Flashback to 15 years ago and you’d find me at Kinko’s (now FedEx Office) making copies the day report cards were handed out.
Why? Because there were expectations to meet.
I was expected to stay on Honor Roll.
I was expected to deliver my report card immediately.
I was expected to be at my greatest, always.
As an International Baccalaureate (IB) or Gift & Talented student, sometimes I missed the mark. Which to a naïve teenager meant death! So on that day when I got a C+ in IB English, I did what only a scared and creative teenager would… I changed my report card.
And it worked! My mother never noticed and I was punishment-free for another quarter.
As unethical as it sounds, that’s what fear does when you’re trying to keep up perceptions of being perfect in other peoples’ eyes.
You start to twist other peoples’ expectations – like those of your boss, your spouse, and your friends – and interpret them as a bar you must achieve. Think about those times when your boss gave you that final assignment that you knew would push you into overwhelm. You graciously accepted because your boss “knew you were the go-to person for the job!” Can’t get caught slippin’, right?
As ambitious women, we all walk around with our perfectionist mask on – waiting to save the day! All the while, no one is saving us because we don’t need saving – we’re perfect!
Let’s be honest. That perfectionist mask is heavy, exhausting and ugly. It’s pretty and shiny on the outside but crying for authenticity underneath.
Your personal brand is not perfectionism.
It’s vulnerability and truth.
Your personal brand begins with taking off the mask and being with all of you. It’s those past stories that make you unique. It’s the lessons you’ve learned that make you valuable. It’s the voice you’ve nurtured that makes you attractive.
Your personal brand isn’t something you wear, it’s something you discover.
3 Ways to Discover Your Personal Brand
- Get real with the expectations in your life – When you try to meet others’ expectations you’re living an externally driven life. Your goal becomes about making other people happy instead of creating your internal happiness first. Take inventory of all the expectations in your life and notice whose happiness you’re trying to create.
- Empower the facts and change the stories – How you interpret the facts of your life will create the stories you base your life on. Practice only paying attention to the facts of a scenario and interpreting them from an empowering place that aligns with who you know yourself to be.
- Take off the perfectionist mask – Yes, I know. You were taught to keep “personal business private” but that also leaves you on an island without support. If you don’t, you’ll find it difficult to truly discover your authenticity because you’re trying to go at it alone – fearful of being vulnerable. Vulnerability is the one thing that connects us all as humans. Hire a coach to support you on your journey – all conversations are 100% confidential and we’re trained to ask the powerful questions that go beyond the mask.
On the surface, personal branding is simple. Who are you? That’s the personal part. How can it be packaged? That’s the branding part.
The challenge is going deeper, into the authentically vulnerable parts to truly discover what makes you uniquely human – not uniquely perfect.
Queirra Fenderson coaches ambitious women leaders to go from burnout to breakthrough. After transforming her own relationship with her ambition in life and work, she became an ICF certified coach to support women in creating their “impossible” life. Her clients experience huge shifts in their leadership, self-worth, balance and results in their careers and businesses. Ultimately, Queirra’s mission is to show women how to have more authentic achievements. Want to learn more on how to prevent burnout? Visit www.queirra.com/burnout-to-breakthough