Personal Branding is a real buzzword at the moment.  It’s a well accepted concept in cultures where personal success is rewarded and individuals who stand out are applauded.  But it’s less known in cultures where the group, not the individual, should collectively succeed. In some cultures it’s scorned upon that individuals get ahead of others, or brag or stand out.  But, no matter the culture, not many of us can avoid being branded anyway.  Because Personal Branding is, at the core of it, what other people say about you when you leave the room.  Now none of us can control what other people think, but we can influence it.  We can commit to a set of actions and an image that directs other people to saying what we hope that they will say after we leave the room.

I recently had the privilege of working with a group of women leaders from all across the America’s at their bi-annual learning day in Santiago de Chile.  My client briefed me to help these women to understand how taking charge of their Personal brand could make an impact in their careers.  As we began our work together the women shared their thoughts on personal branding:  “I want to make an impact in my career but I don’t want to shout out” was the sentiment from the Latin American women particularly.  They were in good hands.  I don’t believe we need to shout out to stand out.  That’s why my coaching and programs are purposefully called Authentic Personal Branding.  If there is no authenticity in it, then that is what people will be sharing when you leave the room.

Here are my 3 keys for standing out without shouting out;

(1) Know Yourself

How have you become the person you’ve become today?  There’s just so much that has gone into the recipe of you – genetics, parents, culture, geography, education, loves, pains, travels and much much more.  Oftentimes our behaviours are on auto pilot, triggered by some long forgotten experience or learned response from way back when.  Why do you shy away from important conversations, or get angry because some person dominates meetings? What triggers the shyness or the anger?  If we’re not self-examining, how do we know we’re really authentic?  Knowing yourself is a process of discovery.  What are your strengths and motivators? What is your career driver?  What is your personal vision and what mission are you on?  Unpacking all this delicious personality stuff can help you to develop a clearer picture of the self that you are currently presenting to the world.

(2) Enhance yourself

And when you’re getting clearer on the who you are, you might be motivated to enhance parts of it.  Do you want to repeatedly get angry in meetings, or would you prefer to be neutral?  So what inside has to shift?  Do you like the way you dress and present yourself?  Do you want to change your image?  To make this happen, what has to shift?  Do you really want to wait around until someone sees you working ever so hard and decides to give you a raise or would you prefer to schedule a career conversation with the boss and discuss the raise you want?  To do this, what has to shift?