At any point in your career have you felt like there was very little about what you did in and out of your job that was truly in your control? If so, in this episode of the Personal Branding Exposed podcast I got to talk with Andy Storch, founder of the Talent Development Think Tank and author of a book titled “Own Your Career, Own Your Life”, which has an entire chapter dedicated to personal branding. Naturally, I just needed to have him over for a chat, and see what potentially life-changing advice he could provide. Here’s how that went:
Own Your Career Own your Life
Andy’s book is a comprehensive guide on how you can take a more active role in your professional and personal life, to have it be a consequence of your choices and not that of others, and when asked about what motivated him to write “Own Your Career, Own Your Life”, this is what he had to say:
“The reason why I wrote this book is that I have worked in a corporate space for more than a decade, and I’ve seen so many people out there kind of drifting in their career, operating in reaction mode, waiting for their boss or someone to bring something to them or tell them to do something and I wanted to wake people up and say ‘hey, nobody cares more about your career than you do, you’ve gotta take ownership, you’ve gotta take the initiative if you wanna make a change.”
How often do you not see people who believe themselves to be only a tool in a corporate process, a gear that only moves when prompted by another? This is not only a very limiting way to approach your work, but it tends to lead towards an awful deal of frustration as well.
Why Personal Branding Matters
In this shift from passivity to taking a more active role at the forefront of your career, Andy highlights the important role personal branding takes in being more deliberate in the workplace:
“Whether we are intentional with it or not, we all have a brand, we all have a reputation it’s kind of introducing people, especially in the corporate space, it’s that idea that you do have a brand and you can be intentional about impacting that, from how you show up at the office to the way you interact with people, the types of projects you take on, how much you work, to how cooperative you are and fun to work with, to what you put out there online, right if you are able to post things on LinkedIn or on Social media.”
Now, as someone that has hired people for their likability factor and actually put them on the first contact with clients for that factor, I can completely attest to this. It will matter very little that you are extremely capable as a professional if you are not nice to be around.
That doesn’t mean you have to construct a false image, I’ve talked about this mistake with Aaron Hunt before, but you can make sure that people always see the best of what you have to offer.
Much like in my talk with Dr. Yishai, Andy’s book also touched lightly on the subject of leadership and how you can be your own leader:
“ A lot of this is about being a leader in leading yourself, it’s about not waiting for others. I think a true leader is someone who makes everyone around them better, enables people around them to do their job, rather if you are a manager, managing people it’s your job to enable your people to get their jobs done. Or, if you are an individual contributor, you can be a leader who helps the people around you get their jobs done better, and that can include you as well, being a leader of yourself. I believe strong leadership starts with self-leadership.”
I love this concept of being your own leader. It touches on a really important quality necessary for a strong personal brand: Initiative. If you are going to enact any form of change in your life you need this ability to command yourself into doing it, otherwise you fall into the passivity of waiting for the opportunity to fall from the sky.
The Power of Mindset
Something that I really liked about Andy is that he was one of the few men I’ve seen who is not ashamed to talk about mindset when we were discussing why so many people hesitate to take the reins in their own life.
So often the limitations for what we want to do exist only in our head, due to our self-doubt or other dysfunctional mindsets, of which Andy Gave two great examples:
“A lot of people operate with a victim mindset, they think life happens to them, they don’t control their situation ‘I can’t leave this job, because it’s the only job I have and I have a family to support’ and that sort of thing. […] And then the second piece is about fear. So many people that are unhappy in their jobs are so afraid of the unknown that they never make a change ‘I don’t like my boss, I don’t like the company, I don’t like the culture, I’d really love to do something else one day, but I’m afraid of what might happen. What if my family judges me and thinks I’m not making a good decision, what if my friends laugh at me when something goes wrong’, and I think that fear holds a lot of people back.”
So often we fool ourselves into believing that the things in life that frustrate us are beyond our control, more often than not because we know that the road to a better place entails its own risks. Yet, by taking control of our lives and careers and venturing through this path we find ourselves stronger at the end of the journey. In this journey, personal branding can be a valuable tool to have around, so if you would like to learn how to use it, feel free to contact me through any of my social media or subscribe to my LinkedIn personal branding program.