“Presence comes before presentation and when all the presentation is gone what remains is your presence” – Lovemore Nyatsine Founder of Seedbed Consulting
OVER the last few months I have been involved with personal brand coaching with clients in different parts of the world. One thing that is so clear is that without self awareness and insight of individual strengths, it is not possible to position your personal brand effectively. I counsel most of my clients to spend some considerable time on identifying their strengths. The reason for doing so is because 60% of personal branding is making sure you are certain in knowing what makes you unique in strengths. If you jump into merely positioning your personal brand, you risk much in there being a disconnect between who you say you are and who you really are. And, as we know, reputations take life times to build and moments to destroy. I take personal branding seriously because it is about an individual’s purpose and unique value proposition.
Personal branding is not about ‘packaging’ you, but is about accentuating you as the package.
There are categories of strengths which you must build your personal brand around:
Your Personal Best or Natural Strengths
Your personal best is what comes naturally to you. Some people have natural strengths, one such person is Bishop TD Jakes who is naturally charismatic, poetic and a powerful minister of the word. You cannot ‘package’ Bishop TD Jakes, he is the package already. When it comes to matters of the pulpit, he is a natural. He has the presence. So do you. You only need to identify the area in which you have natural strengths. Presence comes before presentation and when all the presentation is gone what remains is your presence. Your personal best is the right to be yourself through your unique talent and personality. To have a presence in life you need to identify your personal best. Life is like a stage, and you are an actor each with a unique part to play. Life is like an orchestra or symphony, and there is a part which only you can sing.
“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete” – Jack Welch
These are the skills that are stronger than your competitors or peers. This kind of strength is due to your striving instincts or conative strengths. You have energy tanks which fuel your passions and gives you energy to compete – stand out of the crowd. If I am placed in a situation where I have to compete, I default to my competitive strengths (striving instinct) of innovation. I break all the rules and start to create my own. This is how I compete. I also have a friend who when placed in a similar situation gathers all the facts first, follows the rules and is methodical. At the end of the day we both achieve results but we use methods which play to our different strengths.
Years ago when Muhammad Ali faced George Foreman in the “Rumble in The Jungle” his competitive strength was around his mantra ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’. He would dance around his boxing opponent using his speed and agility. On the other hand Foreman used his massive built and weight to absorb punches. In short Ali’s competitive strength was agility while Foreman’s was absorption. What is your own competitive strength in life? Taking a defensive position in life or taking an offensive position?
These are the strengths which do not only make you compete but also stand out from the rest. It’s the kind of strengths which give you naming rights for your industry, profession or sport for example Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffet), King of Pop (Michael Jackson), Father Zimbabwe ( Joshua Nkomo ) and Father of African telecoms (Miko Rwayitare). You need to do something different with a difference in order to make a difference. This can apply to the student at Goto High school in Zimbabwe, the driver of a matatu (commuter taxi) in the slums of Kibera (Kenya), the trader on the streets of Sururele (Lagos, Nigeria), the bankers on Wall Street (USA) or the miners at Debswana in Botswana. The greatest call you have upon your life is to make a positive difference. You are distinctively different in order to execute a special assignment which only you can do.
Real success does not just come from playing to your strengths. It comes from self awareness and adaptability. If you overplay strength, it can soon become a weakness. In our personal brand coaching programmes we emphasise self awareness and self insight in order to set you up to play the game of life with skill and panache.