Today’s post is written by Robert D. Smith. Robert is the author of 20,000 Days and Counting, a crash course in living every day with maximum purpose and intensity.
Getting ahead at work is not about who’s working harder…it’s about who’s working smarter. It doesn’t matter who has to “work the hardest” to get ahead. The people who are truly successful are the people who know how to work SMART. They know who they are, what they have to offer, and how to sell themselves. They are masters of creating and embodying a first-class personal brand.
It’s imperative that you know the answers to the following questions:
Who are you?
What’s your mission?
How do you sell yourself?
Maybe you work for a company, or maybe you are self-employed—either way you have something to offer others. But no one knows exactly what that is unless you SHOW THEM! When you answer those three questions, you’ll begin moving toward defining the brand of you.
Why Become a Brand?
Here’s the dirty little secret behind this question: you already are a brand. You give an impression, a feeling, to those with whom you come in contact. Everything you have to offer or share is riding on this brand. Maybe it’s a talent, a message, a product, a service, or your expertise. Whatever it is that you have to share, it must be conveyed from a trustworthy and convincing source so that people will believe in what you’re sharing with them. That source is you.
It is the brand of YOU! You become the product. You become the brand and the voice of the brand. You become the salesperson who shows everyone that they should believe in you, what you are about, and your ideas. Every woman ought to know who she is, why she’s valuable, and how to sell herself with class.
How to Master Your Brand
Now that you know WHY being aware of your brand is important, you need to know HOW to make it the best it can possibly be. First—becoming a great brand has nothing to do with trying to be the flashiest, the trendiest, or the most cutting edge all the time. You don’t need any of that to be successful! All you need to do is focus on the things that have proven to make other people successful. The writing is already on the wall. All you have to do is follow it.
Have a vision. I don’t care if you’re working in the boardroom or in the mailroom—if you don’t have a vision for your skill set and what it brings to the table, you are never going to stand out. So what is your vision? What does your current role or the role for which you are applying fit in the big picture? Write it down and map it out.
Make a second version. I call this “v2-ing.” In ALL you are doing, whether it’s a work project, your résumé, your personality during meetings…take another look at it. Even if it’s something you KNOW is already good. Never stop asking how you can improve it. Find 20 different other successful examples others have done and adapt bits and pieces to what you are doing. Mix it up, repurpose, repackage, enhance. Always ask yourself, “What’s the v2?”
Be coachable. You must be open to outside counsel if your brand is going to be the best it can be. Network, seek out wise people who have done the things you are trying to do, listen to what they have to say, and apply it. Remove your ego from the equation. Walk over to their side of the table and see yourself as something separate. Then, ask them to tell you how to make that person over there better.