Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Managing Your Identity

(This is an excerpt from my book ‘Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life’)

Wearing different hats can get confusing. Some people see you as one thing, others might see you as something completely different. But if you define your personal brand as YOU – beyond the job titles, beyond the labels - then that's much more authentic.

If we heard that the CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi was also a lecturer in Business Studies and Chairman of USA Rugby we might wonder what on earth that has to do with being head of a global advertising agency; but as his brand is personified – ‘Kevin Roberts’ is the brand not ‘Saatchi CEO’ - then why can't this bloke called Kevin juggle nine different balls? He’s defined by who he is not a bunch of job titles.

Since you may be judged by perceptions (and the reality of your professional offering might be quite different from its perception), in a Juggle life your identity is really important. In all you do, you need to communicate your breadth. If you don't, people might think you are a one trick pony and that will limit your potential. Be honest; your work life should be a mirror of the real you; don't hide your talents – be your (full) self.

So if you only have a reputation for one thing; start shouting about the other bits. Communicate your personality. This new media space offers fantastic opportunities to communicate our multi-dimensional selves and to be really transparent. As Gary Vaynerchuck said:

‘I think that every person is multi-dimensional and has enormous things they are good at and many different interests and I think that the best way to communicate in this new social era is to talk about all of them, don’t hide anything. … I think people will always embrace ‘real’ and ‘authenticity’ and I think the more things you talk about that you are passionate about, I think the more people are going to get to know who you are. So please don’t fear being multi-dimensional.. Expand what you are talking about’.

Use whatever platforms you have at your disposal to tell YOUR story. Communicate your passions and don’t be afraid of mixing it all up together. Tell it like it is: Work, Play, Family, Hobbies = This is me.

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