Personal Branding Like a Boss
5 Areas I'm Prioritizing to Level-Up & Own My Personal Brand
Proud Working Mom. Mother Hustler. Fierce Friend. Creative. Champagne Lover. Boss.
“Your personal brand should follow you everywhere you go. It needs to be an authentic manifestation of who you are and amplify what you believe.” -Tim Salau, CEO & Co-Founder at Guide App, and Global Tech Leader
I think about my personal brand often as I evolve as a woman/mom/human — and especially during this season of career transition, this pandemic that's making me question everything about what I want out of life and what is a true priority, and as I think about what legacy I want to leave behind.
Whether you like it or not you have a personal brand.
“Anyone who interacts with other people needs to think about branding...your brand is how the world experiences you and what they believe to be true...you need to be concerned about public perception [and owning that message].”
— Lida Citroën, personal branding expert
If you’re not owning your personal brand, other people and circumstances will. And the good news is, we each have the ability to take control over it, and change it anytime we want. Your personal brand is the thing that enters the room whether or not you're actually in that room, so you might as well own it.
Over the last decade in corporate America, I’ve come to realize the importance of personal branding, and on a personal level how essential it is to be able to show up as ones true authentic self at work AND at home — trust me when I say those two “people” had been in conflict for quite some time, as I’ve lived a long career in a male dominated field where I was constantly juggling “fitting in and making an impact” and “being me and making an impact”, and it was exhausting.
I’ve embraced the fact that I have to be the same person everywhere in my life in order to be happy and whole — which was an extremely important "aha" for me when I added working mom to my repertoire. Enter: my obsession with personal branding, and owning it.
Owning your personal brand helps you actualize your full potential in all aspects of your life because it’s allows you to bring your whole authentic self to everything you do.
Successful personal branding requires patience and consistency. Here are a few women who inspire me around this topic that I recommend you absorb lessons from — in book, podcast and social media forms — as you work on owning this aspect of your life for yourself:
- Cara Alwill Leyba (@thechampagnediet), Author, Blogger + Creator
- Lida Citroen (@Lida_Citroen), Speaker, coach, author & personal branding guru
SO, how do you figure out and own your personal brand? On the whole, you get super clear on who you are, what you want, and how you want to show up in the world. I'll take you through the 5 areas I'm focusing on which are helping me dial in the personal brand I’m building; these areas offer aspects of my brand values that I believe all of us busy working women could benefit from if we prioritize them in our lives. Let's dig into it!
SWEATING, SUPERFOODS & SMARTS
There is nothing more important than health and taking the utmost care of the one body you’ve got.
Which means the biggest return on your investment is investing in your body and mind.
You can’t do anything if your health and wellness goes to sh*t. First: you can’t give to anyone or anything in your life if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Second: don’t wait until health becomes an issue before you prioritize it — it may be too late. The people in your life need your whole capable self, and the full life you were gifted to live demands that too.
My not-so-secret secret to living a happy and whole life is:
Sweat and/or do something that makes you feel strong every day.
Consistently choose foods that fuel, nourish and energize your body.
Take care of your brain. Be choosy with everything you consume.
We, especially as women, are brainwashed by one of societies greatest lies: if you just polish your exterior, and (obsessively?) spend all your money on beauty and anti-aging you will look and feel better and be happy.
Lies. You can’t just paint and polish your exterior, and neglect everything inside. The irony is that when you take care of your body and mind, you actually look and feel your best, and inevitably need to spend less on products and services that “fix” things.
Listen: I love a spa day, makeup, and taking care of my skin. But we have to start thinking about “true self care”, as a part of total health. Total health is a long game; it’s creating healthy habits that become part of how you LIVE, its investing in yourself and it’s NOT a quick fix. I’m on a mission to change this, and I hope you’ll join me.
Let’s invest in ourselves so we can live our best lives:
- Buy the thing that makes you sweat everyday (the app, membership, Peloton bike, home gym, trainer)
- See a nutritionist. Learn to cook. Buy organic. Get a meal plan service. Hire a private chef. Drink all the water.
- Don’t stop learning. Go to therapy.
We need each and every one of us to be firing on all cylinders. ESPECIALLY WOMEN. So take care of yourself like your life depends on it, because it does and we need you.
“Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many extraordinary women. And this is no accident, I choose my fierce friends wisely, because I too am a fierce friend and place high value and an enormous amount pride in the friendships I have. Do you?
Remember: You are a product of the people you interact with the most — both in real life and with people who’s messaging and content you consume — so choose your relationships and friendships wisely.
I’ve learned that nurturing relationships that fill your cup, with people who exude good energy, and who remind you of who you are, is one of the biggest differentiators between people who are able to actualize their full potential and live their best lives, and people who don’t. Plus: Having strong women in my life who I can turn to at any time, has been something that consistently brings out the best of me, and makes me feel powerful and invincible, and reminds me to always think bigger.
There are typically two types of strong women I collect, that maybe you need to think about collecting as well:
A-Team Untouchables (at least for now 😉), who you can access only through social media and interviews, TedTalks and podcasts. DO IT.
Boss Ladies & Mother Hustlers, who are often just a phone call away. Get them into your life more often.
I want to highlight 3 members of my Mom Tribe, in the latter category, who are awesome and inspiring, and in what some might call “the beginning of their journeys towards doing big things”, much like myself.
- Maria @confessions_of_a_corporate_mom (rockstar mom of 3, creative, writer, hustler)
- Julie @juliebennettseattle (rockstar mom of 3, creative, photographer, hustler)
- Ruby @_allruby_ (rockstar mom of 1, creative, film student, hustler)
Check them out, and see what they’re up to. It’s not often you get to say “I knew so-and-so when...” and to get a chance to watch someone grow and to be part of their success.
