Recently it seems like I’ve been on the go non-stop. After releasing my second book, Sell Yourself, I was so grateful to be invited on podcasts, TV, radio, and blogs. It was a busy time, and I was definitely burning the candle at both ends. In fact, I even lost my voice, and that’s hard on a professional speaker! The silver lining was that it caused me to stop and reflect on how grateful I am to have such tremendous support when life is a whirlwind.
I also started thinking about what a gift those folks are in my life—the people who invited me to be on podcasts, my team, and my friends. It made me wonder … do they know they are gifts? Not just to me, but to the world? It’s one thing to appreciate and thank people for the help and support they offer, but quite another for them to realize how much they give to others!
So, this month, I’ll ask you, do you know what a gift you are to the world? Look at the gifts that you give to others; not the kind wrapped in bows, but YOU—your kindness, your help, your support. That’s your personal brand, and it’s yours to give freely and generously this holiday season. So, I invite everyone to give the world a gift this year—the gift of YOU.
I know what you’re thinking: How am I a gift to the world?? I understand it’s hard to feel like someone’s gift when you’re running around doing 10 jobs at once. But it’s true.
You are special to those around you for so many reasons. You are your own special brand. ‘Tis the season to explore your brand, refine it, enhance it, and be the best gift you can be to the world.
Everyone has gifts they share – whether you’re aware of it or not. You are you.
Maybe your gift to the world is laughter, maybe it’s kindness, maybe it’s inventiveness, problem-solving, leading, encouraging, listening, or empathizing. There are thousands of different gifts the world needs.
If it feels strange or seems silly that you may be giving back to the world with your brand, consider this: Your personal brand impacts your career success, your personal and professional networking, your livelihood, your contributions to society, your recognitions, your future. So, it stands to reason that when you are at your best, you can lift others up to be their best, too. That’s brand impact!
I have a friend who is a great writer and communicator. When clients are grateful for his talent, he doesn’t really see it. He thinks, “Well, anyone could write!” But that’s not true. Not everyone is compelling, organized, and creative with words. Not everyone can take someone else’s ideas and make them coherent and enticing. My friend can. He is known for his skills and talents (and gets referrals for them, too!). That’s part of his brand. He’s more than a professional writer – that’s just a title. His brand is listening thoughtfully so he can help a client communicate clearly, compellingly, and inspirationally.
Wow! Talk about a gift to the world!
Don’t know where to start?
Try this exercise:
First, list five natural skills or talents you have. Think outside of the professional box. Even if you think something doesn’t “count,” list it anyway. Love to knit? My friend, that’s attention to detail and patience!
Next, using your list, complete this sentence: “Using my talent for __________, I help _________ do ________.” Did that stump you? Just try reframing it: “Using my natural ability to ____, I have helped ____ do _____.”
It can be a challenge to get out of the transactional mindset and be more “interactional.” If you still find yourself stuck, try completing this sentence: “I once helped ______ when I did ______.” Then think of a quality that skill embodied.
Here’s an example: “I once helped a friend’s daughter formulate a plan for a huge pitch and realize her potential so that she landed it with great success.”
Now, watch me flip that around to become the beginnings of a personal brand statement!
“Using my talent for listening and understanding what people need, I help them land a huge opportunity.”
Just one piece of my brand that I live every day—personally and professionally—is listening to try to help others. It’s part of what I’m known for. It’s my gift! My gift to the world.
What is one consistent trait that people know you for? That trait is part of your personal brand, and your gift.
Now, it’s time to give your gift to the world and develop your own personal brand statement! Using the exercise above, fill in the blanks: “I am a gift to the world by bringing _________, __________, and _________ to the table to help others.
Complete that sentence and you’re one step closer to knowing who you are and what you stand for. Then, do what comes naturally—and give it away.