Enough of the New Year, New You hyperbole, mythical predictions and unrealistic resolutions, here are the 7 real skills you’re going to need to build a strong and successful personal brand this year:
Skill 1: The ability to be happy to be yourself?
It’s all too easy to look around and wish you were someone else and all together too hard to try to be someone different to who you really are. It’s much more fulfilling to be comfortable in your own skin, knowing you are being 100% authentic and honest.
Wishing you were more like someone else is not going to help you get the most from the year.
Action star Bruce Lee said “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Be grateful for all of you, forget what others think of you or what your competitors are like and discover what’s great about you.
It doesn’t work to constantly be seeking happiness, thinking that once you have a brand, then I’ll be happy to be myself. You will become 100% confident in yourself when you celebrate everything you are, your natural skills and talents and create the essence of your personal brand.
Only then can you step into your brand and start to live it.
We are living in the era of the authentic brand, so just be you?
Skill 2: The ability to stop worrying and get on with it
So many people I work with worry that they aren’t unique enough, they haven’t got a rags to riches story or overcome adversity big enough to be seen as special. They worry about living up to their brand and delivering on their promise.
Yet most of them have been doing their thing for over 10 years, many over 20 or even 30 years. They have the expertise to know how to help others get results incredibly quickly yet they still worry about their own abilities and what might happen if someone doesn’t like them!
You know you had some awful stuff happen to you last year and some people decided they didn’t want to work with you? We’ll you’re going to get the same this year too. You survived didn’t you? You’re still here? So stop worrying, it’s a wasted emotion. It will not serve you, make you stronger or help you deal with what life throws at you.
Each time you worry, you are feeding fear - the False Expectation Appearing Real. Remember what you have achieved and give yourself a pat on the back. Whatever the year dishes you up, you have all you need to manage it.
Worry less and focus on what you know you can do. If the worst happens, you’ll be able to deal with it.
Skill 3: The ability to have total self belief
There is so much to be said for a positive outlook. I’m not talking Pollyanna here, I’m talking real, relevant, mind shifting belief in your own abilities.
If you’ve been doing your thing for more than 5 years, you have some idea of who you are and do most things without thinking too hard about them.
Over 10 years at something and chances are you have had your fair share of bad choices that taught you valuable lessons. Over 20 years and you have enough knowledge and experience to make serious decisions that affect you and those around you, using your hands-on understanding in your field with expert precision.
Anything over 30 years and you are an expert with have more knowledge in your little finger about what it is that you do than most others on the planet.
Chances are, you have forgotten what you know, you just do it because you have become so accomplished at it. You have processes to follow that are on autopilot, but not everyone knows this.
It’s my definition of Expertise - the things you do with ease that others find difficult. That’s why they call it expert-ease! And you probably underestimate the value you offer.
Whatever you think you can make happen, you can. So stop worrying about the what and the how, go with your why, fire up your passion and make it happen.?
It's my definition of Expertise - the things you do with ease that others find difficult
Skill 4: The ability to make a decision and stick with it
You know how weird it is to be given a business card with one brand on the front and another brand on the back? They are ‘hedging their bets’!
There is zero trust in someone who doesn’t know what they are good at. Learn the skill to find your single minded purpose and write it big and bold on your wall to make sure you stick with it.
You have 365 days. No more, no less. In 1 year from now, where will you be and what will you be known for? Have you decided yet?
Confucius said “You cannot chase two rabbits”. If you want to go hungry again this year, struggling for clients, chasing them all over the place and not catching anything, then continue to haplessly try to be everything to everyone.
I interviewed Incredibly successful international businessman and builder of million $$$ brands Mike O’Hagan during the 2015 Brandworking Series last year and he said the secret was “to choose to do one thing and do it really well”
You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s exhausting
Decide, as soon as you can, what you want to be known for being the specialist in, then just do that one thing bloody brilliantly! Word of mouth is your best form of marketing, but if you don’t clearly tell the market what your specialist thing is, they will make it up for you.
So be clear on what you want others to say about you and use that in all your brand and marketing.
