Why a Spin Free Personal Brand is the Real Answer

There has been a lot of talk about personal branding. We live in a digital age, yes. We leave behind a digital footprint, yep. We need to take control of our online presence to stand out and excel in our careers, sure. What a lot of people are not talking about however is the fact a personal brand is not about spin or in other words pretending to be something you are not.

Seems a strange statement coming from a former celebrity publicist and someone who built her career representing one of the world’s leading supermodels, but it is the truth and I have never believed in spin.

The worst thing you can do is ‘think’ about what your personal brand ‘should’ be in order to stand out. You will only ever stand out when you are entirely true to yourself. To think through the process is to undoubtedly try to imitate others or even worse, hide behind corporate jargon because you think it makes you sound more intelligent. We are all human and it is that human ‘being-ness’ that connects us. Feeling your way through the process may prove to be more helpful.

Last year I consulted with a woman who is a heavyweight in the HR industry. She was taking a sabbatical out of sheer exhaustion after working on an international multi-billion dollar merger. The timeout allowed her to focus on creative projects that had been simmering away in the back of her consciousness. Of all things, she was writing a children’s book and came to me with the question of how to manage her personal brand going forward.

Up until the point of our meeting, she was quite content with keeping the two worlds separate. In one world she was a serious corporate woman to be taken seriously. In the other, she was a children’s author writing about star chasing and intergalactic adventures (it is an amazing book by the way!). Surely the two world’s could not coexist? Wrong.

Her question to me was – “What if I go back into the corporate world?”

My response- “Would you want to work for a company that didn’t embrace all of you?”

Eventually, we found the magic spot. That special place where all the things she loved, the things she was good at, her previous experience and the vision she had for the future, came together in spectacular fashion. It was not about turning her back on her corporate career or putting a spin on her profile, it was about finding a genuine place where all her worlds co-existed. Through purposeful reflection and inner questioning, she found her personal brand. It felt right.

I can hear you questioning my understanding of company social media policy and professional boundaries. Common sense must prevail and sure there needs to be a strategy in place. There has to be a balance, If your personal brand is too far removed from who you genuinely are as a person, are you in the right place, to begin with?

There is a certain magical quality to people who are unashamedly them self. Those who genuinely lead their lives with their heart and trust their intuition are in the best position to find their purpose. To live out the full expression of who you want to be is to give yourself the freedom to discover your real potential.

When it comes to building a personal brand, there are no rules. In fact, it is when you follow the rules, you are more than likely heading in the wrong direction.

There are plenty of smart and savvy ways to promote your brand once you have established it, but no one can tell you what your personal brand is. You have to find that yourself and in doing so create a world where you get to enjoy all aspects of yourself simultaneously. You get to be the real you. I see the greatest role I play with my clients, to ask questions and inspire them to find clarity from a deep place within. It is about seeking the truth rather than simply putting a spin on your online profile. Take the time to find your personal brand and create a life, not just a living.

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Why you should stop trying to belong and simply be who you are

Remember the popular group at school? 

There are only two possible memories you can have, you were either in the group or not. I was to some extent in the ‘in’ crowd, however, I never really felt I was where I belonged. I went on to leave school early and for much of my adult life, the same dynamic would play out time and time again.

Even throughout my career as an international celebrity publicist, part of the job was to be in the ‘in’ crowd, connect with the trendsetters and literally make the news. I was invited to parties, runway shows, and concerts. I traveled all over the world and had the opportunity to meet so many incredible individuals. I loved every moment of my role, however, I have to be honest and say once again, much of the time I questioned if I belonged.

Was there something wrong with me or was I trying to fit into the wrong place? I now realise that rather than trying to belong, the key is to become clear about what belongs in your life, to begin with.

This whole idea of belonging came up for me only the other day after I spent a precious hour of my life mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed. As I sat there unashamedly peering into the lives of friends, colleagues and complete strangers, I discovered a wonderful change that had taken place within me. It revealed itself after I saw a picture of a friend out at a bar with a group of girlfriends.

Let me put it into context, I don’t drink alcohol (yes not at all), so the idea of going to a bar is extremely unappealing to me. I am also quite introverted so I generally choose a one on one interaction over a group setting any day of the week and twice on Sunday. In my 20’s I would have questioned myself and made myself feel bad about the fact I was ‘different’; that I was ‘anti-social’ or ‘old before my time’. In my 30’s I celebrate who I am and relish in the one on one time I have with my nearest and dearest friends. Yes I want to spend most of my time barefoot in nature and no there is nothing wrong with going to bed at 9.30pm.

In her book ‘Daring Greatly’, Brene Brown puts it like this “true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance”.

