I recently had the honor of being a guest speaker for a panel discussion on the topic of: Defining Your Personal Brand.
Personal brand development is something that I am extremely passionate about – hence the reason that I worked by butt off to turn it into a career. However, the reality is that everyone needs a strong personal brand, not just the tall humans who get paid to play sports, aka my clients. Because of that, I love any opportunity to take my knowledge and expertise and offer it up to those who want to listen!
With the group that was hosting the event being in the entertainment industry, and the title of the event being what it was, I assumed that the other speakers would have similar careers – i.e. PR, marketing, sports, entertainment… I couldn’t have been more wrong. They tell you not to assume, right??
The titles, backgrounds, career paths and even ages of the four of us could not have been more diverse! I was very intrigued as to how the four of us would respond to the questions. The craziest part is that as we got started with the discussion, and the moderator began directing certain questions at us, all of the titles, careers and ages went out the window. It was like we had all taken different paths but through the same forest [or something like that]. As each woman gave her answer, I felt myself internally agreeing and externally shaking my head up and down. I started to feel like I was taking more away from the event than those in the audience! The common theme amongst the four of was being authentic, working hard and never letting adversity get in the way of pursuing your dreams…
What happened next was where I fell in love with three women who I hadn’t even known existed a few hours before. The panel ended and each of us looked at each other like we couldn’t believe what just happened. Each one was impressed beyond belief with the others. And realized that we had each changed each others lives, in some sort of way. As we continued the conversation, I realized that I had more in common with them than I could have ever imagined. We swapped stories about working in industries that were dominated by men, choosing certain career paths, making the leap from one career to another, and my favorite part – the personal tribulations that come from all of it. As I talked about losing friends along the way, another woman talked about how one of her friends turned to Facebook to blast her and mock her career that was filled with lots of time at the office, travel and fancy events, leaving little to no time for personal engagements with this very friend.
It seemed crazy… I mean four random individuals being brought together to talk on a panel. Who would have thought that it could make such an impact? I firmly believe in the power of relatability – it is how I have maintained my sanity over the last year and a half as I built my company, and how I have connected with clients to keep that same company growing. Not only did each of us relate to one another, but we talked about it… and glorified it. We spent time sharing kind words and genuine compliments. I don’t think any one of us is someone who needs approval from others to keep us going, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have someone who you deem “successful” tell you that they are impressed with you…
If you can take one thing away from this, know this – you never know who you are going to encounter in life, and you never know how they will enrich or even change your life, so keep an open heart and an open mind. And continuously surround yourself with fabulous, powerful, successful people. If they “made it” in one way or the other – there is something to be learned. Oh and don’t ever miss an opportunity to build someone else up.
Here’s to a fabulous week. Go get ’em!