As a Certified Professional Coach, I’m committed to facilitating both personal growth and systemic transformation through helping individuals and companies reframe their stories in order to reclaim their narratives—transitioning reality and transforming circumstances in order to thrive!
What are the stories you are telling about yourself and your experience? Those will become your reality. Choose carefully the narratives you use to define yourself and your life’s work. Choose to have life happen FOR you instead of TO you. Focus on how you want to feel, instead of what you think will make you happy. Pay attention to how your words make you feel. Choose to create a rich, meaningful life with the thoughts you think and the words you choose to express them—these will create your brand, both internally and externally. You choose what defines you. And, don’t be afraid to do it differently than everyone else! After all, that’s what makes you, well, YOU.
Here's a quick branding exercise in order to create clarity and purpose around your own personal brand. These findings will become the foundation of your personal brand positioning statement, even your own manifesto, and personal dynamism statement!
15 Question Personal Branding Exercise:
1.) Who are you as a person in one sentence?
2.) Who are you as a person in three words?
3.) What do you offer the world?
4.) With whom do you most connect? (Who is your target audience?)
5.) What’s distinctive about you?
6.) What’s your personality? How do you make people feel?
7.) What are your overall objectives?
8.) Is there a story that is unique to you?
9.) If you were an object, what would it be? And why?
10.) If you were an animal, which one would it be? What does this animal symbolize for you?
11.) How do your colleagues see you today? What are three words they would use to describe you?
12.) How do you want your image to be perceived in two years?
13.) How do you want people to feel after spending time with you?
14.) What is your longterm vision for your life?
15.) What do you want people to say about you at the end of your life?
Next, we’ll move on to 5 POWERFUL ACTION STEPS:
Action Step #1: Weave the answers on the above questions into a written brand narrative. What differentiates you? What sets you apart? What can you uniquely bring forth into the world? Go big on this one. Overwrite it, because you can always edit down. Be authentic, memorable, and write to your audience—and pay attention to tone. This is where you get to reframe your story and reclaim your narrative. This should be positive and empowering. Keep at it till you have a concise narrative (no longer than one page) that clearly states your personal narrative statement. This will now be the foundation of all of your personal branding.
Action Step #2: Condense the above down and craft it in actionable and dynamic terms in order to create your own personal brand manifesto in one paragraph. In the corporate world, a brand manifesto describes why your organization exists, its purpose and core values, and why people should care about your brand—and is highly emotionally charged, which is what differentiates it from a stereotypical mission statement. It should be bold, plant your flag, and inspire emotion. Now, apply this to YOU. Write in terms of your purpose. Think, “I believe…” statements. A strong manifesto will ignite not only emotions but actions. As Simon Sinek famously said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”
Think Nike saying: “Purpose Moves Us. Our purpose is to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities and an equal playing field for all.” Or Starbucks’s: “Our mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
This finished statement can be internal or external (or both!). Your manifesto can be made public and used on your website and/or LinkedIn and other social platforms, if appropriate, but you may prefer to simply keep it at your desk and read it daily to remind you who you are and what you stand for.
Action Step #3: Condense the written personal narrative into a one sentence personal branding statement. This will speak to your specific expertise and can live on your corporate bio page, LinkedIn page and across other social platforms—remember to keep it consistent and remember to keep content “on brand” (your online reputation, online identity and social media is an essential part of personal branding—and lives forever)! This can also serve as your own personal elevator pitch for networking. A personal branding statement, as we say in the ad world, has legs!
Action Step #4: Craft your own personal dynamism statement. “I am…” Choose at least three modifiers. This one isn’t for public consumption, it’s to remind you who you truly are. A sort of affirmation, if you will. For instance, one of my executive coaching clients crafted: “I am compassionate, driven and strong!” This statement has indeed driven her—to start her own company and revision her purpose.
Action Step #5: Perform an online and social media audit. Now that you’ve defined your brand, make sure that your online identify is in alignment. You can be sure that your potential clients, customers and employers are going to scour the internet looking for clues as to who you really are; make sure that your online identity matches the real world you and the brand you’ve built for yourself. So do it: Google yourself. Read the results thorough the eyes of your ideal client; does it match the authentic you and the careful branding work you’ve just done? If not, update, edit and delete till it does. And don’t forget social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram--anything that is publicly viewable.
