I have a piece of information that has completely changed the way I carry myself, and I want to share it with YOU! Are you an artist, baker, social media influencer, doctor, or a banker? Whether you’re applying for your first job, or have been in the same industry for many years, an intern or a director, I have a secret to share with you: we are all our own CEO’s. You don’t need to be an influencer to define your personal brand (CEO of Y.O.U.), in fact, I think it’s important for us all to do. When defining your own personal brand, you become the asset, and the product or service you’re marketing is your unique set of skills. Although, it’s very difficult to accurately market yourself if you don’t know who you are or where you’re going. Here are a few steps I’ve taken in defining my own personal brand that I hope are helpful for you too!
Be Confidently YOU. The first step to being your own CEO is understanding who you want to be and where you want to go. The best leaders of today understand that if they aren’t moving forward, they are probably drifting backwards. A big part of moving forward is understanding your personal goals, your dreams, and the skills you need to develop in order to get you there. Here are some ways I think we can propel ourselves forward each day and get that much closer to fulfilling those big dreams:
Define your vision. It may seem silly, but take some time to dream big and create a vision board for your personal and professional life. Where do you want to be in 2 months, 1 year, 5 years or even 10 years? What skills do you want to develop? What kind of job do you want to have? Defining your vision helps you visualize what direction you want to move in. It also helps some goals that seem unattainable become a realistic step in your future.
Take action. Now that you’ve defined your vision, it’s time to take action. No one ever reached their dreams or became a CEO without a plan and solid action steps. It may be as simple as sitting down to brainstorm next steps. It may be applying for that dream job or updating your resume. Do some research on creating that business plan and start the process. No matter what that next step forward is for you, as Zig Zigglar once said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Set goals. Now that you’ve taken action and are moving forward, it’s time to set specific goals! Who you are in five years could have a direct correlation between the choices you make today. I like to set small, attainable goals instead of big, scary ones that seem out of reach. If I set smaller, attainable goals, I find it easier to gain the confidence, and skills along the way, to continue on the road to reaching those bigger goals.
Don’t put yourself in a box. You’re not defined by your job title, you’re not confined by your job description, and you are certainly not defined by who you are not. I’ve found that people most often rise to the occasion when you give them more trust and more ownership. It’s those employees or leaders that choose to put in the extra mile, stay a bit later to take on more than a job description entails, that truly stand out. Your job description or title may not be where you want to be, but it doesn’t mean you can’t start developing those skills for your dream job now. You have the ability to learn, grow and most of all define your own self or brand. Start thinking through who you want to be, what role you want to fill, and start living it out where you are right now.
Provide Value. What do you do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, and distinctive value? What have you done lately — this week — to make yourself stand out? If you’re the boss of your own brand, you want your brand to stand out for your strengths and abilities. How are you utilizing your strengths to bring value to your team, your company, or even your family? Figure out what you’re good at, what areas you bring value to and make sure to do those things with excellence. A good CEO knows that while we’re always learning and growing, we don’t need to waste our time on honing in on our weak areas. Instead, spend time developing the skills where you excel.
Overall, don’t wait for the right time, right moment or right opportunity to take the first step in creating who or what you envision to be. There will most likely be new challenges and obstacles to overcome along the way. We have today guaranteed, so make it count.