The Importance of Personal Branding – Part 2

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Live your passion:

“Whatever you do in life, you must make sure that it’s something you are truly passionate about or you will never be truly happy, regardless of how comfortable your life may otherwise be. Happiness and comfort are not synonyms!” 

In part one, I spoke a bit about why personal branding is important in today’s social media savvy society. I also researched my own virtual legacy, but what did I learn from this one hour long investigation? What clues or hints were revealed as I now begin to actively and consciously development my own personal brand? I think my starting ‘Klout’ rating* of ‘observer’, when I signed up for the service, pretty much sums it up. While I used to be much more active and socially engaging at a younger age, which, very importantly, was during the pre-internet and pre-social media days, I have, I guess, become more of an outsider, someone who seems to follow situations from a distance, despite the immense opportunities available nowadays to ‘get the word out’. Is this is a good or a bad thing? I’m not quite sure. On one hand, I have never felt the need to go and ‘blow my own trumpet’, so to speak, that is, to publicize the results of my work to a wider audience. On the other hand, I still think that I have had made some significant contributions via my efforts in numerous professional projects in different parts of the world, ones that I can honestly say that I am very proud of. The question is, should I have been a trumpet player? If I had of been able to predict how the world would change via the influence of social media, my answer to that questions would be a resounding ‘yes!’. But why? I have always 100% believed that the best jobs and projects come via word of mouth, via pre-warmed introductions by one’s advocates and peers. In other words, the people that have come to know you and to trust you over a period of time. This certainly worked well in the past when our work locations were rather restricted. Now, though, the game has changed as we live in a truly global professional market.

Social media has, in a practical sense, become our virtual advocate or peer group allowing us to become better known and trusted by people that we have never met. For me personally, I think that I have done so much more that my current virtual legacy would lead anyone to understand. Certainly, the people I have affected organically in the past will always know and appreciate what I have been able to contribute, but that isn’t going to necessarily get me the right contacts to secure my involvement in any new and interesting projects in the future, projects which could literally be conducted anywhere in the world. I can’t do anything about my past, but I can definitely influence my future, especially if I am willing to take personal responsibility for creating my own professional and personal opportunities through a focused and effective personal branding strategy. Being active as possible is the key, which, as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, it’s all about knowing how to hussle and being prepared to do whatever you have to do to make things happen.

There is more to life than just being comfortable.

Having a strong personal brand and social media presence will become, if it already isn’t, an absolute necessity in order to become and remain an attractive and outstanding asset in the professional market place, Maybe even in the social one as well. Think about it. Quite often the first thing many of us do when we want to find out about something (or someone!) new is do Google it. This applies to future employers, business partners and clients alike. The question is, what do you want others to read about you or what you have done when they go and do a search on your name ? If your answer is nothing, and you don’t care about, or want to use, social media then you’re lucky as you can just keep doing what you’re doing. However, if you want to maximize your ability to influence and create professional opportunities, then I suggest you read on. The days of typed and printed resumes sent to strangers looking to hire us, and to whom we are also just as unknown, are fast coming to an end. Your resume will now simply be the electronic trail of evidence of your actions and words left behind on the internet. Essentially, your cyberspace legacy will become your main source of influence in the global market, and your awesome organic bad self will only be of benefit when you actually get a chance to talk to a real person, which, in business, seems to be happening less and less these days.

Legacy is greater than currency – Gary Vaynerhchuk, Crush it.#

Is personal branding more about what people think of us or more about how we can better monetize the services we provide them? Maybe a bit of both. Getting financial rewarded for your efforts is an important goal. in fact, it is an absolute practical necessity for us to be able to provide for our own families. However, it can also provide us with the needed funds to start doing many of the things on our bucket lists, like live in Bhutan for a year to learn more about happiness. While you can certainly try meditation in Bhutan if that sort of thing turns your crank, but you can also get happy right here, right now. I personally believe that to be truly happy it is necessary to provide worthwhile service to others, no exceptions. Beyond personal gain, what is even more important is how you will be remembered by the people you interact with and influence during the course of your life. Legacy is greater than currency#.

To finish, I really want you to ask yourself the following: ‘Is what I’m doing right now making both me and the people around me happy?’ If you answered no, then I strongly suggest you either learn to find a way to be happy with what you’re doing right now or, if that’s not likely to happen, go and find something else to do as fast as your feet can carry you. Whatever you do, please just make sure that it’s something you are truly passionate about or you will never be truly happy, regardless of how comfortable your life may otherwise be. Happiness and comfort are not synonyms! Don’t waste another second doing what is wrong for you, regardless of how much other people will try to convince you to the contrary. It’s your life. So, live your passion, and start to live it now. After all, isn’t being happy the whole point of our existence?

Jyri Manninen

FAF Director of Education and Cofounder of Silo

My full professional profile is viewable here.

* Since writing the second part to this blog article, my Klout score has over doubled within a month and I have been granted with the most auspicious rank of “specialist”, meaning that there are actually people out there that find some of my stuff interesting enough to follow : )

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