Leadership, Personal Branding, Tips

Your Personal Brand

Personal Branding: What is it? Why Care?

A personal brand says who you are, what you are known for, and what you have to offer. Why should you care about personal branding? Whether you are a professional, a college student, in high school, or seeking employment – your personal brand matters. You own it, you control it, and you should care!

• Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Instagram?

• Do you have an Apple device at home (iPhone, iPad)?

If you answer “Yes” – you are online, which means you already have a Personal Brand.

That means whether you like it or not, the digital footprints you’re leaving across the Internet are your personal brand. Those digital footprints are always there and never go away!

By being aware and proactive, you can manage that brand but by being reactive and unaware, it gets managed for you.

So how can you start managing your personal brand? Let me share some food for thought:

Tip # 1: Be aware of what you share!
• If you post something online, accept the fact that it never goes away
• Even if you’re careful to limit your posts to particular groups, the fact remains that the post is online
• When you apply to a college, the admissions officers will review your social profiles
• Understand that when you apply for a job as a forty year old, what you posted as a teenager could come back to haunt you

Tip # 2: The details matter!
• With personal branding, every little thing matters. Think about your email address. People will need to contact you so select an email address accordingly.
• If you have an unfavorable email address, get a new one to use for college admissions and job applications
• Check your voicemail greeting too!

Tip #3: Create a Positive Online Presence
• Keep your posts and status updates positive.
• Think twice before you share those dislikes with the entire world.
• Social media should not be a venting mechanism.

Tip #4: Be self-aware
• Seek feedback to be more aware they are about how you are representing yourself
• Act on the feedback provided

Tip #5: Deliver Your Brand
• Do the simple things such as following through on promises, returning phone calls, and showing up on time

The main point of developing a personal brand is to differentiate yourself from others. No longer just important for the college graduate looking for their first professional job. The competition for admission to colleges is getting more difficult. Personal branding is a lifelong effort, and high school is the perfect time to start. Personal branding begins with educational experiences (both inside and outside of the classroom), interests, hobbies, skills, and community involvement.

Throughout your educational journey and your career your brand will continue to grow, strengthen, and evolve ….. What is your personal brand?

Challenges, Empowering Women, Family, Tips, Work/Life Balance, Working Women

Recharging Your Batteries!

Just having returned from a much needed vacation, I had some time to reflect on recharging and unplugging from the demands of my career. 

This vacation was not a sit at the beach and chill vacation. Rather we took a family vacation (all 9 of us) to Disney World. We were up early, on the go, and busy all day long. But it was a great break from the busyness of work! Being detached from work and being present for every moment of the trip brought me such joy and true happiness. After a vacation (no matter what the vacation is) there is no doubt that I return to work recharged, refreshed, and re-energized. Time away from the demands of work relieves stress and prevents burnout!

I am confident that I returned to work with a reinvigorated passion that will improve my work performance. I have some fabulous memories of my time away with my family and I know that I earned (and deserved) the break. I know that vacations to Disney aren’t always possible but there are many other ways to reenergize and recharge yourself. Walking, working out, reading a book, visits to family, lunch with a friend, going to the movies, a cup of tea – are all ways to PAUSE and take a break from the demands of work. It is so important to recharge and replenish your personal energy supply – it not only increases your mental health, but your physical health as well. 

Take a moment for yourself – you deserve it! Plan vacations or other ways to recharge your batteries!

Challenges, Confidence, Tips

Perfectionism: The obstacle to personal and professional success

Are you a perfectionist?  

• The project has to be perfect – the first time

• You go on a diet and it’s all or nothing – all of the time

• Start an exercise program – every day and can’t miss a day

• If you get a grade less than an A – your world falls apart

• Your presentation goes off track – you consider it a failure

The above are all signs of perfectionism. Being a perfectionist doesn’t mean you are perfect!

Perfectionism is about being hypercritical and judgmental of yourself. People with perfectionist tendencies minimize their best efforts – which are typically very good – and we blame our lapses on character defects – not good enough, not smart enough, not focused enough.

Perfectionists live with a report card or measure of success graph all the time!

Striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards can help one achieve one’s goals – however with no flexibility or ability to adapt when things aren’t perfect can cause one to give up and be self-critical to a point where goals disappear and innovation gets stifled.

Cures for the perfectionist? I found these in a leadership book and thought I would share. I keep them at my desk for a gentle reminder that No one is perfect!

1. Acknowledge and cultivate the part of you that sees yourself as as “good enough.”

2. Make a list of your good personal and professional qualities.

3. Pay attention to your “all or nothing” thinking and remind yourself that you don’t need to be the best in everything in order to be respected.

4. Try to be less critical of other people, and treat them with patience and compassion.

5. Participate in some activities that aren’t competitive by nature – volunteer, community work, practice being a member of a team vs. the driver of a team.

Be forgiving of yourself! After all, you are not perfect and you were never meant to be perfect. Life is all about learning from your opportunities and growing into the best you that you can be.

Empowering Women, Working Women

The Things That Matter

I was recently asked to discuss what I believe are some of the tangible things that matter to the women I work with. It’s such an interesting question because I believe that different things matter at different stages in your career and your life.

Here are my thoughts on the things that matter:

• Equal opportunity for professional development/career development (mentor/ sponsors)
• Being at “the table” and having a valued voice at the table
• Work-life balance for educational pursuits, volunteerism, and family
• A culture of innovation and change
• Transformation that creates opportunities for everyone to contribute and to build their career
• A trusting and supportive management team
• A place where smart people feel completely comfortable taking the right risks
• A robust culture of inclusion that is not just a one-time program or initiative but rather built into the fabric of the organization
• Mentorship and sponsorship of women, including men as mentors/sponsors
• Transparent feedback and coaching
• Leadership development programs with a focus on networking essentials, executive presence, confidence, and self-promotion
• High profile projects outside the scope of current position

Here are some key steps women can take to navigate their career and their life according to their blueprint for success. Build relationships and networks, gather mentors and trusted advisors, be open to possibility, ask for feedback and take the action, and know what is important to you as you balance your work and your life.

As we close out Women’s History Month and I reflect on my career and my life – I believe we have come such a long way as women in the workplace. We have found our voices, ensured that the right infrastructure exists so we can be successful, and there are many more of us breaking through glass ceilings and ensuring equal pay. And we are talking about these things without concern or fear. We do all of this knowing that the journey continues and there is still much work to be done.

My favorite thought (that I share over and over) is that we have paved the way and continue to do so in order for the next generation of women to have better access, equal access, better opportunities, equal opportunities, pay equity, and so that the future is a future of inclusion and parity. Each of us can do our part by paying it forward, lifting others, and reaching out to the next generation to make the next phase of the journey easier. The work is not done – there is still much to do!