When I first started in public relations, more than 15 years ago, the only people worried about personal branding were those in the public eye.
If they were in the public eye they would typically have a team of people managing their public persona and trust me when I say they had to pull all kinds of favours to ensure the media co-operated.
These days, with the advent of social media, not only are we actively putting ourselves and our lives in public view, there is a wave of everyday individuals making a living (sometimes a very good one) offering a front row seat to their life and promoting products they love (all in their own words). It has been heralded as the ‘Age of the Influencer’ and it has opened up a world of opportunities.
The Mamamia Out Loud team confess the embarrassing things we do on Instagram to impress our following. Post continues.
Personal branding also applies to those on a more traditional career path. If you live in the Western world and partake in modern life you have a digital footprint. You also have the ability to ensure that digital footprint makes a great impression (pun intended). You are your greatest point of difference and it is YOU that your clients, employer, followers, investors and so on, want to understand, learn more about and ultimately buy into.
The reality is, however, for every person who has confidently forged forward and launched a personal brand; there is another person with an idea, a message and desire to do the same but face the fear of putting themselves out there. Afraid to commit and just do it.
Their major hurdle is twofold. Firstly there is the fear of failure (we have all been there and more than likely still doing that). Secondly, there is the anxiety of committing themselves to a particular style, message and brand proposition, only to change their mind or even worse get it wrong. They find themselves in a state of personal branding paralysis due to the illusion of perfection.
Megan Morton had to put herself out there to become a stylist. Post continues.
In her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are’, New York Times bestselling author Brene Brown says, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”