“But why?!” Do you remember saying this to your mom? I think I asked the question about a dozen times before I realized Mom was going to reply with the same response every time: “I don’t answer the question, ‘Why?'”
I remember friends inviting me to do things and if I told them my mom said no, they’d ask why not. I told them they should ask her directly. Every time, she responded, “I don’t answer the question, ‘Why?'” After some time, the answer ‘no’ from my mom was viewed as a definite answer and not an invitation to negotiate. I sometimes even used her as an excuse to not do things I didn’t want to do. My friends knew that if I said Mom’s response was no, then that’s where the conversation ended. Brigette’s mom does not answer the question, “Why?”
My mom was (and is) the most consistent parent I’ve ever observed in every way I can conceive. She rarely wavered which ultimately gave me comfortable boundaries, a sense of safety, and a confidence in her that I have in no one else on the planet, a confidence and trust that remains intact to this very day.
In our exploration of the 10Ks of Personal Branding, Kaplan Mobray tells us that one must know how to be consistent. Indeed, consistency in behavior isn’t always easy, but it is the most trustworthy expression of the person inside because consistency translates to authenticity. In the case of my mom, she is authentically the most reliable, loving, generous, steadfast person I know because she’s proven it to me thousands of times throughout my life with few deviations. I knew her voice, so to speak, because it’s consistent. I know her values because they are demonstrated consistently.
The same principle exists for building any part of your reputation, or personal brand, that you’re trying to develop. As it relates to your career, if you wish to be known as responsible, then responsibly you must behave over and over and over again. It’s in the repetition of the behaving responsibility that people believe you to be responsible. If you want others to view you as committed to diversity, then having a consistent voice on the topic whether with this crowd or that crowd is essential to developing a personal brand of being a person who values diversity. The examples are endless.
The other day, I was at Walmart and I couldn’t find anyone in the area to answer a question for me. I walked up and down several aisles looking for someone with the familiar Walmart name badge to direct my question to. After a few minutes, I saw a woman dressed in beige pants and a dark blue top. She was not wearing a name badge at all, but before I synthesized that information, I called out to her, “Do you work here?” She did, in fact, work for Walmart and was able to answer my question. You see, the value of consistency is that it trains others. I would not have asked a person wearing beige pants and and a red shirt if she worked at Walmart, although I might assume she worked at Target if I were at a Target store. You see, this principle exists corporately and can be used equally as effectively on a personal level.
When you think of any well-developed brand, the single most critical element (in my opinion) of how the brand is developed is the relentless consistency in how the brand is communicated. And, as with any other branded entity, you will be known for what you consistently communicate — visually, verbally, online, and offline.
In what ways are you very consistent in your life?