Saturday, 21 August 2010

An Authentic Personal Brand

One of the dictionary’s definitions of authenticity is, “Undisputed Credibility”. How good would it be to be known as having undisputed credibility? Well, the good news is that each and every one of us has the wherewithal to achieve that. It’s both a choice and a journey.

Occasionally, when I’m running seminars and workshops, there’s a kind of glazed look that comes over certain members of the group when I mention authenticity. I think it’s because some individuals, particularly in the business world, have received so many mixed messages about authenticity and what it means. I hear people say, ‘Well, it’s me just being me, isn’t it?’ If only it were that simple.

If we use undisputed credibility as one of the outcomes of being authentic, I think you’ll agree, irrespective of who you are or what you do, being known as credible garners more trust and respect. Moreover, it’s how we learn to trust ourselves. Being someone who has a reputation for being credible is a testament like no other. Knowing we have this reputation helps us to feel more buoyed about ourselves, in fact, it ties into being authentic.

In order to be authentic, it’s important we acknowledge and honour parts of how we’ve developed over the years; both the positive and the negative. This acknowledgment helps us to recognise aspects of our behaviours and actions that we’d like to enhance, modify or change. If you think about people who strike you as being authentic, it’s likely their traits will be both admirable and inspirational. In essence, if we strive to be someone who’s considered admirable and inspirational, as if by osmosis, authenticity will likely follow.

A female client, who’s Personal Brand as a businessperson was considered friendly, helpful and credible, told me she berated one of her Managers publicly for not completing a task on time. This kind of behaviour was completely uncharacteristic for this woman. She said, “I gave him what for, that’s who I am, that was me being authentic.” I suggested that reputationally, that’s not how she’s perceived, and in my opinion, not who she is. I further suggested that her anger and frustration are what caused her to berate this person publicly. In essence, this behaviour wasn’t her being authentic it was who she became when her emotions took over.

There seems to be some discrepancy between emotion and passion. Passion, which is the way some people describe their emotional outbursts, is exclusive, all about you. However, when we convey passion, it’s inclusive, it’s all about us. You take people with you when you communicate passion; you leave people behind when you allow your emotions to run the show. Just being aware of this encourages us to be more of who we really are.

To develop and convey an authentic Personal Brand, just be the person you are the most proud of. And at times, when you are not being authentic, which is normal, take a step back, say or do something there and then that strikes a note of authenticity. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to ‘show up’.

Here are eight tips on how to have a more authentic Personal Brand:

1. Be conscious of how you’d like others to talk about you

2. Develop the ability to dissolve self consciousness

3. Be the you you’re most proud of

4. Admit your mistakes and learn from them

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say

6. Build a reputation that truly represents who you are

7. Notice times when you’re not being authentic

8. Trust your intuition as it relates to feeling authentic