Maybe this is you?
The other day I met an American expatriate entrepreneur in Toulouse. To keep her name anonymous, let’s call her Jessica. Jessica and I were the only two in a mini-workshop on French accounting.
At the end of the sessions follow by a brief introduction, I learnt that she has been living and working for three now, in Toulouse. I was eager to know more about her. I asked her “THE” question, ”What do you do?”.
Jessica stuttered, and gazed down at the ground. It seemed as though she didn’t want to tell me. It was weird! I was able to make out that she spoke Russian, Spanish and English.
All of a sudden she stopped talking and apologized,
I’m sorry, when I talk about myself and what I do, it’s hard for me. It’s easier for me to tell what my clients do »
She told me.
Whether she translates or teaches, I wasn’t sure.
Boy oh boy was her body language off! She’s given me all the clues—she has no self esteem, nor confidence in what she’s doing (I guess for a living).
Now everyone asks upon introduction “THE” question, “What do you do?”. It means beyond their first impressions of you (what you’re wearing and how you carry yourself), they want to assess who you are by how you make a living.
Yes I know! Never judge a book by its cover, yet we all do! If I could use a time machine to go back and rephrase that question.
I would ask her:
“Do you know who you are, and what are your own opinions of yourself?”.
“Don’t judge a man by his opinions, but what his opinions have made of him.”
― Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Your upbringing, outputs of society, or just jaded by life probably has you walking through whatever life throws at you, never knowing who you really are.
In 2003, that was the year I started my design agency in Paris. You see 12 years ago, I was Jessica too!
If you asked me that same question (Heck, no doubt!) I was worse than Jessica. I baffled my elevator pitch leaving people confused. I did a lot of labeling and comparing to defining who I was. So, networking after networking, I left confused corpses everywhere.
Do you try to define your identity in who you know, your position at work, your academic degrees or what you own?
Most of the time when we do this, it’s a learnt behaviour, like I said before from our upbringing and society.
The human brain functions through defining and comparing things.
The concept of defining through comparing to labeling is so essential for our human existence. This simple act was described in the bible, one of the first acts of Adam when he labeled all animals with their respective names (Genesis 2:19-20).
Labels are shortcuts for you to remember that definition, and we believe that these definitions are true.
Labeling wasn’t working for me because deep down inside I didn’t Identify with those labels.
It just wasn’t me.
If you don’t know who you are? How do you know where you’re going?
This is how I built my confidence and self esteem.
I used the foundation of personal branding techniques to work on a more personal development of myself as an individual.
Most people use personal branding (which is persona and reputation) to market themselves and their careers as brands. You see, I wasn’t contemplating my career, marketing my business or getting new clients.
I didn’t care how I was conceived by other—wanted to know my honest opinion about myself.
Not only that, I also wanted to develop my own talents to realize my dreams and aspirations.
To be confident in any situation at whatever age, I can answers these questions:
« Do you know who you are?” “What are your own opinions of yourself? ».
I wanted a lifelong process that can grow with me.
The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.
Leonardo da Vinci
Here is the secret!
Lots of people don’t know that there are steps, I mean lots of steps to personal branding.
The first step is the foundation. The foundation in a nutshell is personal development.
So, imagine the foundation (personal development) as a Tree.
The Tree has roots.
Each root stands for something. I’m only going to name five (there are a lot more) .
You have a self-awareness root, a self-knowledge root, an identity/self-esteem root, a talent root and a strength root.
If all roots are not equally strong, the Tree will never grow to it’s full potential.
That Tree is you.
Use the foundation of personal branding to clarify your inner-self and build self-confidence inside out.
Here are two exercises you can use working towards knowing who you are, and your self-confidence.
1.) Your persona (Personal development). Answer these following questions:
A.) What are your strongest attributes?
B.) What am I passionate about?
C.) What motivates me?
D.) What is important to me?
E.) What makes you unique?
F.) What type of activities do you like to do?
G.) What are your values in life?
Now use doubt creatively.
For each question ask yourself: “Is this really who I am? Or is it just a definition, a label I have accepted until now?” Pause, take time, before going on to the next questions (a to g).
Next put on your detective hat.
Are these definitions conducive?
Labels you had accepted for yourself?
Ask these honest, deep hearted questions and go with your intuition.
Is this label, this definition helpful for my personal development and future growth?
Last let’s vision board this (a #VB inspires and motivates you)! The purpose of your vision board is to bring everything on it to life.
Find images that represent your answers to these questions. Next create a collage on a board, then hang it up somewhere in you home, so you can see it every day.
2.) Adjust Your Mindset
Create a personal statement as we say in personal branding, a branding story for inspiration.
Here is a simple technique (to rebuilding your definition of yourself) that you can do by yourself.
A.) Create your new definition (personal statement) of you.
Create a new positive definition of you. One that will motivate you, encourage positive thinking and that will help your personal growth.
B.) Reformat your subconscious mind with a positive affirmation.
This process pushes the subconscious mind to take action and to strive to make the positive statement come true. Your positive statement: Say to yourself: (use answers from step one persona). I am … insert your answers from step one persona.
C.) Repeated positive statements help you focus your mind on your aim. They also create corresponding mental images in the conscious mind, which affect the subconscious mind accordingly.
Challenge for 30 days:
>> For 30 days repeat your personal statement in small sessions of 5-10 minutes once a day in front of your vision board.
« You’re never going to advance in your life if you don’t advance in your thinking. » Tom Mullins
These two steps help me to improve my self-awareness, build self -confidence and recognize myself as an individual, separate from other individuals.
At first you will have self-doubts, feeling a bit awkward or not natural. Just remember to stay focused, you “WILL” have a breakthrough and feel more complete.
I’d love to hear from you.
Have you already tried these techniques before?
How did you feel afterwards, and what changes happened in your life?
Do you have self-doubts? What’s keeping you from doing these two simple exercises?
I love learning about new techniques in self-development. Please share yours!
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.
Next week I will blog about another step in personal branding: weaknesses.
Thank you for reading and adding your perspective to the conversation!
See ya in the comments down below .
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