July 26, 2013 Mad Hatter

BRAND YOURSELF: YOU ARE WHAT PEOPLE SEE OF YOU

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“If you embrace this truism, then it justifies the need for you to consciously purpose to influence the perception the world has of you. It would mean you control the information given out, of you, by your image”

Personal branding is a conscious self-packaging which targets to create a distinguishable asset of someone. In a Major sense, it is a tool to claim self identity, an attempt to be within the masses without being a part of the masses, or to set oneself apart. It will commonly include but may not necessarily be limited to clothing, personality, body stature, in-depth comprehension of a concept.

In modern times, personal branding is necessitated by a social belief that indeed perception is the ultimate reality. This in itself is subject to philosophical critique, but as such, it is true that our part of lives known to our neighbours would constitute the bulk of who we are. As such social desirability bias is not an exclusive attempt of not being ourselves; it can be incorporated within us to achieve a personal advantage; living aware that we need to be conscious, but in an honest manner about what others see of us.

Our silent personalities may not be of a major significance if they are not used to influence our immediate environment. It is like holding an in-depth conviction that we are inherently good people, yet our colleagues associate us with obnoxious tendencies. While our internal convictions may serve to give our consciences serenity, it does little in aiding our association with the rest of humanity. And yes, life is just as much about association with others as it is about associating with ourselves.

My lecturer once mused, you may see yourself as an expert, but if the world does not believe this, your expertise is an illusion. In blunt words, the world, which unfortunately you must be part of, is interested in what it can see of you, not what you believe it should see of you.

If you embrace this truism, then it justifies the need for you to consciously purpose to influence the perception the world has of you. It would mean you control the information given out, of you, by your image. You should separate the notion of personal branding and double living. Whereas the former is basically regulating and modifying the part of you given out for public consumption, the latter is a masking endeavour designed to exclude the bad you from the world.

It would not be entirely far-fetched to say that double living would include defensive mechanisms, where one shields their bad selves from the world which could prove critically burdensome.

It is invaluable if one concedes to the fact that every minute of life we are being weighed in one way or the other. If it is not our kindergarten teacher predicting the greatness of our academic prowess, it could be a Human Resource supervisor perusing our profiles. It could be our classmate commending on how our dress marries exquisitely well with our physique. All these evaluations are important and if we can manipulate them to our advantage, while remaining true to ourselves and giving a positive contribution to the world, then that is the avenue that we should take.
In packaging ourselves, the greatest strategy is making our gifts a conspicuous part of our brand. It is easier to be genuine when you know exactly that you are good at what you are doing.

Shakespeare told humanity that the world is a stage: And all men and women but players. On such a stage, you ought to curve a niche for yourself.

CONFIDENCE:

We have been asked to be confident, in very many ways. Here, let us place emphasis on how it expresses itself, and perhaps distinguish it from on being full of yourself as a person. Confidence is simply belief in your ability to do something successfully.

It would be surprising if we can ever have an impact on anything without believing in ourselves. The ability to believe that we can be successful would impliedly embrace all tenets observed to realize success. Confidence would be a belief in our abilities while having courage to concede our failings.
Confidence is an intellectual virtue that would allow constructive critique, adducing and challenging of ideas and expressing ourselves with an authoritative certainty but equally cautious of depicting ourselves as thresholds for everything.

A brand person would have guarded certainty in their speech. I will deliver would be their speech when they are sure rather than I think I will deliver. Listening to Caroline Mutoko recently, I learnt that the world is impatient with ideas, it needs plans: an expression of comprehensive certainty rather than speculative possibilities.

LIFE IS NOT ONE DIMENSIONAL:

Life is interplay of both official and casual contexts. Rigidity in the brand that one places forth for public consumption only serves to constrain the extent of our interaction. Consider Barack Obama, even in addressing the Congress amidst a declining economy, he would place in his speech a guarded joke that is relevant to the context.
A funny update on our social media profile, a guarded joke in a corporate discussion could help us identify with many people who we would love to influence.

As such integrated facets of our lives should be placed before the public for a holistic interaction.

COMMUNICATION:

Having had the privilege of working as a client relationship officer in a financial institution, I came to a conclusion that clients do know that at some point their expectation may not be met to the fullest. However, they greatly appreciated if this would be communicated to them effectively.

The number of times, I heard, “it is okay, I will wait” increased every time I communicated at first instance when a mishap was noted. Communication is the only chord that ties us with everyone else in our environment.
The clarity in our way of communication would greatly reduce misinterpretations.
There is no way we can impart our ideas to other people without communication. In written contexts, we have to be cautious since our communications would have a sense of permanency. In oral communication, our personal touch will accompany the same and we ought to be cautious.

Clarity of communication would not mean extreme eloquence, but it would mean a sizable command of the language. I know of political aspirants who undergo intense training to realize a mastering of local dialects. If you have the advantage of eloquence, the better, if you can create it, then proceed.

(The Second Part of this Continuing Series will appear on Friday, 2nd August, on www.lonefelix.com)

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