Recently, I had the unique experience of taking a course that was all about creating a personal brand. At first, I was a bit hesitant to lean into the discomfort of creating one singular definition of who I am. However, I quickly learned that creating a personal brand is actually about showcasing your authentic self in a way that is easy to communicate with the world.
A personal brand is a combination of your interests, values, and statements that can be integrated into your day to day life. It is all about being authentic to who you truly, deeply are at a cellular level!
Seeing the potential in being able to communicate deep thoughts, feelings, and values in an each to understand way, I’ve taken the past few months to work on developing my personal brand.
My Personal Brand
I know that it is my mission in life to help others reach for their dreams. In everything I do, I try to engage others in identifying their passions and goals. For that very reason, I consider myself a “Dream Catcher.”
I’ll speak a little bit more about the steps that I took to develop this brand, but I found it most valuable to take a moment to reflect on interests, values, and mission statements. Your personal brand could come to you at any point. Even if you decide that a personal brand isn’t right for you, this can be an incredibly valuable exercise!
Now that I have the personal brand that defines me currently, some of the beauty of a personal brand is that it can change and develop over time. I consider this to be a lifelong pursuit of mine. I am always trying to find a new way to communicate my message in the best way possible. People change and grow, therefore, it makes sense that a personal brand will do the same!
Should You Create a Personal Brand?
I believe that everyone should have a personal brand. It makes it easier to showcase all of the beauty, authenticity, and values that make up our lives! Whoever the audience is – friends, family members, co-workers, or employers – a personal brand makes it easier to showcase you.
Below, I have included a 5 step tool kit to create a personal brand, though these steps can be done in any order! A personal brand is all about you, so make this a process that fuels joy and enlightenment into your life, even if your process is very different than my own.
5 Steps to Creat Your Personal Brand
Define Your Interests: Align your brand with your passions and goals
Take time to reflect on the things you love. What are the things that interest you and represent your passions and goals? Interests can be things that are tangible like crafts or hobbies, or they can be intangible like history or storytelling.
Set a timer for 5-7 minutes, then write down all of your interests that come to mind. Take a few minutes to look through the list and then star or circle the three that make you the most excited. Try to pick based on your intuition or gut feeling, rather than thinking too much on how you’re supposed to feel.
Think on why you chose your specific three interests and why you love those three activities/ topics? You’ll want to keep those in mind as we go through this process.
Values: Create a brand that stands true to your beliefs
Values help to guide your decision making. When building a personal brand, it is helpful to know our core values because they are so deeply rooted in everything we do! Sometimes they are very easy to identify and other times they may be a little bit hidden beneath the surface.
To find what values speak most to you, start by reviewing this list of values. In the first five minutes, select five words that resonate with you. Then in the next one minute, select three words from your new list that resonate with you. Lastly, in 30 seconds, select exactly one word from your most recent list that resonates with you.
Your five words are your core values, with emphasis on the three words you selected. You place the most value on the last word you chose.
Now that you have your list of core values, you can take some time to reflect on what each word means to you. Why did you choose each of those words? What actions showcase your values? How can you represent those values?
Find Your Mission: Develop a statement that uniquely represents you
A mission statement is a simple paragraph, sentence, or collection of words that represent your life’s purpose. What are your long term goals? What things do you want to accomplish in your personal or professional lives?
To develop your statement, reflect on the questions above, and in five or so minutes, write down whatever answers immediately come to mind. At the end of the five minutes, read through your words and make some edits – add phrases, delete sentences, or change words. Then leave the mission statement as it is and come back to it in a few days. Continue to make changes, or have a friend or family member read through your work so that you can get some feedback and make changes where needed.
Does your mission statement represent who you are? How can you communicate your goals through words? Your mission statement is a great tool when creating your personal brand. I used my mission statement as a way to integrate my values and interests into my personal brand so that I can make sure all those thoughts were encompassed into the final result. This article about finding your voice can help with finding a message, as well!
Combine: Cull the information to discover your personal brand
After taking time to identify your interests, values, and mission statement, the next step is to combine those ideas into one personal brand. A personal brand can be condensed into anything you want, but I find it helpful to have a simple phrase that represents you!
In my mission statement, I saw that I used the words “dreams” and “dreamer” throughout my paragraph. In addition, some of my values included helping others and creativity. I combined those abstract ideas into one phrase- “Dream Catcher.”
Take a look at your starred interests, your five values, and your mission statement – what common themes do you see? What words stand out to you? What do you want people to know about your passions and goals? Write those words or phrases down and then combine different choices into a new phrase. Once you have created a few options, say them out loud or ask a friend or family member for feedback. Pick the one that feels the most true to you!
After following this process, you will have a collection of words, values, interests, passions, and goals that align with your personal brand. This is a creative and iterative process that will change and evolve as you do. The most important thing is that your brand authentically defines who you are in this season of your life.
Authenticity: Love your brand and learn to live it
The last step to creating a personal brand is learning to love and live it out daily! Use your personal brand to showcase your goals, passions, and interests with the world, put it on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, use it to design your resume or cover letter, share it during interviews or in common introductions. Your personal brand belongs anywhere you go!
Now that you have identified your personal brand, let it guide your world! Make changes frequently and ask for feedback. Your personal brand should always feel true to you.
Personally, I have integrated my personal brand on my LinkedIn, website, and resume. I have also used it during interviews to talk about my passions and past work experience. That being said, my personal brand is also something that is deeply rooted in my personal life as well. It represents everything I do!
Live with Authenticity!
Once you have ideated on your interests, values, and mission statement, it is time to live and love your authentic life! I was told that you will know your personal brand is right when you feel it in your heart and, speaking from personal experience, that is spot on.
I am constantly changing my personal brand as I learn more about myself – and that’s the beauty of it all. You can change your personal brand as you see fit. Create your personal brand and live with authenticity!
Create a great life!