Your Story; Your Brand

In part one of this blog series, we talked about the first of what I call the 3 Points of IMPACT™, Executive Presence, and the imperative for leaders to be more conscious of their conduct and impression, because presence—how you’re seen—affects your brand, for better or for worse.

Personal brand is what you’re “known for”: your subject matter expertise, firm and community contributions, thought leadership, and the experience people have of you.

Great presence supports a powerful brand which elevates your professional profile, which can then lead to great success for all you serve, yourself included.

A great brand doesn’t happen without communication, connection, and inspiration.

And brand is more than just a 60-second “elevator pitch”: You must tell a concise and compelling story about you—one that paints a clear picture of your innate talents, vision, and expertise—to make a measurable impact on your career, and inspire those you lead.

Because you can’t assume that the people who are weighing in on your professional path know everything about who you are and the great things you’re up to.

The work doesn’t always just speak for itself.

The best personal brand statement is based on your genius (which you’re born with), coupled with your expertise (or what you’ve learned), plus the values that matter to you most, all woven into a personal story that supports a particular context such as business development, networking, a key interview, or mentorship of another.

At this month’s Mindful Leaders Academy summit, our members took the afternoon to write their personal brand stories of genius, expertise, and values, relative to one of the above themes. Then, one by one, they gave a 3-minute presentation of these stories, and took feedback from their peers and me on their content, movement, and articulation.

All of which sounds like a ridiculously simple exercise (which it is, on its face), but some of the toughest work they’ve actually ever done for themselves (to hear them tell it).

It was nerve wracking to stand and deliver in such a personal way in front of their peers. And now that they’ve done this in a lower pressure environment, they’ll be more prepared for it when the stakes are higher.

It was memorable. As one after the other shared their statements, they learned more and more about each other’s “reasons for being,” and in giving and receiving honest feedback, their empathy and understanding—and consequently, their bond—grew stronger and stronger.

It was powerful: they were vulnerable and authentic and brave.

In one afternoon, they took a stand for their genius and expertise and values like never before, and moved all of us by their efforts. And because these brand lessons were so anchored, they have already taken real-time opportunities to use these stories to grow their firms and their teams.

Bookend your knowledge by your genius and values, and you’ll forever be known and appreciated as the whole professional that you are.

Click here for more information on how Mindful Leaders Academy can help your professionals engage a greater executive presence, expand their personal brand, and significantly elevate their professional profile and impact.