Resources for Building Your Personal Brand

You work hard. You’ve got great results. Your team loves you. You’ve made strong internal connections. That’s a start. But others are doing more.

Define what matters most. Build your brand. Share it with the world. Build relationships and find resources beyond your current reach.

Don’t wait for tomorrow to matter beyond your current role. 

Perhaps you’re “too busy” “don’t know how or “hate to toot your own horn” Get past that. Learn how (resources below). Make the time. Connect.

Executive Coach, Speaker and Consultant, Henna Inam, is building her platform. She recently found me through social media and asked to connect, just as I do with others. That’s not networking, that’s building real relationships. It’s easy. It just takes a few minutes to make a connection. She’s got a mission to help women realize their potential as transformational leaders. I have a mission to grow leaders at all levels. We should know one another and collaborate. She shares insights on building your brand (excerpt and link below). That’s only the beginning. You can build these kinds of relationships too.

Five Steps To Amplifying Your Leadership Brand

1) Get clear on your leadership brand. As I define “The Authentic Brand YOU”, it is your unique essence and impact in the world. This sense of clear purpose, the difference that we want to make in our work and in our community, ignites the fire that gets us going and helps us stand out. Karin’s leadership purpose is growing people and organizations through transparency and trusted partnerships. She says “Bad leadership is my enemy!”. Mine is helping women realize their potential to be transformational leaders. What’s yours?
2) Get clear on why you want to amplify your brand. For some leaders it’s about making a big impact – fully expressing who they are in their workplace, industry, and community. For others it may be to create an alternate stream of income while they work. Others may think about this as a way to kick-start their second careers. Once you get clear on the objective, determine how much time and energy you will put into this.

Read Henna’s other steps here

Other Resources I’ve Used in Building My Brand and Platform

Building your brand takes deliberate work. It can feel overwhelming. Start by cleaning up what’s already out there. Google your name. Take an objective look at your Facebook page. Update your LinkedIn Profile. Join a Professional Google Plus or LinkedIn Group. Connect with someone new every day.

I am constantly learning from experts. I have mentors, coaches, and deep relationships formed through social media. I invest time in finding the right resources. We are all learning together and helping one another to become more.

Some Books That Help

The Icarus Deception (Seth Godin) Seth will inspire you to move with urgency and confidence.

Trust Agents and The Impact Equation (Chris Brogan and Julien Smith) Chris and Julien teach about building trusted relationships and the logistics of connection.

The Start-Up of You (Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha) A primer from the founder of LinkedIn. An easy place to start. Really good for frontline leaders.

Renegades Write the Rules (Amy Jo Martin) The title says it all. How to unleash your inner renegade.

Never Eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi) The advanced course in building connections. I learned a lot about the approach to conferences here (it works wonders).

Platform (Michael Hyatt) The basics of starting a blog to build your platform. I literally went chapter by chapter to set up my blog.

Optimistic Hearts on a Disappointed Road

I had lunch with some old friends– the kind you miss deeply without even knowing. I was once their leader. Now, I feel powerless to help. I am grateful for the heavy, important hearts entwined in conversation.

Their frustrated hearts continue to survive the downsizing. Other friends have not made out as well. Perhaps,
So much to do, with much less. Limited support. Intense demands. Stress, fear and hope remain.

“Why do you stay?,” I asked the obvious question. I felt an immediate urge to send them my “courage” posts. But it wasn’t just fear they were facing.

Hopeful and Complicated

Their hearts pumped reality. Perhaps yours does too. I understand.

  • “I’m so stressed”
  • “The hours are long”
  • “I am very good at this.”
  • “This is not my passion”
  • “I really need the money”
  • “I shouldn’t let him treat me that way”
  • “I find meaning in this”
  • “My people need me”
  • “I need insurance”
  • “The alternative might be worse”
  • “I have so much invested”

The yellow brick road has bad signage. You could go this way or that way. Dangers and rainbows are everywhere.

When Your Heart Pumps Confusion

My heart feels confused and disappointed. The road should have been brighter for these eager hearts and minds. Lolly Daskal offers some vital advice for disappointed hearts. All are helpful– my favorite is the concept of “Remain”

“Stay congruent with your values. Identify your beliefs and your core convictions, and don’t let yourself get caught up in someone else’s shadows. Maybe you were disappointed because your core convictions were crossed, remain steady within yourself”

When the pressure is tough, keep perspective. You have choices about how to be, how to behave, and what to begin. You can’t control how others are reacting, but you can choose your response to them. Like the team on the yellow brick road, your journey offers many choices. Stay at the center of them.

  • lay down in a poppy field (step back from the situation)
  • involve your inner scarecrow (make some lists of pros and cons)
  • involve others on your journey (find companionship, coaching and conversation)
  • beware of false wizards (no one else has your answer)
  • try on new clothes (take a day off, and hang out with your dream job)
  • bring a bucket of water (be prepared to douse the naysayers)
  • ?

5 Ways to Support Your Boss (Without Kissing Up)

I don’t know your boss.

She may be great. He may be a pain in the neck. He may be supportive. She may be a real witch.

I’ve been that boss. I’ve had all those bosses. All leaders have “bosses” of one sort or another. Sometimes you are the boss of you. Most of the times, someone else also enters the boss scene. Regardless of what breed of boss you have today.

