Would you think I’m crazy if I told you that I think about my brand 24/7 + 365? No – seriously. With the exception of a few hours of sleep every night, I am constantly thinking about how I can reach my tribe through new avenues.
You are your brand, so make sure you’re taking the time you need to ensure that your brand is the best it can be. Inspiration for your brand can come from anywhere – whether it’s a conversation with a friend, a book you’re reading, a meeting at work, or your 4-year-old asking you what you do all day. You should always be on the lookout for new ideas that can boost your brand so that no opportunities for random inspiration pass you by!
So how should you make the most out of the branding thoughts that swirl around your head?
Here are some of the things I’ve implemented into my daily life to help me stay focused on my brand:
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a great idea?
I have… too many times to count. I don’t always remember my dreams, but of the numerous times I’ve come out of REM sleep at 4 AM, I’ve woken up with my adrenaline pumping from thinking about everything I can do build on my brand. I can’t even begin to tell you how many ideas that have stemmed from this. The proof is in the pudding – all you have to do is take a look at the sheer number of late-night notes I’ve written on my iPhone.
Because of this, my poor team at LoSoMo will often see an email pop into their inbox in the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, I married a man that gets me and will help me fall back to sleep by scratching my back and helping my mind slow – *swoon*.
I’ve made a habit of taking note of the ideas that float around my head at random times of the day. No matter how small of a detail, I make sure that I jot it down or it added it to my Asana app so I can always go back and build upon it. Does that mean every idea is great? Definitely not. I guarantee that some of those notes on my phone won’t turn into an elaborate blog or a virtual session. But they are the stepping stones to the next big idea – you just never know when it will hit you.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to always carry around a phone or tablet armed with a notes app or, if you want to go old school, a good old fashioned pen and paper! Any time you have an idea – no matter how small or insignificant you think it might be – take a second to write it down. You never know what will inspire you to create your next big idea.
Know your strengths, and use them to your advantage.
I recently rediscovered my GALLUP Strength Finder, which is something I highly recommend everyone doing for themselves. This probably comes as no surprise to you, but my top themes are Learner, Achiever, Arranger, Responsibility, and Input. In short, that means:
- I have an insatiable need to constantly learn + improve.
- I start every day at zero. There’s always an internal fire burning inside of me, motivating me to achieve + accomplish on a daily basis. All accomplishments reset back to zero the next day, pushing me to achieve everything I can.
- I like to balance 1000 plates at one time; managing all variables, aligning, and realigning them until they are as productive possible.
- I have an intense psychological ownership for anything I commit to. I am accountable for everything commitment I make because my good name + those I care about depend on it.
- I’m a collector of knowledge and an information sponge. Nothing excites me more than finding new information and learning new things, be it from publications, places, events, people, etc. – which is probably why I spontaneously book trips to attend one-day workshops all the way across the country. I need to know what they’re sharing and teaching!
Knowing your strengths is such an important part of owning your personal brand.
After all, your brand is all about you, what you do, and what you stand for – all the things that you do and achieve through your strengths. Know what you’re good at, what you’re going to need help with, and how you can work best to achieve it all.
You’ve got this.
*Lady Gaga’s Born This Way starts playing*
Know what you want and how to get it
Just last week, I got off a phone call with my previous manager Josh, the former Chief Customer Advocate at Entrata – the last company I ever worked for before going out on my own. Way back when, Josh was the person who hired me as the Director of SEO/PPC. As we were exchanging pleasantries he said, “You’re doing exactly what you told me you were going to do.”
I was 26 years old when he first hired me, and I told him in one of our 1:1 manager meetings that I wanted to be a public speaker, write meaningful books, and be a force for good – God willing. That might be a little bold for 26, but it’s what I wanted.
Lewis Carol, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, said, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” – great advice for the spontaneous wanderers out there. But you HAVE to have a plan – or you should, anyway.
A personal brand is about owning who you are and knowing what you want. Make sure you don’t let anything – or anyone – come in the way of you and your dreams. While it’s OK for your dream to adapt with time, you should always be working towards something larger than the present.
I’m incredibly goal-oriented, and when I committed to working on my brand four years ago, I meant it. I’m 31 now and none of those original goals have changed. My objectives have remained the same but my path towards making my mark on the world has gotten significantly clearer. I’m a work-in-progress and I’m totally okay with that – after all, I’m only human. But there’s no way Josh could have made that comment to me had I not been my own publicist and my own agent.
What exactly does that mean? On a daily basis, I’m:
- Telling myself it’s ok to be proud of what I’ve done. Gone are the days when I held back my authentic self because I was too worried about what others would think. I try really hard to make sure for every one post that is about something I’m proud of, there’s 2 or 3 normal, messy, behind-the-scenes look of my everyday life.
- Asking complete strangers to take pictures of me doing what I do best – speaking at workshops, conferences, and classrooms. Why? Because I don’t live life with a photographer by my side at all times so sometimes you have to ask total strangers if they would please take pictures of you. To this day, I’ve never once been told no.
- Posting on my social media, responding to comments, and actively engaging with my tribe – that’s on me. No one knows you better than you do. That’s why I think it’s paramount that you keep your true voice on social media so your tribe knows your genuine and authentic self.
- Sending weekly emails to social accounts and influencers that I’d love to collaborate with. If you don’t put yourself out there, how can you expect to grow? Start social networking with accounts that compliment your brand and are fun to collab with!
- Buying loads of self-help books, conference + workshop tickets, and new online courses. I never stop challenging myself to expand my knowledge base and you shouldn’t either. Genuine thought leadership means never giving up on the pursuit of new ideas, innovations, and breakthroughs in your field.
- Strategically networking at professional events, conferences, and local organizations. And I don’t just sit at a lunch table – I find speakers, conference organizers, and other brands I can connect with. Each moment you spend networking is just another opportunity to expand your brand.
- Writing a dedicated page on my two websites from my perspective, in my voice and my narrative, to tell my story and explain my why. One thing I learned in my journey is to never let anyone introduce you to the world. Always introduce yourself first.
- Creating a new personal website coming in 2019 – stay tuned!
- And so much more to advance my brand, meet new friends, learn even more about myself!
To this day, there has never been anyone that formally represents me; I get my speaking engagements through my own networking and with the help of a virtual assistant that I love. I mentor the classes of interns who come through LoSoMo’s doors and teach them how to accomplish everything from getting press coverage and media mentions to garnering social media influencer attention. Remember that I’m an Input personality, so I will hunt for the knowledge I need to achieve my dreams, and then the Arranger in me will get it done as productively as possible. Whether I’m pounding out the work myself or I’m utilizing my team of talented and highly skilled individuals, I make sure that the job gets done in the most efficient way possible.
To Rachel Hollis’ point, there is very little you can do in this world that a search on Google can’t tell you about already. Knowledge is EVERYWHERE. It’s those that seek it, apply it, and get it done that stand out and make the difference they set out to make.
Have faith in yourself + your mission
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can do this. I KNOW you can do this. But you need to know that you can do it, too.
If my Cuban immigrant parents can create a 30+-year-old business from scratch with English as their second language and an accent as thick as Ricky Ricardo (that’s what I told my Kindergarten teacher about my dad when I was 5), anyone can be what they desire to be – you just have to believe in yourself.
I’ve been the very blessed recipient of that mindset in both word and example. I hope you hear me when I tell you that YOU ARE A GIFT, so be a gift for good.