Keep hustlin’ ladies! And reminder:
Women should be in charge of everything.
Podcasts are the best busy people brain food.
And they quite literally saved me last year when I was having what I like to call a mid-career and life purpose crisis — and yes, it was as dramatic as I’m making it seem. Have you been here before?
I had reached this point in my life as a female/mom/career woman/human where everything felt disconnected and lacked luster: I hated what I was doing for work, I felt mismatched with who I was trying to be at home and in the workplace (lesson#1: you can’t be two different people), I had lost my purpose, I was unhappy and I wasn’t showing up as my best self anywhere. I had to get unstuck fast, and I knew it was going to take some soul searching and a perspective overhaul so I reached out to my squad of strong women and asked for all their book and podcast recommendations, and I dove headfirst into everything and anything that interested me.
Each interview, conversation and topic led to something or someone new. It was a glorious treasure hunt. And it gave me instant access to some of the worlds best mentors, educators and experts who in turn ultimately helped me process everything, gain clarity and perspective and get un-stuck. I was learning and expanding my mind again...which somehow disappeared from the priority list between becoming a new mom and adjusting to my world as a working Mom (+wife/friend/circus leader) of toddlers.
My deep dive into podcasts slowly un-funked everything and changed my life. And to this day, in the crazy busy world that we live in, it’s one of my favorite outlets for mental nourishment and motivation.
Stepping up to the podcast buffet is the best because it offers every possible flavor you’re in the mood for, but actually makes you feel full in all the right ways.
Here are a few podcasts I’ve consistently kept on my plate, that always leave me wanting more:
“Where Should We Begin” by @estherperelofficial
@Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
“How I Built This” with @guy.raz
Pro Tip 1: Find people and subjects you like, follow them on podcasts you haven’t explored.
Pro Tip 2: Download “Overcast” to save & organize your podcasts for future listening.
Never stop learning and growing — both professionally and personally.
“In an age of this much free information, your ignorance is a choice.”
Damn. True though, right? I’ll add...”your unwillingness to develop yourself in transformative and self-fulfilling ways is a choice.” If you’ve read any articles about “living an extraordinary life vs. ordinary,” you’ll find some form of the following: highly successful people read a lot, and invest in themselves in the form of life long learning.
Make the time.
“But I don’t have time.” Girl, please. No one has time. It’s all about how well you use the time you have and what your prioritize are.
First tip of the day, that does me well when I too feel the suffocation of not having enough time to fit in the things that are important to me, like personal dev: complete a consumption audit. Where does your time go? Are you saying NO to the things in your life that aren’t serving your priorities, needs or future self?
You may find that you’re spending too much time absorbed in other peoples highlight reels, or in front of a screen. Pause: there’s nothing wrong with these outlets for entertainment, but there is a thing as too much...something only you can define. Tip: set screen time for yourself, much like you’d do with your kids. Seriously. Block out days/windows when you can’t touch a screen. I have a no screen time policy until my morning routine is complete, and strict weekend rules for myself. What do you need so that you have time for personal dev? 15 mins a day adds up!
“It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, but to go from ‘knowing nothing to being pretty good’ takes 20 hours. The equivalent of 45 mins a day for a month. Or 15 mins a day for 3 months.”
Truth: You have more time than you think to develop yourself in ways that will change your life. At least that’s what I keep telling myself and it seems to be working. Decide what you want to learn or work on, and make it happen.
Consider fitting in the following: Read. Take a class from an expert you admire. Go to a conference. Enhance a skill with an online training.
Start small, level-up your life.
Drink. More. Champagne.
And here we are. You knew this was coming.
If there’s one thing I hope you get out of following me here it’s this: Find the Champagne Moments — aka the moments worth celebrating — in the every-dayness of your life, and CELEBRATE them like the boss that you are, every damn day.
Guys. Life is a wild ride. And even as “prepared for anything” as you could possibly be, you can’t control it all (trust me I’ve tried). But what you can always do is always have the Champagne on ice, or at the ready. And if Champagne isn’t your thing, first let’s talk *wink*, but seriously really just find the thing that allows you to remind yourself to Celebrate Everyday and go H.A.M. for it. Because, why not? Seriously! Don’t wait for the “perfect moment” to open that great bottle, to slow down long enough to find joy in the simplicity, to appreciate the gift of life and time that you have, and to LIVE...literally the only perfect moment is now, because it’s the only thing that’s a guarantee, and life absolutely should be lived in the NOW — If you haven’t learned that yet, especially during this pandemic, then maybe you need to put yourself in a timeout (I did) and look around, dwell in the life you’re creating and force yourself to absorb it all, in its most stripped down version, which for most of us is just “you, and the people you’re shacked up with (if you’re lucky), and the basic necessities that allow you to live.” And then, ask yourself: What makes me happy? And, What do I actually need? Then lean into that, with your whole ass (never half-ass anything).
We over complicate things. And sure, I need a girls weekend, a beach vacation, wanderlust travel, a spa day, an infinite amount of hugs and high fives, and an epic party with all my favorite people smooshed up on a dance floor as much as the next person, but this time, as crazy as it is, is teaching us a lot. Don’t miss the lessons, or as Oprah says “start listening to the whispers in your life.”
And while you’re at it, look for the moments worth celebrating. After all, life is way too short.
Live your Champagne Life.
OKAY! Now you have the full picture of what my personal brand means to me in this season of my life, and I hope it also inspires you to OWN your own.