It’s Your Brand. It’s Your Future!

Differentiate yourself from the crowd

Your Brand differentiates you.

“Work hard and you shall be rewarded” is not necessarily the formula for future career success these days. Too often we take for granted that others see our output and recognize our leadership brilliance…. or at least see our dedication, our hard work, the unique value we bring to the organization.

Years ago a colleague asked me to play golf with some clients. I declined saying I was not good enough. I remember his response: “My mother is a scratch golfer. She told me that the only game golfers care about is their own”.

Over time I have noticed this is often true. Other golfers may have some interest in your game. However, it really is all about themselves. Hey, I’m the same way. I have enough to worry about without focusing on your game. How often have you had to listen to another golfer tell you, sometimes in excruciating detail, how they made (or missed!) that shot on number 8 or …lucky you!….they may even give a hole-by-hole, blow-by-blow description of all 18 holes.

What have you done for me lately

It is similar in business. We notice what we choose to focus on. If my focus is on my career, my job, my brilliance or ….my problems, my issues, my stress….there is little room left in my brain to notice your accomplishments.

If we have been working together for some time, I may take for granted the level of your performance and not realize that it is exceptional. It has become your norm. It’s what’s expected from you.

Likewise it may be that, on occasion, you have done things that irritate me or you may have shown some weakness or idiosyncrasy in some area of your role. Over time it may happen that I can’t help but notice every time it occurs. In fact, I may let it detract from your very positive leadership attributes. And worse, I may not even share my observation with you until it affects a career opportunity for you.

Now take it out a step further to someone who doesn’t interact with you very often or not at all. What is their impression of you versus some one who they know. And by the way, that’s all they have to go on….an impression. Good luck!

It’s up to you to take charge of your brand

And so it goes. As the philosopher Anais Nin said,

“We see things not as they are but as we are.”

Think about who is important to your success today and in the future. Do they know your value? What do you want them to notice about you? If you care about your career you need to ensure that your critical stakeholders see you as you want them to, and not leave it to chance. It’s your choice. It’s your career.

When it comes time for recognition, a promotion or even a downsizing, it is too late to build your brand.

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