When actor Steve Martin was asked in an interview to share what he considered the secret to success, he replied:
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
This sums up what it means to be a success on-line, and a true thought leader. Know what you’re good at, become great at it, and share it with the right people.
- What’s your unique expertise?
- What makes you different?
- What are you passionate about?
- What would you do for love, not money?
This is what makes up your personal brand. It’s not about your logo, your colour scheme, your business name or your catchy slogan. It’s about you.
People want you, not just your expertise. Increasingly, they’re searching Google for names of experts, not just a topic of interest. So you want people to be searching Google for your name, not just what you do – and they will, if you get clear and stand strong in your personal brand.
Even if you want your business to be known for its own name, not because you are the brains behind it, it’s still important to build a personal brand that drives the business.
So what’s behind your personal brand?
How would you answer these two questions?
- What do you keep doing well over and over again in your life?
- What do you keep doing badly over and over again in your life?
These two questions can help start you on the journey to finding your personal brand.
Poet Robert Frost put it like this, in his poem “Two Tramps in Mud Time”, which ends like this:
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.
So where do your passion (avocation) and work (vocation) unite? That’s the sweet spot for your thought leadership.
Both of these things are important. If you’re doing work that you don’t like – that doesn’t ignite you, that doesn’t turn you on – it will be difficult to follow through with it, and that will show to your customers and potential customers. And if you can’t turn your passion into work, you need to find some other way to make ends meet. Most people don’t find a way to “unite their avocation and their vocation”. But if you do, it’s the perfect combination!
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