You have a personal brand. We’ve talked about it a lot at MNTR because we believe it’s that important. People won’t buy into your idea or business if they don’t buy into you. So instead of pretending your personal brand or reputation doesn’t matter, do the work to figure out what it is. When you know your personal brand, you can control and improve it. Then, you can leverage it to get your ideas off the ground.

Related Listening: Podcast Episode 67: How to Elevate Your Personal Brand

There are two things that makeup your personal brand: your stamp and your shadow.

Your Stamp

Your stamp is what you tell people your brand is. It’s the mark you purposefully make telling others who you are and how you want to be known.

It can be through your wardrobe — maybe you always want to be dressed up or you always want to be casual and laid back. Perhaps you want to always wear bright colors or you prefer to be in muted tones. Maybe you always carry a pocket square or always wear a certain kind of shoe. Whatever it is, it’s your choice to say “this is who I am.”

How do you intentionally act in meetings? Do you make an effort to always be the first one to speak up? Do you always bring a notebook and pen or laptop with you? Do you always make sure you’re on time?

This is your stamp.

Your Shadow

Your shadow is how other people perceive you. It’s what you don’t always think of, but others pick up on.

Maybe you have the intention of being on time for a meeting, so you don’t realize that more often than not, you tend to be late. Your shadow is others thinking, “Let’s not invite him anymore. He’s always late.”

Have you ever worked for a leader you didn’t particularly like working with? Why didn’t you enjoy your experience with them? Your reasons probably aren’t related to how well they did or didn’t do their job, it’s probably because of how they made you feel. Maybe it was their attitude and ego, or that they were nice to everyone above them and cold to everyone below them. In fact, it probably didn’t matter to you if they were good at their job and dressed stylishly because they were a jerk to be around. That’s a bad shadow.

The good news is, shadows aren’t always bad! Ask a trusted, honest colleague to describe what it’s like to work with you. If they say you’re kind, humble, and honest, that’s a great shadow. If they say you’re kind, humble, honest, and always have a messy desk… then you know what area you might want to work on.

People will always have a perception about who you are and what you do. When you do the work of figuring out how you want to be known and follow through with your actions, you can control the conversation.