Tip: Choose your word for the year - something that’s going to help you move towards what do you want to be known for, and just go for that. Focus - Follow One Course Until Successful!
Skill 5: The ability to choose great people
Surrounding yourself with the right people is vital to having a successful year. Not just those you affiliate with or pay to help you. Be mindful of the friends, co-workers and associates you keep too.
Successful people get noticed, they also get targeted because they stand out. You will be in the spotlight and under the microscope. So make sure you have the right circle of people around you who will have your back.
Tall poppy syndrome is rife in the World, we like nothing more than to build our heres up so we can tear them down again. Yes, it’s likely you’re going to do something stupid that get’s out there, so make sure you have an army of loyalists supporting your brand.
The skill to trust your instinct and decide if your cohorts are the right people for you is one that successful people with strong personal brands use extensively. They have an inner circle of trusted supporters and a Rottweiler of a receptionist protecting them!
How often have we seen a rockstar or Hollywood star dragged down by the wrong people? So be careful who you choose to be around. Choose to be around those who lift you up, support you and offer a real, positive environment for you to grow your brand.
Your associates should believe in your brand promise as much as you do and encourage you to constantly deliver on your true values and motives. And you should share theirs!
Relationships where you feed each others passion and fire each other up are one of the best ways to stand out and be seen as someone of substance, based almost exclusively on your prospects impression of those you spend your time with.
Skill 6: The ability to block out the voice of opportunity
If you let ‘bright-shiny-objectitis’ obscure your vision you will get to the end of the year and wonder where it all went and why you didn't get what you wanted achieved. When you stop listening to the voice of opportunity, that creative genie in your entrepreneurial brain, you get real clear on how you are going to build your brand.
It’s not just your own brain you need to control, it’s also those other entrepreneurs around you who start sentences with “you know what you should do…”
There is only one voice you should take notice of, and that’s your own conscience. Your heart will tell you what’s right for you. No one else can live that for you. Once you’ve made your mind up on what you want to become well known and well paid for, stick with it.
When I asked founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos if he’d be interviewed on the Brandworking Series his secretary declined on his behalf saying “One of the greatest challenges facing Jeff, and our company, is staying focused, and this has meant declining participation in many exciting opportunities”. A huge lesson for anyone who wants to be well known, well paid & wanted.
Successful people are totally committed to achieving their dreams. They set goals and work each day on the simple steps that take them closer. They avoid distractions and train their brains to be entrepreneurial in a measured and directed way.?
Skill 7: The ability to say No!
In her recent tour down-under Oprah Winfrey called it the ‘disease to please’ and it can ruin your entire year. Putting off what you want to please others or make sure ‘everyone is happy’ will not allow you to truely live your brand. She also said that NO is a complete sentence - you don't need to explain or defend yourself.
I don’t suggest storming off and telling your family they are going to have to fend for themselves. I do however suggest you make it clear to those around you what your intentions for the year are.
There are only 24 hours in a day, many of which you will spend sleeping, eating and looking after yourself and others. Learn the skill to set aside specific time to work on what you love, your goals, your brand, your business, your dreams.
Schedule when you will work on your personal brand, leveraging your authority and promoting yourself and when you will help others. Stop doing things just to please others. If you think for a moment ‘I really shouldn’t be doing this” then it’s probably true - stop doing it!
It’s too easy to do things just because you can. Ask yourself if your actions are serving you and are on brand with how you serve others. If not, drop them.
So there you have it:
Skill 1: Be Yourself
Skill 2: Don’t Worry
Skill 3: Believe You Can
Skill 4: Make A Decision
Skill 5: Surround Yourself With Great People
Skill 6: Stop Listening To The Voices
Skill 7: Learn To Say NO!?
In the past year I have helped hundreds of professional service providers to find their single minded purpose and countless others brand themselves and the biggest hurdle they faced was accepting their greatness and stepping into their brand.
Once they did this, WOW! They became so animated and excited and grew into extraordinary, stand-out experts who now naturally attract exactly the right people who love what they do.
If you are going to make any resolutions this year, make sure one of them is to be the best brand you can be.?
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