THE BLOG
01/23/2013 02:47 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2013

Protecting and Projecting Your Personal Brand in 2013

When life feels challenging, or events seem to be less helpful than you'd like, particularly as they relate to your values, beliefs and aspirations, knowing that you are not alone can be a great comfort. And whether you are aware of it or not, the relevance of your personal brand, and knowing exactly what it is, is vital. As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has said, "Your personal brand is what others say about you when you are not in the room." For me, those words are about our reputation. Hence, if we are confronted by an issue that feels deeply personal or touches a nerve, we become very uncomfortable and less of our true selves. We feel as though we're being threatened, the core of who we believe we are feels less solid. When that happens, we tend to retreat into ourselves. That's when our personal brand becomes less than fully present. Our authentic self moves to the back burner, where it feels safer.

People who have the wherewithal to talk relatively freely about themselves, of course with boundaries, are blessed with what contemporary psychologists describe as a "natural pattern" -- in effect what they are referring to is a kind of talent. Those of us who were not gifted this way need to create and develop our "natural pattern" so that our personal brand is kept on track, even in challenging times, and can remain true to our core beliefs. Knowing that our core beliefs are aspects of who we are is vital to our wellbeing. Each of us has beliefs that are core, some of us are fully aware of them, others not. Being fully cognizant of those beliefs emboldens us, helps us to feel more confident and can help to define our personal brand. Ask yourself what your core beliefs are. You will be pleasantly surprised with your answers. In essence, the answers will enable you to lift your spirits.

Often, because we are all so consumed by our daily activities, we pay less attention to ourselves than perhaps is good for us. I want to remind you, taking good care of ourselves is as much a duty as is taking care of our family, career or home. In fact, when we take care of ourselves, we tend to do all of those things better, and with greater ease. Notice how very successful people, those whom you admire, respect or consider iconic, always seem so "together," upbeat, optimistic, have a good sense of humour and are articulate. Those qualities are an outcome of self-care. The kind of self-care I'm referring to might be physical exercise, or reading the kinds of materials that educate, inspire, or endorse values. It may involve a spiritual endeavor, or perhaps a hobby that enables feelings of elation to emerge. Often, playing a role in a charity one feels passionate about can be very uplifting.

Self-care can be aligned to just being open.

When we give ourselves permission to share with others that which troubles us, we become psychologically freer. This means our personal brand is enabled to shine brighter. That doesn't mean telling all and sundry about your life. Rather, it means choosing carefully selected individuals who you trust, who share similar values, who you feel safe discussing personal matters with. Often, when we feel relatively comfortable chatting about ourselves, we become less burdened, in addition, we feel less alone in our plight or challenges. This action alone helps us to be more authentic, as well as projecting an element of ourselves that would normally be kept under wraps. In essence, when are able imbue an attitude of "us," rather than just "me," our life takes a turn for the better.

When we find an interest that adds meaning to our lives and to those around us, our life becomes more fulfilled. Our personal brand becomes glossier on the inside and on the outside. In essence, we are being the person we are most proud of. Moreover, our authenticity is in place, for all to experience. Inevitably, while you are improving and doing your best, you will experience mistakes, successes, challenges and emotional uncertainty. To say "that's life" may sound predictable, however, think of it as your life, and that what you are experiencing is essential in order for you to discover who you really are.

Tips for Protecting and Projecting Your Personal Brand:

  • Ensure that your personal integrity is always in place
  • Use your intuition to help you to make decisions
  • Know that your point of you is worthy of being listened to
  • Have faith in your ability to overcome challenges
  • Take good care of yourself
  • Know that having faith in yourself will enable others to have faith in you, too

For more by Malcolm Levene, click here.

For more on success and motivation, click here.

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