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Can I Get a Hashtag With That?

Can I Get a Hashtag With That?
Agile Sales Leader, Community Advocate, and Golf Enthusiast.

That is my LinkedIn heading and I make it my goal to live up to each of those brands. Sometimes I can even combine all three efforts in a single day...but that's not the point.

What really matters is the journey of self discovery and the unapologetic application of your brand. Understanding who you are and what you like is not going to suit everyone. I believe Kristin Andree says it best in her book You're Not For Everyone, But You Can Be For Everyone, when she says:

Far too many people spend years - even decades - doing what they thought they should do.

Think about that for a minute and know that it's not too late to stop doing it. In my view, there are a few steps to leverage your personal brand:

  1. Understand what brings you personal joy.
  2. Understand how you can help others.
  3. Understand what you are good at that will afford you a living.

As women, we often put others before ourselves to just get stuff done; often we look up and the time is gone to do something for ourselves. 2020 was a year that brought everyone to their knees at one point or another, but it goes without saying that women got the short end of the stick between home schooling, being the first ones at their jobs to be let go, and just carrying everyone else's emotional load...hence the virtual cocktail hour was born along with ridiculous virtual show-and-tells on every social media platform.

What brings you joy? Well, for me it's golf. I just like walking nine holes with my bag on my back or in my pull cart. I enjoy being outside and the camaraderie with other people.

[Related: 101 Things to Do This Summer Just For the Joy of It]

Joy is not a KPI...you don't have to be good at your joy!

The minute a guy finds out I like golf, they always ask me what my handicap is, as if to check out my golf IQ and validity to be in the "golfer" club. Well, spoiler alert...I am not great at golf, but I still love it!

Finding your joy doesn't mean you have to be a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at it; rather it simply means that whatever your thing is that you really like, and that puts a smile on your face...well, that's your joy.

You do not need to have a five handicap to enjoy golf or be considered a golfer. By definition, a golfer is someone who plays golf (okay, I just made that up). My husband likes to fish more than anything...that's his joy. Figure out your joy and make space for it, lean in on it, and don't feel guilty about it. Incorporate your joy into your personal brand. Own it like you paid a million dollars for it.

Helping others should not come at your peril, but should support your belief system and ability to openly and freely contribute. There are so many ways to help that can support who you are as a person that you might even already do it, but just don't give yourself credit.

What causes do you advocate for without thinking about, and how can you incorporate that into your life such that it represents you without the hashtag? I live in the city and see great wealth and poverty within the same block...it's heartbreaking at times. When I was younger, I used to volunteer for everything and everyone, not ever feeling like I was making much of an impact.

As I got older, I decided to aggregate my efforts into a few causes that I truly believed in and where I felt I could make the greatest personal impact with my passions and skills. Figure out what matters to you and start supporting those efforts, and you will be amazed at how your brand starts to become more aligned and people will recognize this in you and begin to help you.

Your brand is developing a vision statement separate from what you do for a living, but more a statement of who you are as a person and what matters. You should be able to complete this sentence: We are all in this together and that is why I support (fill in the blank).

Okay, back to me, I support my community, but I lean in hard on supporting women and girls. #girlscoutsofgreateratl

Every now and then you do have to hashtag.

[Related: What People Think My Work Looks Like vs. What It Really Looks Like]

Your brand is not your company but rather your contribution to it.

In most cases, what you do for a living is not always in sync with what brings you joy or even how you help others. You might have to be an accountant to pay your bills, while running brings you joy and you support causes for the cures. Understand what you are good at that helps pay the bills and don't be upset if it doesn't bring you joy in the same way as playing golf, fishing, or running.

Your brand is composed of what you do in many cases, so be excellent at what you do. Why waste time being anything less than your very best? You will find that once you clearly identify the components of your personal brand, there will be opportunities to overlap them.

Maybe your company sponsors a run and the proceeds go to your favorite charity...win-win. Work hard while you are working so you can enjoy the time when you are not. Work ethic is a part of your personal brand. In many cases, it's your secret sauce. 

Personal branding takes self-awareness, coachingmentoring, and discovery. There are so many great books like the one mentioned above, and forums like Ellevate where you can learn from subject matter experts. It's your life and your brand. We see you either way...might as well show up with intention and control the narrative.

[Related: Building the Next Generation of Leaders Starts with Expecting—and Respecting—Authenticity]

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Karen Bass is an energetic sales leader with extensive successful solution sales experience calling on healthcare, Fortune 1000, and public sector clients. Connect with her here.


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