What’s Your Brand?

When I was in a mentorship program a couple of years ago, my mentor and I met to figure out how she could help me.  I started by explaining that, because I was the first employee at the company and “grew up” there, I felt that people didn’t really see me as the leader I felt I was.  I wanted to learn how to build my brand into something new.

She suggested that to really figure out what my brand might be, I needed to start with what I thought about myself.  Then, she said to come up with the words I thought other people would use to describe me.  After I had that list, I was to report back for our next meeting.  

I wrote my list, and we met again a few weeks later. She challenged me as soon as she saw the first two words on my list: helpful and supportive.  She reminded me that I was no longer on the support team where I had started my career, so I needed to expand how I thought of myself, too. Moving on from that entry-level role meant I had to allow my opinion about myself to move on and grow with it. 

Line of girls in ballet class where the girl on the right hangs by her knees from the barre while other students stand on their feet.
I realized that I needed to change the way I thought of myself to become confident in my brand as a leader.

I discovered that I still thought of myself as the main support for the call center and the sales teams because I had institutional knowledge few others possessed so people came to me with questions all the time.  By thinking of myself as someone who only supported others, I couldn’t see myself as the leader I wanted to be. So, the answer of creating my new brand meant changing how I thought of myself.

That sounds a lot easier than it turned out to be! I had to make a conscious effort to view every interaction through a new prism, and to replace the old self-limiting definitions for myself with the new ones. For example, when I found myself thinking I was being helpful, I changed my description to being influential. Instead of being merely supportive to my colleagues when they had a question, I used those moments to become impactful in their careers and lives. I strengthened my belief in myself each time I portrayed those qualities outwardly, and I allowed my colleagues’ feedback to keep me honest and on target for my goals. Over time, I narrowed down what to do into five steps and successfully became My Brand! 

Collage of adjectives
Follow these steps to build your brand!

I know my work is not done yet. I continue to remind myself not only of what my brand is today, but also what I would like it to become in the future. I check myself immediately when I hear self-limiting thoughts pop into my head, and replace them with empowering and positive ones. And I listen to the feedback of my trusted mentors and confidantes, so I can make sure I am on the right track. 

Do you have a story about how you created or changed your brand? Tell us about it and you’ll get some GGTW swag and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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