I’ve given my blog a face lift. Nothing major, just needed to make some tweaks so that it felt more like me. I’ve also dropped “Practicing HR” from the title. That title seemed like a great idea when I originally created the blog, but it never quite fit. Why the changes? That bears a little explanation.
One thing that has always been amazing to me is how easy it is to help others through your expertise, but how challenging it can be to use the same expertise on yourself. As a sales recruiter, I was continually shocked by how inept successful, professional sales people were at selling themselves when it came time to look for another job. Give them a product to sell, they can go make it happen. But when it came time to sell themselves, they lost their mojo.
In the same way, I advise others on personal branding and communicating their value clearly, but haven’t been doing a great job applying that same advice to my own personal brand. This isn’t to say that my brand was a complete mess, but it clearly needed some work.
If you are reading this post, you probably know that I have a multi-faceted career. I am an HR executive leader for a Midwestern bank where I do the good work of corporate human resources with my team on a daily basis. I’m also a blogger (but you clearly already knew that). I am a professional speaker and writer with my partner in crime Joe Gerstandt over at TalentAnarchy.com
. And, I am an advocate and crusader for the transformation of human resources as a profession (note HRReinvention.com
as an example of this work). All of these pursuits share something in common: me and my passion for understanding and unleashing talent to transform people and organizations. I do a lot of stuff, but it’s still the same guy pursuing the same purpose.
So, what caused me to realize that I needed to do some work on my brand? First, I met and became friends with Jason Seiden
. For those of you who don’t know him, he does a lot of great work helping people live better stories. He is a coach and an entrepreneur. He does a lot of stuff including having written a couple of great books
(which I have read and encourage you do the same). Jason is awesome and he has a knack for asking the questions that matter. At one point this year, I was sitting with Jason in a hotel bar in Chicago having a drink and he asked me a simple question, “What do you stand for?” I game him an answer. He looked me in the eye and asked, “Do you actually believe that is b*llsh*t?” He was absolutely right. I didn’t really know the answer. How could it be that I wasn’t clear on what I stood for? So, I started working on getting clear.
Later in the year, I was introduced to Carol Ross
. In our introductory phone conversation, Carol and I got to talking about social media and LinkedIn. We also somehow ended up talking about the power of storytelling. Ultimately, Carol told me about a process that she and a colleague had developed to help people create a compelling LinkedIn profile. I was interested to hear about the process, but didn’t think I personally needed it. But when I gave it a deeper look, I decided I needed to give it a shot. It ended up being about an 8-10 hour investment of time over several weeks, but by the end of the process, I felt like I could finally tell a story both in my new LinkedIn profile
, but also just in general about what I stand for and what I am here to do. (If you are so inclined, I’d love your feedback on my new profile. If you like the end product, I encourage you to buy the kit from Carol’s website here
–it’s worth every penny.).
Carol’s process wasn’t just about my LinkedIn profile, it was really a way to define my brand in a way that I couldn’t before. Once completed, it led me to make changes to my blog and elsewhere in my social media footprint.
So, what did I learn through this process?
- Personal brand is about knowing and telling your story. Sounds easy, it’s not. But, it’s worth the time to get it right.
- Even if you think you can write your own story, get some help. It’s really hard to be both clear and concise when telling your own story. Use tools and others to help you refine it.
- Naming my blog anything other than with my own name was a mistake. People reference my posts by my name, so why not use that as a title?
- Getting your story clear is really rewarding and empowering.
- It’s great to know really smart people like Jason Seiden and Carol Ross who will challenge you to get better, to be better and to do better. (Thank you to you both.).
Probably a lot more explanation than you wanted or needed. My hope is that something in my journey might be helpful to you as well.
Happy New Year!