I wonder sometimes if we worry too much about “selling ourselves” instead of just being ourselves? We are bombarded with the message that we need to develop and cultivate our “personal brand,” especially in this digital age. But do too many of us worry about branding ourselves in a sales sense rather than an organic sense? And in doing so do we find ourselves selling another person’s ideal instead of being geniune?
|photo by Social Media Max||via PhotoRee|
Sometimes I think so. In fact I have found myself getting caught up in this overly “salesy” approach to personal branding. What I mean by this is the sales approach of trying to be everything to everyone in order to make the sale. Let’s face it, we all know that yucky feeling we get when we feel like someone is trying to put the “hard sell” on us. It just makes you feel uncomfortable with the person and feel like they are just using you to reach their goals. Is this the impression you want to give people in your network or a potential employer?
The most powerful sales people don’t even “feel” like they are selling you. They are the ones who are confident, genuine, and seem to sincerely want to understand your problem and help.
The best way to build that personal brand is to really know yourself taking the time to be introspective and understand who you are (your mission), what your values (how you operate) are and who you want to be (your vision), can go so much further in making a strong brand. Plus, knowing yourself this well leads to a level of comfort that exudes confidence (not the boorish, cocky, Jersey Shore kind) and that helps “sell” more than anything. Besides, if you are trying to be everything to everyone, you really aren’t being yourself which will just lead to personal discontent in the long run.
If you aren’t a natural extrovert, putting on “the sell” can seem even more forced and personally uncomfortable. Being you in front of others, may still be tough as an introvert, but significantly more uncomfortable.
Things I try to keep in mind:
- Know myself: Strengths, weaknesses, values, desires, etc. If you don’t know who you are, then how can you expect others?
- Be genuine: People want to know me because that is who they may need to work with. Plus, I will be happier being me rather than someone else’s “ideal.”
- Be helpful: Be willing to help others unconditionally. Too often we get caught up in transactional relationships. People gravitate toward people who genuinely just want to help others.
- Don’t be too sensitive: If someone doesn’t like the “real” me, then do I really want to waste energy with them?
Know who you are and be that person. Your network will grow and you will be a happier person and professional in the long run.