Have you ever stopped to think that everything you do or neglect to do affects a person’s impression of you? It is true that the way people view you impacts every aspect of your life—from your career to your personal relationships. Nothing is exempt. In today’s lesson you will learn that the little things you do and say form an indelible imprint.
Just as products carry a brand, people also carry a brand. Branding is how the world sees you; the impression you make on others; the values you stand for; the qualities that mold your personality; the characteristics that make you stand out from the crowd.
How important is the brand we wear? Think about these simple questions.
• Do you notice people who have a bad attitude?
• Do you notice people who dress poorly?
• Do you notice when people to whom you are talking don’t seem to be listening? Who interrupt when you are talking? Who talk too much? Who talk too loud? Who use inappropriate language?
• Do you notice people in restaurants who talk on their cell phone?
• Do you notice women who apply makeup at the dining table?
How do these things affect your evaluation of these people? Whether you realize it or not, you are forming an opinion about them. The things they do, the way they look, and the words they speak are branding themselves in your mind.
Think of your co-workers. Which person standouts as someone you would rather not work with? If you were to describe his or her brand, what would it be? Think of your neighbors. Which person is your least favorite and why?
Now let’s move closer to home. How do you think you have branded yourself?
• If your co-workers were to sit in a conference room and describe you on a chalkboard, what words would they use?
• If your friends were to depict you, what characteristics would they list?
• If your business acquaintances were to portray you, what picture would they paint?
• If your children were to tell their friends about you, what would they say?
• If your spouse was to ‘tell all,” what characteristics would he or she put on a list?
• At your funeral, as people reflect on who you have been and the experiences they have had with you, what will be their dominant thought? When they listen to your eulogy, what would you like for them to hear?
We are all branding ourselves every day in every way—by the type of cars we drive, their condition and cleanliness; by how we dress, fix our hair, or wear makeup; by our physical shape and health; by the way we talk and even walk.
Tony Jeary—popular author, speaker, and communication coach—said, “Every day, in dozens of different ways, you’re sending a message out to the world. The wrong message will cost you respect, career promotions, and perhaps relationships. And the right messages will enable you to achieve your personal and professional best.”
Chelsea Greenwood—owner of a 1.4 billion-dollar marketing firm—said, “You are your own brand whether you like it or not. And every experience has a lasting impression.”
Regardless of race or age, position or education, you have the opportunity to grow and develop skills, to build positive relationships, to create an attractive personality, to reach your goals, and to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.
Discovering Your Brand
Who you are—reflected through your brand—will affect a multitude of issues that in all likelihood you have not previously thought about or have blamed on outside circumstances. Perhaps you are not aware that who you are—your personality, attitude, words, and actions—impacts many areas of your life. Below are some examples of how your brand can play a significant role in your ultimate success and happiness.
• Your influence with others—leadership
• The level of pay increase you receive
• Whether you are selected for the next promotion
• Whether you are the one selected to be laid off or retained
• How receptive people are to your ideas and suggestions
• The type of friends you attract
• How well you are accepted, liked or disliked
• Whether you are asked out on a second date
• What people think about you or say about you
• Whether you are included in events or intentionally excluded
• The relationship you have with your spouse or friends
• Your image in the eyes of your children or neighbors
• The level of respect people have for you
• Your ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction
My Challenge to You
Starting today, become aware of how the decisions you make are viewed by others. Whether you are greeting a clerk at a convenience store or attending an important business meeting, start presenting yourself to the world in a way that’s consistent with the brand you want to create for yourself. Start with the things that are easy to change. As you succeed in making a difference in those areas, you will gain the confidence necessary to tackle the more challenging items.
The brand you create for yourself is made up of little things you can control. Start today to build a brand that makes you proud.