I arranged to meet one of my LinkedIn connections.
She was someone I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Our connection was exclusively through work.
We chatted about a number of things: work, the weather, the FIFA World Cup and then we got on to my family.
Because I rarely post personal matters about my family in LinkedIn, she had only experienced me through a professional context.
She was completely surprised to find out about my family and personal life – things that interested me outside work.
How I lived my ‘other side’ didn’t fit with the ‘story’ that she had assumed about me.
It got me thinking that people make up impressions based on the stories they learn about us – or assume about us – albeit from a certain context.
It clearly might not be all that representative either.
Perceptions are a function of our contexts – from whom we follow on LinkedIn or Facebook; to what we say, in what channels; to where we eat; or what we drive; or where we spend our holiday; and where we work…they are all part of who we are.
The need to work is necessary for most of us. But our own choice of job or profession – especially in the developed world is at our own discretion.
The choice of a job or profession we pursue reinforces our values, choices, and beliefs – our self-concept and our personal brand.
An authentic personal brand is not about finding new ways to promote ourselves.
It’s about helping and connecting, and it’s more about feelings over facts.
A well thought-out personal brand is about giving people frames of reference and context. And above all, an authentic personal brand is about becoming part of other peoples’ story about how you were able to help them.
What is your personal brand?
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