How much people value you depends on how much you make yourself valuable. But, always remember truly valuable.
And the reason is – Don’t be a fool!
And while we’re at it, a personal brand is hugely overrated. It proposes that you can advance your career by creating a good reputation.
But don’t lie to yourself. A reputation, or personal brand, is something you don’t fully control.
A lot of people try to tell you that you have to “enhance” your brand. I’ve heard it since 2010 when I got my first sales job while I was still a student. The advice was, “work on your personal brand, and you can make a promotion very quickly.”
And that kind of advice is still given today. Recently I stumbled upon a post on a major publishing outlet where the author talked about how “science” can help you to build a personal brand.
It was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever read. The author, a so-called branding expert, edited her profile picture in Canva. She simply increased the brightness, contrast, and saturation by 4 points.
AND THE RESULT WAS AMAZING!
The altered profile picture outperformed the old picture by 415 likes on Facebook!
Who cares about that?
Sincerely. That stuff has zero impact on things such as profession satisfaction or income. I am a marketing expert,I have my masters in marketing. And changing the brightness of your profile picture is not the type of science that I was taught by my marketing professors.
People who say a personal brand is something you “work on” completely disregard one important thing.
A reputation is a by-product of work. You can work on your skills and knowledge. But you can’t work on a reputation.
A reputation is something you earn
A reputation is nothing more than the perception that other people have of you. So for one thing, it’s not something you can control directly.
You can only make impact with two things:
1.Do great work.
2.Treat people well.
That’s something I learned early on from one of my mentors — he owns multiple businesses and employs a few hundred people. I remember, years ago, I was at his office to help him with some business stuff.
I asked, “what’sup?” He said that he had to fire someone. That’s one of the things he don`t like.
When I asked why, he didn’t really go into it (that’s also something I learned from him — never share personal details about conflicts you have with others), but he said something like:“Sometimes people pretend to be one way, but in truth, they are something else. But I believe that, in time, people will always show their true colors.”
The lesson I learned – Don’t be a fool!
I think that’s all you need to know about personal branding. The real ones in this world will always see through you. Trust me. I’ve seen it many times.
People get hired and pretend they are hardworking, honest, and loyal employees. But after a year or so, they start playing politics and double-crossing people.
You hire a freelancer or consultant, and they don’t do what they promised, they lie, or even rip you off. That kind of stuff happens constantly every day.
That is the reason, if you want to get to the top, people don’t look at a fucking profile pic or a set of tweets to judge your reputation.
“Has this person done good work?”
“How does this person treat people?”
But no, we prefer to pretend that we can have the reputation without working. “Just edit your profile pic and you’ll have an awesome personal brand.”
That belief is true for people who are just starting out and people who are experienced. And I get it — we like the idea of control.
But in general, we’re simply lying to ourselves. We feel the pressure of today`s world. Everything is extremely visible. We see young founders in the press who’ve made it big with their one year old startups.
We look at how fast technology advances and we feel undermined at our job.
It’s a culture based on appearances, that says: “As long as I appear essential from the outside, I probably am.”
Recently I noticed that one of childhood friends was very active on social media. He was posting a lot of stuff to let people know he has a business with ten employees. He also posted about their new company website.
You know how he described himself in his bio? As a “wunderkind.”
Are you seriously calling yourself a miracle? That’s completely delusional.
Especially if you haven’t proved that you are that valuable. And even then, calling yourself a “wunderkind” is just so weird.
Reputation is a paradox
People who don’t effectively work on their personal brands generally have excellent personal brands.
Every time you’re trying to craft a cool looking Instagram pic, or a funny Facebook post, just know this: No one cares.
So you might as well do what you like. Stay genuine. And if people don’t like the real you—who cares? The world is big enough for you to find people who do like you that will value you.
When you do that, you will also be consistent. When you fake it, after a while, it becomes difficult to monitor your own “brand.”
“Who was I again?” When you battle to stay consistent, it’s time to become genuine.
Do the work that is necessary. Become great at what you do. And you will see that a reputation will follow the same path.
I honestly think that if you stop working on your personal brand, you’ll improve much more in the long-term.
Rather than working on your social profile, going to meaningless networking events, or appearing to be busy at work, do actual work.
Ant of course, that’s hard. So you don’t have to say that it’s easier said than done. And it’s also a lot less rewarding than writing a delusional bio.
When you make your personal blog or profile, it’s tempting to edit a better picture compared to reality.
And I understand that — we live in a fictional world. People invent stories all the time. And we love them. That’s why we’re addicted to movies and tv-shows.
Everything comes down to this: Reputation is something external. Character is the inner equivalent.
It’s so much more important what you think of yourself. I just love how, John Wooden, the basketball coach, said it: “Be more concerned with character than reputation. Character is what you are, reputation is what people think you are.”
I give zero fucks what people think of me. But I can’t live with myself if I hate who I am. And at this moment, I like who I’m becoming.
So always pay attention to your inner character. Not your reputation. When you do that, you will find that your reputation mimics your character in time. And that’s exactly what you want.