Are you clear on your personal brand? Is this clarity bringing you both success and fulfillment in the work you do? There are three simple steps to defining your personal brand that can serve as guideposts for your leadership legacy. These steps are actually quite similar to how many mega product brands define themselves. Put simply, they are: 1) Purpose (this is a combination of the value you bring to others and what brings you personal joy), 2) Strengths (the unique traits that help you fulfill that purpose), 3) Character (your most deeply held values). Here we will get into how to further define Step 3, our Values and why it is a critical step.
Why are defining your values relevant to your personal brand? As leaders we are faced with lots of decisions, many that we need to make on the spot. The choices are hardly black and white. Clarity on our values allows us to navigate through our choices in a more decisive way, and importantly be at peace with the choices we make, regardless of the outcomes. As we define what our values are, they define who we are during moments of crisis. Our values guide us in both shaping our purpose and how we will accomplish it.
Here are 3 action steps to take in defining and putting in action your values:
1) Ask yourself the following questions: What do I stand for? When I need to make a tough decision, what are the principles I look to? What are the life experiences that I have had that have shaped who I am? What have I learned about myself and others from these? Who are my role models? What values do I admire most in my role models?
2) Ask the people around you what values you exhibit and how you make them feel. Our values show up in our actions and the people around us can usually tell us what we stand for in terms of values much more clearly than we can see them ourselves. One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou is “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” How do you want people to feel around you?
3) Now proactively define the values you stand for. Remember, these are attributes you feel so strongly about that in times of crisis you will be at peace with the choices you will need to make. Be sure that you are willing to “walk the talk” on these values. My recommendation is to pick 3-5 core values and I encourage you to share them with others and ask them to hold you accountable for them. It will not be easy, but it will grow you as a leader and you will grow in your strength in keeping your word.
Here are some examples of values that famous figures in history have embodied and have been associated with their personal brands:
Mother Theresa – Compassion and Love – One of her famous quotes is “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Abraham Lincoln – Strength and Persistence – One of his famous quotes is “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Warren Buffett – Integrity and Humility – Here’s one of my favorite quotes of his “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
If this resonated with you, please comment, subscribe and share with others.
To work with me 1-on-1 on your personal brand: Executive Coaching Session
For a team workshop on personal branding: The Authentic Brand: YOU
This article was written by Henna Inam, executive coach, speaker, and consultant. She works with women to help them realize their potential to be authentic, transformational leaders. They create organizations that drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth, and engagement. Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, UPS, Nestle, J&J, and others who know female leadership talent is good for business. To accelerate your own growth connect with her here. Connect on Twitter @hennainam.