Is Building a Personal Brand Egotistical?

06/03/2015 05:50 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2016

What I am about to tell you may surprise you. It's not a secret and it's not really a confession - but it is something leadership coaches with a niche in personal branding may not often say. It is very honest...I hear that is refreshing.

I have insecurities about talking about myself. I really do not like it! There, I said it.

In my business I talk about stepping up to the best version of yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone and when I am talking about my experiences and myself I am out of my comfort zone.

I am generally a confident person and lean toward extroversion on standard tests, however it is rare for me to share personal details or accomplishments. I do not warm to people talking like they are better than others or have done or know more - egotism is a big turn off for me.

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If you Google the definition of "personal branding" the top answer you will see is "the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands".

Can you see my conundrum?

So how did I get here? After 8 years of Executive and Leadership coaching we looked at where we got the best results and what drew people to us. We discovered that we are really good at helping clients have those tough conversations, get the promotion, lead large teams to increased sales or deliver messages that move people to take inspired action.

To do this they quite often had to step outside of their comfort zone and step up to the best version of themselves. We have helped many, many clients stand out in the crowd - we are really good at it. Yet looking inwards, I realized I had played it safe in my own business and really could step it up a notch (or ten).

In my personal life I have stories of climbing a live volcano in Chile, diving in the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef , dining in castles in France, dining in a mansion in Zimbabwe and experiencing an incredible meal in a dusty Vietnamese back alley. Yet, in my business I was playing it safe.

(By the way that last paragraph just took longer to write than the rest of this article - see what I am dealing with here?)

So how do I balance this? How do I stay true to my personal value of authenticity whilst marketing myself within my brand?

Firstly, I have clarity on my message. Stepping up to a better version of you - to who you want to be - without disengaging from your true self. Honouring your values and core of who you are whilst magnifying your strengths, talents and passions to enable you to create the impact and income you desire

To be authentic in my business I need to step up to the best version of me - even if that means stepping outside my comfort zone and sharing my successes and capabilities.

Secondly, I know that personal branding is about connecting with your audience in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd. If I am going to connect, I need to share, to be real and to gain trust - what better way to do this than to draw on my own experiences in life and business.

I know that when I am telling my story I am truly leading by example and being true to myself; and that is important to me.

Do you want to know my secrets to overcoming my insecurity?
I have a simple 2-step process that I run stories about myself or my personal life through - if it passes the test, I will print it or run with it in my next training.

The questions are:
1. Awareness (the "why"):
What is the purpose of including this piece of information in my communication and is it the best vehicle for the message I am imparting?
2. Intention (the "how"):
Am I telling my personal experience in a way that it is not all about me, or what I have done, but in a way that it aids, encourages or inspires the story and the person reading it?

Personal branding can be egotistical when it comes from a place of shameless self-promotion - but done correctly, in its truest form, I believe personal branding is about being authentic.

To hear more from Kate visit www.facebook.com/tradesecretsbusinessconsultants or www.tradesecretsconsultants.com