fact that I am putting myself out there to be critiqued by my peers is a victory in itself. As of now, the future of a personal brand may still be unclear. With more insight and work, it will come eventually and it will be spectacular because it will be unique to me.