One of my dear friends, Kaplan Mobray, published The 10Ks of Personal Branding in 2009 and has taken his concepts to America’s people through national newscasts, college campuses, big business, board rooms, and national conventions. He’s taken the message to the streets in an effort to help executives, students, athletes, and many others expand their personal and professional presence in the world. To celebrate his five-year journey from the first campus presentation of the 10Ks to becoming a best-selling author and motivational speaker, I’m examining the concept of personal branding and going through the 10K process and sharing it here. Please share your personal 10K evaluation through comments and discussion alongside me on each of the postings in this ten week series.
The first and primary element in developing your personal brand is having an intimate knowledge of yourself.
Said differently, before you can help the world know the most critical things about you, you have to know what they are yourself. When I was a professional recruiter, I interviewed a lot of really smart people. However, the simplest of all questions is the one most people fell apart answering: “Tell me about yourself.” I suspect you are more comfortable talking about your kid, your life partner, your job, your sister’s best friend, your neighbor’s brother, your dog…anyone but yourself. After all, it’s unnatural to “brag”. In fact, it’s rude in our culture.
I grew up with a strong value for working hard and getting things done and I approached my work from the beginning with those values in mind. Unfortunately, in the early years of my professional career, my ability to get things done (operations) overshadowed my extraordinary abilities to think strategically, communicate articulately with enthusiasm, and generate creative ideas. Have you ever tried to change the way someone sees you? Once someone views you as a worker-bee, it’s highly unlikely that person will ever see you as a queen bee, regardless of whether you’re the head-of-hive or tending someone else’s. In a world where professional sponsors are critical to career progress, it’s wise to ensure that others see the best you have to offer so they can champion you and position you for roles that will spotlight your highest values and strongest skills. Indeed, while it might be considered rude to promote yourself to some, the fact is that others think of us in response to our behaviors and we have control over our behaviors.
While I personally feel uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion, it is only wise to remain cognizant that each choice I make results in the way others see me. Here’s how I think of it: A personal brand, or reputation, is quite a lot like strong perfume. Others sense it before I arrive and it lingers long after I’ve left the room. What others say about me before I show up and after I leave comprises my reputation and those conversations are largely based on choices I make. Therefore, my objective is to build a reputation that speaks pleasantly of me (creating opportunities, even) and doesn’t give others a headache.
A few things I know about myself
I’m Brigette Bustos. My friends call me “BB” or “Birdie”. I am a professional communicator, event planner, writer, and relationship enthusiast. I’m an emerging athlete and naturalist. I articulate ideas and emotions with acute clarity and colorful imagery. I draw order of chaos and sketch relationships in the spaces where people’s differences are accentuated. I’m loyal, dedicated, nostalgic, energetic, encouraging, and honest which makes me successful at building relationships resulting in collaborative success at work, in my community, at church, and within my family. Some of my areas of significant knowledge, skill, and interest include diversity, corporate inclusion initiatives, and relationship development. I believe media plays an immense role in finding and celebrating common ground and elevates our collective ability to understand and celebrate humanity.
I’ve asked six of my closest friends to describe me. Tune in next week for the results of the survey (or submit your own ideas in a comment below!).