Once you feel good about the public you, make sure that any content you produce moving forward (not only for your company but personal tweets and posts as well) is in alignment with your personal brand, and your purpose. Keep yourself honest; a good rule of thumb is: If in doubt, don’t. Discretion truly is the better part of valor.
Use the above deliverables to define your brand and fuel your purpose, both in your personal and professional life. Become your own best advocate. Know your purpose, speak your purpose, so you can LIVE your purpose. Remember: Reframe your story in order to reclaim your narrative. You choose what defines you. Create a personal brand that is rich with meaning and authenticity. And don’t forget to have fun!
I've been thinking a lot about the concept of joy lately. Living life with joy is like being in love. You consciously choose to look at the world through a different lens. You are in a state of being in love and this gives you the ability to quite literally view everyone and everything through the gorgeous haze of love. You have greater compassion. It’s all perception.
When the world is in upheaval, and the daily news brings a fresh rash of sorrow and outrage, it can be tough to remain centered, to still claim joy as our birthright. Add to that heartbreak over the abrupt ending of a loving relationship, and it’s a pretty toxic cocktail. So, today, I decided to make a list of the gifts of a broken heart. Turns out, there are many. These gifts have revealed themselves to me not only in my own past heartbreak, but in my work with all of you. Thank you for being so generous in sharing your stories and trusting me to guide you through the process.
1.) Love. Big L-love. I feel loved and held and supported by God/Universe/Source. I trust the process. I trust that in the end love and joy will win. Not just in my little life, but for all of us.
2.) Community. I feel the love and sisterhood and brotherhood of all of you amazing people. You people freaking rock. My friends have been patient and amazing, acquaintances stop to give me a hug, strangers email me and share their own stories—a generous trust.
3.) Laughter. When I wasn't crying, I found most things absolutely absurd. Heartbreak has a way of putting things in perspective. And I chortle over my own foibles daily.
4.) Purpose. We all have one. We are all necessary to heal this world. And heartbreak has a way of focusing intention and marshaling resolve. Think of it this way: every soul born is an octave of God’s voice. Each voice has something unique to add to the chorus. And it is when we all express our unique talents and lift our voices in love that the universe is in harmony. Don’t ever doubt for a second the impact you can have on this world.
5.) Clarity. I now know EXACTLY what I want. And that’s a tremendous gift. The bar has been raised high and I’m grateful to my erstwhile love for that.
6.) Perspective. This too shall pass. I’m a speck in this immense, gorgeous universe. An important speck, as are you, but a speck. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” —Carl Sagan. And this heartbreak? I will look back at it and be grateful for its lessons. I don’t feel that way now, and doubt I will tomorrow, but I trust that one day I will be humbled by its transformative power.
7.) Resilience. We have all been kicked in the teeth at one point or another. And somehow, most of us, most of the time, get back up. And then go to do something fabulous, like raise a kid, or start a company or a foundation, or write a book, or bake a cake.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” —Theodore Roosevelt
8.) Transformation. One of my dearest friends, fellow coach Susan Leahy, says “Hold your conceptions of people lightly so as to leave them room to surprise you.” So wise, so true. Just as flame forges metal and pressure creates diamonds out of dust, so does adversity transform the human spirit. It’s a gorgeous alchemy. And not only am I going through a transformation, but I’ve been able to step back and allow other people room to surprise me.
And, by the way, difficult people are our best teachers. Pain is an incredible learning tool. If someone is causing me pain, I’ve learned to stop and get curious. What’s my narrative around it? Is it true? Can I reframe it into something that is more generous and compassionate? That feels better to me? I’m committed to being a victor, not a victim. I ask myself: What did I learn from this person? How have they contributed to my growth? What’s my takeaway? What do I need to release? What do I need to bless and manifest?
Case in point: My mother. I’ve had a very complicated and conflicted relationship with my mother over the years. And I am grateful that, through grace and therapy and what measure of maturity I’ve achieved, I’ve gotten to the place where I’m able to hold my conception of her lightly because she HAS surprised me. She has stepped up and been wise and wonderful and altogether lovely. As she said to me the other day, “Sorrow stretches out places for joy in your heart.” And joy is filling me even now for her wisdom and kindness.
Thank you. Love you. Grateful for you.
Certified Professional Coach Kate Buckley is committed to facilitating personal growth and systemic transformation. An intuitive and deep listener, she specializes in helping both individuals and organizations reframe their stories in order to reclaim their life—creating meaningful strategies to transform circumstances in order to thrive!