Using Self-Reflection to Develop your Personal Brand
By Taylor Varco
Your personal brand is more important now than ever before. Not just for a career search, but for career advancement and leadership. Personal branding is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving. It is essentially the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent.
Showcasing your skillset in a meaningful way can seem like a daunting task, so where do you start? Here’s what you can do to become aware of your own strengths.
First: Stop and think.
Identifying your personal brand is little more challenging than writing down a list of goals and aspirations. Yes, you’ll need a pen and paper on hand, but what’s more important is engaging in self-reflection. Carve out some time for yourself without distractions. It won’t take long, in fact, you may be surprised at how quickly your own sense of self will emerge.
Next: Get to know your strengths and weaknesses.
Examine your past experiences in work, school and life, as well as the interests, skills, and knowledge that those experiences reveal. The goal is to understand your own background so you can decide how you would like to appear to an employer or prospective client.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What situations bring out the best in you?
- What are some things that energize you and that you enjoy doing?
- What challenges make you want to get going? What makes you feel strong?
- How have you handled disappointments? Do errors, failures or setbacks throw you off?
- What do you like doing for others? How do you make other people feel good about themselves?
- What makes you feel supported or encouraged? What do people appreciate most of you?
- What do you find most rewarding about your work? What do others seem to think you do very well?
Try not to pass judgment during this exercise. An honest evaluation of your capabilities, your experience, and your own intentions is not the same as a session of self-criticism. Everyone makes mistakes, both our victories and our setbacks are what helps us understand ourselves and what we can offer to others.
Challenge yourself to think about what your intentions are and what you are capable of delivering to the communities you are serving, both in and outside of the workplace.