05/10/2011 12:37 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

9 Tips to Help Develop Your Personal Brand

Developing a Personal Brand that's authentic, meaningful and sustainable, takes reflection, self-awareness and a lot of patience. In a world where we're all constantly in "doing" mode, taking time to reflect, be patient, and consider not just our picture, but the "bigger picture," might seem, to some an anathema. However, when our ability to see outside of our self is restricted, our creativity is diminished; imagination and creativity are essential to anyone who wishes to develop a strong Personal Brand. Furthermore, when we are trying to live in the future, or perhaps spend too much time in our past, we can't absorb being in the now. And in order to develop a Personal Brand that truly represents who we are now, it's essential we fully embrace who we are now. That means letting go of the past and to not crystal ball gaze into the future. In many ways, the old adage, "one day at a time" seems appropriate to use here.

My advice to anyone who's struggling to find enough time just to "do life", let alone develop their Personal Brand, is this: first, trust that you already have a Personal Brand -- it's what others say about you when you are not in the room. In essence, it's your reputation. We can't exactly control what others say about us. We can control our "Inner Brand", which includes our behaviors, thoughts, our level of E.Q. (Emotional Intelligence) and our self-image (how "we see" ourselves). These aspects of our Personal Brand underpin our attitudes, energy levels and our ability to engage and communicate effectively. And when we take responsibility for our "Inner Brand" and hone the characteristics I've set out, our reputation begins to mirror who we are from the inside out. Acknowledging that to achieve a meaningful Personal Brand is indeed a marathon, and not a sprint, is integral to any personal development endeavour you may encounter.

I can attest to the fact that developing and building one's Personal Brand is in fact a marathon. It has taken me many years to discover, develop and build my Personal Brand. And in a world where so-called "quick fixes" abound and our lack of patience seems to be greater than ever, the marathon metaphor seems to be culturally out of sync. In saying that, I have always believed we get more done by slowing down. When we take time to contemplate that which enables us to experience higher levels of self confidence, attract more meaning into our life, and increase feelings of well-being, we are moved to take actions that enable those feelings to become stronger. These actions often entail us being disciplined, in that it might entail regular meditation, a mind-body exercise routine, or, perhaps reading self development books. By acquiring the skills that will improve your life from the inside out, your Personal Brand will begin to shine brightly.

Nine tips that will help you to increase confidence, well-being and bring more meaning to your life:

  1. Acknowledge you already have a Personal Brand.

  • Ask yourself what one change you can make to improve your "Inner Brand."
  • Ask three people you trust how they'd describe you to someone who doesn't know you.
  • Think of someone whose qualities you admire, then, check if they align with your "Inner Brand."
  • Be a wonderful listener, your ears will never grow tired.
  • Be 100 percent present in all your interactions.
  • Know that the best investment you'll ever make is the investment you make in you.
  • Share your knowledge, knowing there's plenty more where that came from.
  • Be grateful for the things you have in your life.