"What's with the chicken?" That's the question I'm often asked when someone visits my website for the first time. My response? Because I like chickens. Because I love their playful, easy nature, and that they don't over-complicate life.
But it's also because chickens so aptly represent my personal brand, which I've distilled down into two words: Champagne & Chickens.
Two little words to describe that I have a playful sense of humor and that I'm just as comfortable walking around barefoot in the garden as I am wearing a cocktail dress to a symphony.
Two seemingly dissonant pieces of who I am, united by two words and a single photo. And that's why when you visit my website you're greeted with a photo of me holding a glass of champagne in one hand and a chicken in the other.
I pieced together my personal brand at a time in my life when my self-confidence and self-worth were at an all-time low. It was in the midst of that heavy life moment that my brand became undeniably clear to me.
I also began building relationships with other strong women who empowered and encouraged me to show up a little more authentically every day.
Little by little, I pieced myself back together. And it was my personal brand, along with a solid self-care practice, that led my lifestyle redesign efforts.
If you're wondering what exactly a personal brand is, here are a few perspectives:
Much like a business brand, your personal brand is a representation of who you are and what you value. It shows people what they can expect when they interact with you.
There are three main benefits to having a personal brand:
First, personal brands help you build self-confidence. When you're clear about who you are, you stand a little taller, speak a little bolder, and make decisions more quickly and easily.
Brands are a lot like boundaries. In their book boundaries*, authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend explain it this way: "Your words let people know where you stand and thus give them a sense of the 'edges' that help identify you.”
When you have a clear brand, you're less concerned with "fitting in" and more concerned with making a contribution to the world.
Besides, it's a waste of time and energy trying to be someone you think the world wants you to be. If you aren't being yourself, you're just being a half-ass version of someone else.
By standing in your truth, you'll naturally attract the people who are meant to be in your life and repell those who aren't.
And that's a good thing.
As you lean into who you are by developing a personal brand, your confidence will grow.
Second, personal brands are exceptional decision-making tools. They serve as internal checklists to help you evaluate new opportunities and determine if they're a good fit for you or not. When one of your options aligns well with your brand, you'll know it. And saying yes will be easy. When I stopped saying 'yes' to everything and learned how only say 'yes' to what was in alignment with my brand, I stopped feeling resentful and bitter all the time.
Third, when you live your personal brand -- in how you speak, write, behave and dress -- it helps people understand what to expect from you.
And that helps you build rapport and trust.
Personal brands set expectations early, often before someone even meets you. By experiencing you first through your brand, it's much easier to connect when you do finally connect in person. Establishing a personal brand is vital, whether you're an entrepreneur, a teacher, a stay-at-home dad -- or have any interaction whatsoever with other humans.
So, once you've established a personal brand, how do you go about using it? The simple answer is every chance you get.
My personal brand comes across in my writing style, how I speak, my wardrobe, my home decor, and many other areas of my life. It's an expression of who I am that extends beyond words and into how I actually live my life. There's no right or wrong way to use your personal brand; trust your intuition to guide you. You'll begin noticing when you're out of alignment more and more, and it will prompt you to make adjustments as you go.
While personal brands are helpful, they do have limitations. What a personal brand cannot do is define every aspect of you. But that's not what they're designed to do anyway.
You're a complex being who is constantly changing and growing, so it's impossible to be defined completely at any given moment. The intention of a personal brand isn't to put you into a box; it's to make you more relatable to others.
If you've been struggling to define your personal brand, you're not alone. It can be challenging to connect the dots of who you are and makes sense out of what you find.
If you're ready to explore further, consider joining the Lifestyle Design Studio, an online gathering place for women who want to live with more ease and better health. There, you'll find the tools to not only establish a personal brand, but also refine many other areas of your life.
Regardless of how you choose to define your personal brand, one thing's for certain: When you get clear about how you want to show up in the world, your confidence will grow, you'll make better decisions, and you'll be able to build deeper relationships with people who are meant to be in your life.
Join the Studio and get started today.
Have a thought about personal brands? Share a comment below.
*LivingUpp™ is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases on links to Amazon and other affiliate sites.