Should You Have Your Own Brand Even When You Work For a Company?

She was whip smart. She knew her shit. She was at the top of her field. Had spoken at several industry conferences. She was her company’s go-to person. She was the voice of her company.

Yet when I asked her about her personal brand, the identity she was building beyond her role as Director, she looked back at me with confusion. My brand, she responded. “I represent my company so I don’t think it’s necessary for me to have a brand.”

Now I was the one giving her a confused look.

When it comes to your brand, whether you are gainfully employed or work for yourself, you need to have your own brand identity. Period.

Your brand is part of your value. It is made up of unique and special ingredients that make you who you are. It is the thing that sets you apart and distinguishes you among your peers. You bring your brand into work every day whether you realize it or not. If you're not sure why having a brand matters, read here.

In the ever-changing world of work, your brand is the one constant that stays with you no matter where you go in your career journey. As jobs come and go, markets fluctuate, companies restructure, businesses fail and restart – your brand is the one thing you will always have control over. Not having your own brand identity is like committing career suicide.

Some of the most prominent business leaders have created brands outside of their primary roles. Jennifer Risi, World Communications Officer for one of the largest branding agency's, Ogilvy & Mather is known not only for being a seasoned executive but is a regular contributor around topics involving women in business and the gender gap in Advertising. Bisila Bokoko, Global Business Woman & Entrepreneur, has expanded her brand as a global consultant to include philanthropy and even represents the Wine & Spirits industry with her namesake Bisila Wines. And lastly, our own beloved Oprah, queen of media. Her brand not only includes talk show host but actor, philanthropist, author, and spiritual leadership.

Think about your walk through life, your career path. Would it help or hurt your career to be known outside of your company for what you do? Where might you be pigeon holing yourself into one label, under one umbrella? How can your professional platform be a bit more inclusive of the other parts of you?

We are renaissance women, ladies and it's time we take ownership of the many parts that make us who we are to build our own legacy.

Here are five things you can do to start growing your personal brand and be known outside your company for what you do:

1.     Build your speaking portfolio by speaking on topics that most matter to you.

2.     Get published in your industry or start a blog to develop your thought leadership.

3.     Join the board of your favorite organization or non-profit.

4.     Start or volunteer in a professional group that supports your favorite cause

5.     Write a book on your area of expertise.

Remember, your brand is the essence of YOU. Don't confine it to just the company you work for. There is so much more to you and your job is to express it both inside and out of the office.

The thing you must do to refuel your career

The thing you must do to refuel your career

I now declare Monday’s as my artist date days. A day where I can take a break from the routine and refuel through visits to the museum, walks on the beach, waltzing through an art store, or spending time in a bookstore. Yesterday, I had a canceled appointment so there was unexpected block of time in my day that opened up. I could do one of two things at the point: whip out the to-do list and get to work or spend the time doing one of my most cherished things, musing through a bookstore. I decided the to-do list would have to wait.

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3 Unforgettable Lessons on Confidence - What I learned being in front of the camera

3 Unforgettable Lessons on Confidence - What I learned being in front of the camera

Last week, I took a step outside my comfort zone and got in front of the camera! We had a small video crew complete with a videographer, creative director, and my good friend (for moral support!) in a cozy apartment in Chelsea, New York City. Now, I’ve been in front of the camera before but mostly for small things and personal projects that no one would really see. But this time the video would live front and center on my website where on it, I would be welcoming new visitors to my corner of the world. We pulled out all the stops. This meant that on the day of the shoot I’d be dolled up a little more than usual with hair, makeup, and wardrobe. And taking part in a well thought out video concept with weeks of preparation.

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Words that Hurt Your Career

Words that Hurt Your Career

“Sticks and stones will break my bones. But words will never harm me.”

Except when they do.

Lately, I have been noticing, especially from us ladies, this unconscious tendency to speak about ourselves in a negative way that can really take us out of our confidence. Especially when it comes to how we see ourselves in our career which then ultimately spills over into our personal lives. So let’s take a poll. How many of you have said these words recently, “I am not a public speaker. I am not a writer. I am not business savvy. I am not good with money. I am not qualified enough for that job. I have to stay in this job. I can’t afford that.” 

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10 Tips for the Career Conscious Professional (Part III)

The last few weeks, I've shared part I and II of my 10 tips for aligning your career with purpose. Many of you responded with your comments especially for tips #3 and #6. Today, I'm thrilled to share with you the final four tips. They are:

7.  Assume Success
Begin with the end goal in mind and decide that what you want is possible to achieve.  Whether it is a new job, higher pay, or successful relationships; it all begins with a shift in attitude and the mentality of success. When you believe that you will be successful, you begin to take actions that support that belief. Switch every doubtful thought you have for more empowering supportive one’s and see what differences you notice.

8.  Accept Failure
Failure is a breakthrough in disguise. Learn to embrace it and see past any feelings of defeat and embarrassment. For every failure you experience is an opportunity to see what worked and what didn’t work. Be willing to learn with failure as your teacher.

9.  Be Gentle On Yourself
We can be our own worst critic especially when making a major life move like changing careers or starting a new business. The stress makes us more prone to negative self-talk, taking on too much, inadequate rest, and skipping meals. Remember, you are no good to anyone when you’re tired or burnt out. It is not selfish to take care of your needs before others. Learn to make self-care a top priority and practice doing things that help replenish your energy and elevate your mood.

10.  Start From Where You Are
You have everything you need in this current moment to take you to the next level in your career. Never lose sight of this. Be grounded and put one step in front of the other, one moment at a time. Each moment is a clean slate to a fresh start.

I hope that you will join me in integrating these tips in your work and personal wellbeing. Like exercise, we must keep practicing and repeating to see results. Print out all 10 tips and put them in a place where you'll see them everyday (Click here to download).

Practice them well and keep me posted on how it goes…

P.S. Know a few women who are going through a shift in their career? Share the 10 Tips with them:

10 Tips for the Career Conscious Professional (Part II)

Welcome to part 2 of my 10 tips for aligning your career with your personal purpose (check out part 1 if you missed it). A lot of you have been responding that #3, Get Rid of The Excuses resonates with you the most! It's amazing when we can take a step back and see how our excuses get in the way.

Let's keep this going! Check out today's tips for aligning your career with purpose.

4.  Let Go of Blocks & Barriers
Blocks are internal obstacles that hold us back in the form of thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. They stand in the way of the job we want, the business we dream about, or making the money we want in our career. Blocks are self-created which means that we can break through them.  We break through by learning to let go of the blocks that hold us back whether they are bad managers, toxic friends, or self-sabotaging thoughts.
5.  Look Fear in the Eye
Fears diminish our confidence and esteem. It is the internal voice that tells you not to even try.  Fear can be controlling and will always be apart of the journey.  

Awareness is key. By learning to increase your awareness of how your fears control you, you can confront it and challenge them. You begin to weaken the power fear has over you and take your goals to the next level.
6.  Stay the Course
What sets successful people who achieve their goals apart from those who don’t are those who persevere and have a healthy level of optimism. While you won’t always get the job offer. You won’t always score the client. Your product won’t always sell. It is all in preparation that leads you to the door that will open up for you. The trick is to fall down 7 times and get up 8.

Keep me posted on how it goes…

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