The truth is, there is no such thing as the ‘in’ crowd, furthermore, anyone who believes they are in the ‘in’ crowd is actually in a prison of their own making. For in order to be part of a ‘group’ you generally have to think the same, do the same and even look the same. It is why I have always tried my best not to wear what is ‘on trend’ or partake in needing to ‘be seen’ in all the right places. There is no point trying to belong somewhere if you need to be someone else in order to fit in. There is true freedom and lightness when rather than seeking to belong, you actively choose what belongs in your life. In the wise words of George Harrison, ‘My life belongs to me, my love belongs to those who can see it’.

I now realise that when I am true to myself, I attract the people and opportunities that are right for me. I no longer feel the need to belong anywhere or to anyone because I belong to myself. The people in my life love me just the way I am, just as I love them the way they are. There is someone and something for everyone in this world, there is no need to pretend to be anything other than your self.

So I say don’t try to belong, just be and where you find yourself there you are.

Love and magic

Carlii xxx

How to Make Peace with Rejection and Love Yourself for it

 

I recently experienced a major turning point in my life and I am so excited by the opportunities that lay ahead. You see I suddenly realised, at the age of 35, that certain forms of disapproval and rejection are healthy and if anything a good sign of progress. I would even go as far as saying, if you have the approval of everyone around you, either you are playing too small, or you are not honest with yourself and others.

 

This all occurred to me a few weeks ago after a meeting I had with a business colleague I admire. Even before we sat down, I had given all of my personal power away. For whatever reason, I had carefully placed this person up on a pedestal of having, knowing and being more than me. It was a recipe for disaster, especially in business.

 

The intention of the meeting was to get their opinion of a business idea I had. I wanted their support of the idea and in truth their approval of me as an extension of it. This particular person did not like it at all, naturally I felt deflated and to some extent rejected. When I arrived home my husband saw that vacant look in my eyes and questioned why I let their feedback get to me so much. With this in mind I retreated into the watery arms of a lavender bath and gave it some serious thought.

 

Why did I care so much? What was I really seeking?

 

Then it hit me. For the past 35 years I have tried to make everyone happy. For whatever reason having everyone’s approval was of paramount importance, even when it meant going against my own better judgment. What is worse, it wasn’t just my family, friends and colleagues I worried about; it was sometimes people I revered from afar. I would measure myself against what I thought these illusive characters would approve of (strange I know). Who knows how many times I paid the price of not listening to my heart and intuition.

 

The buzzword right now, especially in business, is ‘Disruption’ and by its very definition it is a ‘disturbance or problem that interrupts an event, activity, or process’. Whilst I am not suggesting my business idea in this case has the potential to ‘disrupt’ an industry, I am suggesting that change and new ideas will inevitably receive the disapproval and rejection of those happy to maintain things just as they are. This includes the ‘experts’ we often listen to above our own intuition.

 

It reminds me of a story I was told by a friend of mine I highly respect in the wellness industry. This particular friend is considered a fitness business guru and naturally would be the perfect mentor if you were planning to enter into that space. Several years ago a colleague of his came to him with a business idea. In his own words he advised his friend “the idea would not work” and essentially not to bother. His friend decided to follow his intuition regardless and ended up building one of Australia’s fastest growing fitness franchises.

 

Making intuitive decisions in the face of disapproval and rejection is never easy. It is something we are confronted with in business and life all the time. I have now made a promise to myself, whenever I am in that position to always follow my heart irrespective of the consequences. I believe every time we fail to listen to our heart and intuition, we step further away from our true self. In the wise words of Socrates, ‘To find yourself, think for yourself’. It is wonderful to gain recognition, approval, love and acceptance from those around you, but when you give yourself all of these things first and foremost, you are in a real position of personal empowerment.

 

I recall my good friend and mentor, Dr John Demartini, saying to me once- “no matter what you say or do, you will always have a balance of support and challenge. The bigger the game you play, the more challenge you will face.” I understood what he was saying, but I only really got it recently.

 

Imagine if we were to look upon certain forms of disapproval and rejection in our lives symbolically rather than taking it personally. What if we even expected it as part of growth and progress and began to see it as a good thing; a sign that our influence was growing so therefor so was the level of disapproval and rejection that surrounded us.

 

There is one obvious exception to this idea that is important to mention and that is deliberately hurting others, causing harm and acting recklessly. As it was famously said thousands of years ago ‘do unto others as you would do unto yourself’.

 

The beauty of this World is found in its diversity. We are all different yet at the very core of our being we are all the same. We are all powered by the one life source. We may never agree on everything and in theory we probably would not thrive in a world where everyone thought the same, did the same and did not question a thing.

 

As we make our way through the maze of life it is important to embrace the fact there are only two people who really know what is best for you, that is you and your maker, whoever he, she or it may be. Trusting in this voice and guidance may cause you to experience disapproval and rejection along the way. Just remember however, you came into this world with nothing but your self, you will leave this world with nothing but yourself, if you don’t have your self, what do you have?

 

With love and magic

 

Carlii xxx