A few weeks ago found me lunching with a new group of women. These women were powerful. They could connect me to potential clients, potential opportunities.
They were also perfectly polished. Their nails, their teeth, their hair…all perfect. They spoke in high, delightful voices. Their laughter tinkled like bells.
It was like I was part of a show filled with beautiful, glamorous people.
I did my best to keep up for the two hours we spent together. When it was all over I got in my car and wondered why I felt so exhausted, so depleted…so crappy.
And then it hit me.
I’d wanted so badly to impress them, to get connected, to be successful. But let’s get real…anyone who knows me knows that my voice is not high. And my laughter…well, let’s just say “tinkling bells” doesn’t exactly describe it.
Alas, my show’s characters might be a bit…different.
I wasn’t invited back, nor did I want to be. No connections, no new opportunities. All of that effort to find new success was a completely failed mission.
Why? Because I hadn’t been true to who I was.
I’d forgotten my personal brand.
We all know what a brand is when it comes to a company. We look at the Nike swoosh and feel how it reflects the brand of movement and upward momentum. Perhaps we feel inspired.
What we forget is that people have a brand, too.
You have a brand. Your personal brand evokes emotion in others. It makes others feel something…trusting and comfortable…or perhaps challenged and motivated…or happy and carefree.
Why is this important?
Because, in the end, people won’t necessarily remember what you said.
But they will remember how you made them feel.
Your personal brand is your goldmine. It reflects what’s unique about you. It makes you stand out…gets you chosen for opportunities, jobs, relationships.
Your personal brand is what makes you awesome.
Come on now…say it with me…
Great leaders know the value of their personal brand, and consistently integrate it into their choices…in the way they present themselves, in their words, their tones of voice, their emails, their clothing.
The rest of us don’t think about it nearly enough, leaving it up to chance. Some don’t even know how to figure out just what their personal brand is.
I present to you five questions to help you figure out your own personal brand.
A few words of warning: the questions seem simple, but they take some thought. Write what first comes into your mind and try not to overthink your answers.
(For those of you who did this exercise with me just this week, take a second to revisit your answers and reflect on just how awesome you are. Then pass the questions on to others who need to identify their own awesomeness.)
1. What are your values and what do you stand for?
There are certain things that matter to you more than others. What are they? Security? Risk-taking? Innovation? Compassion? Success? Family?
2. What makes you different than anyone else?
What is your unique package? What experiences have you had in life that have made you the person you are? What set of skills and talents have you developed? What are your different passions? How do you share all of this with others?
3. What is the best you experience like?
When you interact with someone and you just know in your gut that you were on it, that you were on fire and everything fell into place, how would the other person describe it? How would they feel afterwards? How would they remember you?
4. Think of someone you respect. What do you admire about them?
How do they carry themselves? How do they handle stress? Success? Failure? What does this mean about how you want to carry yourself?
5. Taking everything into consideration, describe the you you want to express to others.
That last question will lead you straight to your personal brand. Boil it down into a few words you can remember. Integrate it into your conversations, into the way you carry yourself at work, with others. (You may want to run your answers and your brand by someone you trust. Chances are they’ll provide some insights and awesomeness you haven’t even thought of.)
My personal brand? Mild audacity. I say the things others won’t, but I do it nicely. My number one value? Authenticity. This means every conversation is honest and – while some might not love what they hear and won’t want to engage again – those who do will know they’ve gotten something real.
This is what I forgot on that fateful day, as I sat with those perfectly polished women and worked so hard to say the right things, tried so hard not to offend.
The reason I wasn’t invited back had nothing to do with the sound of my laughter. It had to do with the fact that I made them uncomfortable. I wasn’t the awesome me I wanted to be.
And they were on to me.
Recognize the true goldmine in your life. Define your personal brand.
Be awesome you.
And watch how people respond.
Now go do good…and do it well.
26 thoughts on “How to Be Awesome”
Thank you. This is just what I needed today,
My pleasure – and so glad to hear it!
Another “awesome” blog….exactly what I needed to hear today so I am off to a great start.
Great to hear from you, Melissa…thanks for taking the time to post your comment 🙂 Much appreciated!
I love your blogs! Thank you – what a great way to start my day . . . now back to work & off to being “awesome”. 🙂
🙂 You’ve always been awesome – now you just have a better way to show it. Thanks for giving it a read!
you ARE awesome
just by sharing this
besides it made me feel better too 🙂
Thanks very much, Andy…we’re all in this together, yes? I’m just glad my little lapse in branding judgment can be used for something good!
Love it! So simple yet so important. When I coach candidates this is usually the missing link where the best candidate doesn’t get the offer. Thanks for sharing. I will pass along!
Thanks very much, Leanne. It really does seem we spend so much time trying to perform and be something that’s not completely real that other people miss out on the true us. Glad this will be of use with your candidates!
Yes and Yes! I can relate to this and so appreciate the permission not only to be who we are but show our brand—who we are, what we are about and that we like about ourselves too. Thanks Deidre for being you — your candidness is always refreshing and needed to make a better me.
My pleasure, Caroline…It’s funny how we sometimes need permission to be the real us, but that’s just how life seems to go for most of us! Glad you enjoyed the post…thanks very much for your comment!
Thank you Deirdre for such honest insight. Being you seems to be a very becoming feature from what I can tell! Gives cadence to that old Sinatra song “I gotta be me!)
Glad you enjoyed it – and thanks for the kind words!
But what if I’d rather be you? 🙂
Actually I recently asked some folks in my closest circle to help me with this exercise. Not only was hearing what made me awesome a lovely (much needed) ego boost, but they pointed out things about “what makes me, me” that I would have never thought about myself.
As always, love what you’re doing. Thanks for the free therapy 🙂
🙂 Love your comments, Jerusha! I’m so pleased that you reached out to your close circle and heard what makes you unique – and I’m sure it was all true and wonderful! Thanks so much for your kind words, and for taking the time to post a comment. Best of luck being awesome you!
Deirdre, I love this post. These questions are great – the one that really got me thinking was the one about what’s the ME experience. When I think about that, it really nails what I want to be more conscious about presenting to the world, instead of being a slightly off copy of someone else! Thanks for the inspiration this week!
Thanks for your comments, Hanna…I’m so glad the questions were helpful to you! I also love how you put that your way of being more conscious of this is to presenting “you” to the world instead of being a slightly off copy of someone else…so many of us fall into that trap every day. It’s become a norm in a way!
In today’s world of too much info and too many ideas, it’s so easy to get sucked into being someone that you’re not. When writing my business plan I had to answer the same types of questions and it’s hard to be that honest with yourself about who you will be and who you won’t be. Great post!
Thanks very much, Natasha. I think you’re right on – sometimes we know the questions…we just don’t always answer them honestly. That can be the toughest part. Great comments!
What can I say…you are awesome!
What a great message. Thanks for being authentic and “real”…it is so refreshing! 🙂
My pleasure – I so appreciate those who get my dose of reality, and don’t hate me for it! Thanks for being one of those people 🙂
Loved this post Deirdre. I’m going to use the five questions you presented. Thanks for developing this idea in the context of your lunch–totally related to that.
Thank YOU for your kind words, Denise…I’m so pleased you plan to use the questions!
I love that Jerusha turned the questions into an exercise inviting others to participate. What a terrific way to help clarify some of those tough questions that can sometimes send you spinning. Great way to get feedback. Can’t wait to try!
I’m with you – Jerusha’s idea makes the whole experience that much better! Best of luck tackling the questions and giving yourself the chance to be the most awesome you possible!