My guess is your boss also…

  • wants you to succeed
  • is dealing with pressures you don’t fully understand
  • sometimes feels overwhelmed
  • is trying to please a boss too
  • is working to balance work and family
  • is doing the best s/he can
  • could use your help
  • ?

There’s the age-old advice “always make your boss look good.” I find it also useful to make them feel good– reduce the stress by making their job a bit easier.

5 Ways To Support Your Boss

  1. Sweat the small stuff. Do what you say you will, without reminding. Get ahead of deadlines. Administrative stuff is a drag, you boss has better things to do than to chase down your paper work.
  2. Communicate frequently in bulleted summaries— leaders often suffer from information overload. They are often called upon to summarize complex issues on the fly, that’s not when they want to go digging through emails. Resist the urge to cc and forward emails without a summary attached.
  3. Uncover issues & address them — your boss knows there are problems, shielding her from them will only make her nervous. Lift up the issues you are finding, along with the solutions to address them. She will sleep better knowing you are paying attention and are all over it.
  4. Thank him for his help. Be honest and specific. Done well and privately this is not brown-nosing– it’s feedback that can help him help you. A side benefit he will grow as a leader.
  5. Document your accomplishments. This is not bragging, it’s useful. Well timed, detailed summaries helps to support the performance management process.

Get Noticed: Start By Building a Strong N.E.S.T.

These are all phrases I’ve heard used in succession planning and other discussions over the years. The tragedy is that the folks being described in these conversations work extremely hard, have fantastic results, and are highly committed to the company. The trouble is, they are working too hard to get noticed.

“She’s more focused on her career than the business”

“He’s applied for so many promotions. He doesn’t seem to know what he really wants to do next, he just wants the title.”

“Every time I talk to that guy he tells me how great his team is doing”

“I’m not sure what it is, she’s just a bit over the top.”

Scott Eblin’s recent post, You’ve Got To Speak For the Work, was timely. I had just finished a conversation with a leader facing this same issue. A woman on his team had GREAT results. The trouble is, she was constantly telling everyone. She was getting tuned out, and worse, her results were being ignored because she was seen as needy. Her work to get noticed was backfiring. Scott shares how to “speak for the work” vs. promoting yourself.

Speaking for the work is not about jumping up and down saying, “Hey, look what I did!” You’re speaking for the work, not speaking for you. More specifically, you’re speaking for the work of your team. Part of your job as their leader is to advocate for them and get them the exposure they need to succeed. Another part of your leadership role is to make sure that your boss has the information she needs to successfully brief her boss.

I concur with all his points. Worth reading if you want your work to get noticed I have shared this article broadly.

I also believe a great way to “speak for the work” is to use it as a nesting place to help others to grow.

Four Build a Noticeable N.E.S.T.

N- Notice what is working and why

Channel some of your need to get noticed into a pursuit of continued excellence. The more you understand what is working, the easier it will be to replicate. Stay humble and open to ways to improve you own nest, so that it can be an incubator for future growth and ideas.

E- Extend Support

Extend your support to struggling peers. Share your tools and resources. Offer to lend them your best talent to help with a struggling project. They will likely be grateful and tell others about what you are doing and how it helped. It will give your best talent a chance to get noticed and they will be learning along the way.

S- Sell your team’s contributions

Nominate your team members for formal recognition programs. Use informal channels to provide shout outs. No one will every fault you for giving well-deserved kudos to your team. Work to promote the careers of others, pushing them as soon as they are ready out of your nest and on to the next adventure. They will carry your vision and reputation forward.

T- Talk about the great work of others

Be genuinely interested in the nest building of others. Be the first one to point out other’s accomplishments. Don’t worry about reciprocation. If you are doing great work, it will come.

Early calls: Discovering You Love to Do

One of my favorite parts of being a mom is watching my kids discover what they love to do. The other day, Seb (6), looked at me with an epiphany. “Mom, when I am talking and everyone is listening to what I have to say, my heart feels happy, and I feel totally in control of myself. My life feels good and easy.” Yikes. He was hearing the ringing of some early calls.

“Enter each day with the expectation that the happenings of the day may contain a clandestine message addressed to you personally. Expect omens, epiphanies, causal blessings, and teachers who unknowingly speak to your condition. Expect that through the right lens, all our encounters will appear full of thunderbolts and instructions; every bush will be a burning bush”
~ Sam Keen, Hymns to an Unknown God

The truth is, he is right. He has a natural gift for speaking, and people light him up. I am so glad he is paying attention.

I love to talk with adults that seem that happy and engaged in their work. It’s fun to ask them when and how they “knew” what they wanted to do. It always leads to fantastic conversation, and people who are jazzed about their work are even more jazzed to talk about why.

I keep a running list of themes I hear from folks who are in love with their work. Here are a few.

  • It’s okay to not have found your calling, be patient
  • Create space and time for reflection
  • Listen carefully to your heart
  • Build a strong network and community of support
  • Take some risks
  • Don’t discount it because it feels too simple; it may feel easy because you have a gift
  • One thing leads to another, pay attention to signs along the way
  • Know that it will be hard, involve sacrifice, and come with its own junk
  • Be grateful for the journey

Are you doing what you love? How did you know this was what you wanted to do?

What advice do you have for those in search of.