Personal Branding: The need for a courageous conversation.
The great British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote the following in 1916 during the First world War:
“To all who are capable of new impressions and fresh thought, some modification of former beliefs and hopes has been brought by the war. What the modification has been has depended, in each case, upon character and circumstance; but in one form or another it has been almost universal.”
I think that we can apply Russell’s words to the current situation as well. The Covid-19 pandemic is causing massive havoc and devastation. Millions of people across the globe are being pushed back into extreme poverty and hardship. No-one will be left completely untouched by the pandemic. It is in times of great upheaval and uncertainty that we are forced to reassess, on a fundamental level, who we are and where we are going with our lives.
One thing that cannot be taken away from us is our freedom to choose how we react to any situation. We can choose to act as victims and become paralysed and passive and fall deeper into the prevalent blaming culture. But we can also choose to react and take responsibility for our lives. How we respond will always and at the deepest level be driven by how we see ourselves. As Russell so eloquently points out to us; this is where character comes into play. How we react to circumstances in life is no accident. We react true to the character we have created. True to the picture or brand we hold ourselves to be. We can choose to let this happen at a subconscious level or we can take the responsibility to become actively aware of the picture that guides our behaviour. It is only when we become aware of this self-concept that drives our behaviour that we can change it.
A good starting point for this process of re-aligning our actions with who we really are, is to describe who we want to be. To have a courageous conversation with ourselves. To become aware of how others experience us. To decide how we want to leave others feeling after they have engaged with us, after they have experienced our brands. There is not a lot that one individual can do to change the current chaotic and absurd situation we find ourselves in today. But we can take a hundred percent control of the world inside of ourselves. To do this, we first need to become aware of what we are thinking and the impact of our thoughts on us.
Now is the opportune time to envisage who we want to be after the storm has settled, and to align our behaviour with the aspirational self-concept. Or in modern everyday language; to become aware of our Personal Brand and to live up to the promise associated with the brand. Our future success or failure on a personal and professional level is connected to this at a fundamental level.