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Pieces of me

I’ve recently started back at work after the birth of my son Finn on 12.1.21 (yes, the coolest birthday ever!) I’ve been enjoying the time off (well, different pace of life) with my family and getting to know this gorgeous little human. 

Recently I was speaking with a friend about how everything was going with my motherhood journey. And she asked “so how are you finding your new identity?”

I really struggled with this subject during my pregnancy. The “role” and “title” of mother and the “new identity” kept coming up in conversation. I felt very fearful for a lot of my pregnancy about losing myself I’d heard so many women had felt they had lost their identity during their transition to motherhood. I also really struggled with this concept of new role and identity as it felt like I had to leave behind ALL of my old self and my old life and I would somehow become a new person. I just couldn’t get on board with that.

My work is built around helping people to connect with who they really are. I truly believe that you are who you are, always. Uniquely you. But over the years it can get lost under a mound of roles, titles, expectations, opinions and outsider views. You lose that connection to the authentic you and it can be hard to see yourself clearly. 

So of course, I was going to fight fiercely to defend and hold onto the person I was. And the person I am. I struggled and pushed and rallied against this new role, even pushing away the “mum” title and rejecting it. Because I felt like it was going to take over my life and my identity, I wasn’t able to see at the time how this role and identity could fit. I wanted to have a family and I wanted so much to have this little person join my world, but I didn’t want to lose myself!

However, as I spoke to this friend, I realised that this new role was integrating into my life. I said to her that motherhood was now a piece of me. And there are many pieces of me. There’s my work of course, there’s my family, my friends, my passions, my travel (a big part), my experiences and so much more. This journey and this new piece is a pretty massive one, arguably one of the biggest additions I’ll ever add into the picture, but it’s still a piece of me. 

I said that I see it as a puzzle. We are all a beautiful puzzle with many many pieces. Without all the pieces, you can’t see the complete picture. Sometimes we lose pieces (check between the sofa cushions). Sometimes we get pieces muddled or in the wrong order. Sometimes there are so many pieces, we don’t know how to bring it all together and get a clear view. But it’s important to know that it’s only when we have all those pieces together, that we get to see the whole and beautiful picture as it’s meant to be.

Motherhood is another piece of the Emma puzzle. I am still me. I am first and foremost Emma. Of course, I’m still integrating this change and navigating this journey (and will do for the rest of my life really) but I’m very much enjoying this additional piece and adding it into the bigger picture.

And you lovely one, are a beautiful puzzle. A combination of hundreds of pieces coming together to make up the full picture. But perhaps you have just misplaced a few pieces – I can help you find them!

Your personal brand is made up of all these pieces. It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you. It is the telling of your story, and how it reflects your conduct, behaviour, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes.

It’s what makes you, you!

So, is it time to put the pieces of you together so we can all see the beautiful picture?

 
 
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Your Personal Brand is your greatest asset

It’s true! Nothing is more powerful than you when it comes to your professional life. And you are your personal brand. It’s in you, already! I promise! But without sharing it or consistently showing up as your authentic self, others won’t get to experience it and you’re losing out on an amazing opportunity for connection.

 

So let me reframe it to give some perspective. Your personal brand is like your business card. It’s what people see when they think or talk about you or when you walk into a room. It’s the lasting impression you leave. When you hand out your business card, you are saying “this is a summary of who I am and what I’m about”. Your personal brand should do the same!

 

Like business cards, personal brands require maintenance and a refresh every so often. You might have changed your work situation, location or simply want a new look and feel – so you go and update your business card. But are you doing the same with your personal brand? Are you continuously sharing you as you progress and develop?

 

Being clear on who you are and how you present that to the world means that you’re ever evolving self will continue to be at the forefront. Although you’re fundamentally, always you, things in your life do change and what you want for your life certainly can. You may have connections who met you years ago, who could greatly help you with where you are now. But they don’t know what you want, where you’re going or what you’re doing – if you do not share it. Whether you are putting a message out there or not, those connections are forming an opinion of you. So it’s important to take control of the story and lead the conversation. 

 

Being in control of your story is what personal branding is all about. You’re ensuring that the world is up to date with who you are professionally, and of course personally. When you’re in control you can ensure that your greatest asset (YOU) is presented how you want it to be received – just like a business card. 

 

The great thing about this is that you have total control over the design! I’ve worked with clients in times of transition to help them update their messaging, step into who they are now and share that with the world. 

 

One of the best tips I can share when it comes to networking is to present yourself how YOU want to be seen on your business card. The more specific the better. Because this is your story and what you choose to tell people, is what they will believe! The same is true for your personal brand – if you want to be seen a certain way, position yourself in that way and then show up!

 

You wouldn’t hand someone an old business card, so why would you share an outdated view of yourself. Is it time to focus on your brand?




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Personal Brand vs Business Brand

The difference between business brand and personal brand

So, this is a common question I get asked about business brands versus personal brands. 

And the conversation comes up more for people who are in small business or freelancers or sole traders. Whether to invest in creating a brand around a business name and the business persona, or whether to invest in promoting yourself. 

Now, the schools of thought have changed over the years and certainly when I started my business in 2009, it felt that you needed a business name to be taken seriously. So the business had a name and the brand and the logo. 

Personally I didn’t have a website for the first few years, but I was told those were the things you needed to start. And so a lot of people did do that and spent time and effort and energy creating a brand. 

Well, the challenging thing is then how do you talk about yourself under that brand as the business owner? And how do you talk about the business is it is it we do this and we do that as “we” Lovelly Communications?

The speaking about the business as a “we” was probably more with a growth mindset of I am going to grow the business and I’m going to have more people in the business. Well then yes, of course, it would be a way and maybe you talk about yourself in third person, “Our director does x, y and z”.

However, the challenging part of it is that you can go one of two ways. You can either end up separating yourself and talking about yourself in third person so much that you’re not really able to identify yourself with the business. The other situation that happens often is that people infuse so much of themselves and get so entwined as a person with the business that the business almost ends up overtaking who they are. And they feel so intrinsically linked to the business that if they ever did want to sell it, close it or leave it, there’s a challenge in that separation. They’re  so involved and so tied to the business, personally, that that’s a lot of the brand equity in their name and persona and the brand strength lies with that person. That becomes a real risk. 

So let’s look at a case study of this and a way that I feel it’s been done really well. And that is Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin group.

Sir Richard Branson - The ultimate personal brand

So Richard Branson is certainly my #1 example when it comes to personal brand. If you ask most people to describe Richard Branson, they’re going to come up with the same few words. He is engaging, he is outgoing, he is an entertainer and his brands are fun. And that’s because Richard Branson himself is all of those things.

But you know, also Virgin, the company has taken on those elements without having Richard be there all the time and always be so involved. So, yes, he turns up on a plane every so often, or he goes up to the, you know, originally Virgin Records or Virgin Mobile and rocks up to do some PR. But he isn’t necessarily involved day to day and those brands run on their own. They run independently of him. 

He is still Richard Branson, and they have their own brand. He is the founder and they sit separately. So he infused Virgin with his personal brand without overshadowing it or overtaking it and needing to be so intrinsically linked to it. He can still be himself, he can still live his own life and pursue his own interests, including writing books and doing speaking engagements and things like that without the brand of Virgin being necessarily impacted. 

Back to the question! Personal or Business?

Building a brand is both a time and a monetary investment and you need to decide, where do you want to put your money? 

Where do you want to put that time? 

What do you want to invest in?

Ultimately, the thing that’s going to be continuing and everlasting in your life is your brand. It’s you! 

So working on that foundation, spending the time and the energy, the effort to get back to and reconnect to who you are, and to present your unique self, that’s going to help you to have better connections. And ultimately, when people are working with you, it’s because of you. 

It’s not because of flashy business names and a great branding color scheme. Yes that might attract them initially, but it’s you and the strengths and the skills that you bring that have grown your business and will continue to. 

So infusing your brand with those elements of yourself, pulling out what you want that brand to stand for, and building that up so that it can stand on its own. Pick the characteristics, the strengths that you possess and make those the branding guidelines of your business. Educate and encourage your staff to take that on, but you get to remain unique with your life experiences as well as those combinations of traits. They are independent of one another, yet aligned! 

Really, the time and energy investment is on you and making sure that your brand is strong, your brand is clear and your brand is consistent.. It’s ensuring that when you are engaging with people, they feel connected. They feel connected to you. They want to work with you. 

So, the long answer to a short question is, you do need to work on your personal brand. I feel that  is where the strength lies. And know that from doing this foundational personal development work on yourself, it will become clearer how to communicate your business brand.