(OR USING THE IDENTITYPE SYSTEM TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND)
The Importance of Your Personal Brand
Building your personal brand is about revealing yourself to the world.
It’s about being vulnerable enough to tell your tribe the story of your unfolding greatness, and then inviting them into the story. Here’s the big question I want you to sit with for a moment:
Who are you on a soul level?
When you can infuse your brand with your true identity, you will soar. Your market will turn and listen, because they will recognize your rare authenticity. The challenge, of course, is tackling such a scary, heart-baring process.
When I created the Identitype System, I wanted to it to be about both you and your business. So when you take the test, you receive three wheels: a business wheel and two personal wheels: one outer facing and one inner facing. Each of them explores your custom blend of Identitypes. The process itself is incredibly refreshing, because entrepreneurship, and especially solopreneurship, can be isolating. Reading your results for the first time is an amazing experience because you will feel known and understood. Savor that. Cling to it. Take heart in knowing that soon you will get that feeling from your work experience.
How to Read Your Personal Brand Test Results
The test results are complex, so begin by focusing only on your top three Identitypes. Most people have a blend of several Identitypes — you’re a complicated being who doesn’t fit neatly into categories! — but it’s important to stay focused on what contributes to the biggest parts of your identity.
Each Identitype description helps you solve the mystery of your destiny: who you are meant to be in this world. The descriptions map your spiritual, emotional, and psychological traits. Sometimes we know these things about ourselves, but we haven’t taken the time to name them or put an intention to them. Studying your Identitype System results gives you concrete evidence of who you are and what motivates you.
You will discover…
- your God-given gifts (spiritual identity)
- how you process your circumstances and the world around you (emotional identity)
- your intelligences (mental identity)
- your potential talents (physical identity)
This test gives you an amazing opportunity to embrace the strengths that are already a part of you. These are qualities in your possession that you can use to inspire others!
I cannot emphasize enough that building your authentic personal brand legend is not fabrication. Far from it! The greatness is already within.
Building your authentic personal brand is distillation.
You are crafting a public presentation of all that you already are. By gathering the truest pieces of you, the passions and motivations that move you to your core, you can start to craft a manifesto of sorts. You can begin communicating your essential beliefs, values, and standards in an efficient way. Your personal brand should be a concise distillation of what makes you, you.
So take your top three Identitypes, dive into those traits and descriptions, and come back to the surface armed with the knowledge of what strengths you can offer to this world. Your results describe what makes you a unique being in the world. What’s your unique perspective? We all have one.
Crafting a personal brand identity allows you to present all of that to others in a clear way.
The Journey of Your Personal Brand Legend: Context
If you’re feeling excited and enlightened about yourself, I’m delighted to tell you it’s about to get better! Now that you’ve put a name and description to the soul-deep parts of yourself, it’s time to add another critical layer to your personal brand: Context.
After all, you are not a personality in a vacuum. You have been places, done things, experienced wonders, struggles, and challenges… we cannot leave your story untold. This too is a part of your personal brand. Your experiences have taken the clay of your soul and shaped you into who you are today.
Take a few moments to ask yourself these questions. Consider how you might integrate your answers into the story of who you are (your personal brand’s legend):
- What’s important about your childhood?
- What have you learned along your journey?
- What is your current work in the world?
- Where do you see this work taking you?
- What obstacles have you overcome?
- What do you strive to do or change?
- What’s your particular genius?
Being vulnerable about who we are and where we’ve been is terrifying, yes; but believe that small voice within you that is whispering, “It’s time.” It’s time to let your light shine. It’s time to be wholly, authentically you.Are you starting to see it? The core of who you are, combined with the experiences that brought you to where you are today (and who you are today)— these are the essence of your personal brand. These are the pieces that you present to the world, and that fuel the energy you send out to others.
Using Your Personal Brand to Lead
Readers, the distillation and contextualization of yourself takes time. Perhaps it even takes a bit of meditation or reflection— or deep conversations with those who know you best. You are not a robot. You are a complex, living, breathing human being who is full of untapped greatness. Believe it!
Are you ready to be bold about this knowledge or your destiny, and lead from a place of authentic inspiration? Remember what I said back at the beginning: You already lead. You already have people who look up to you and your mission. Now you have the power to be more intentional about your leadership.
I hope that at this point you see how this system is like no other. It was developed to help you find yourself and your place in the world … and we haven’t even gotten to the business brand yet!
Once you’ve built the fabric of your personal brand, others can decide if they want to join you in your passions. They can decide if they are drawn into the energy you exude and the culture that you create around yourself. You don’t need to crusade for your cause, knocking on doors and petitioning people to follow. You don’t need to convince others to rally around you. You simply get to be you. You get to live your vision, your brand, your destiny.
A word to the wise: Know that empowering your followers means that they have free will. This is not about control. True leadership means that you open up options for people around you. The voice of fear inside you may say, “What if they don’t choose to continue following? What if they choose to be led by someone else?” Remember that empowering others is also empowering for you— you invoke freedom in others by being free yourself.
Think about it: When you allow people (your inner circle, your employees, your clients, etc.) to choose you, they take ownership of that decision. If you manipulate or wrangle people into this experience with you, you might maintain all control… but your influence doesn’t grow beyond you. You haven’t allowed anyone else to feel the thrill of choosing this path. This is a close-fisted way of dealing with the world.
Consider what happens when you hold your offerings loosely. Think about the experience of getting your followers to an “empowered yes,” in which they freely chose to say yes to you and your passions. They do more than get in the boat and watch you steer. No, they get in the boat with you and make it their home too. It becomes a shared experience. Not just your brand, but our brand. Our shared experience. Our destiny.
Giving others an “empowered yes” is the difference between a command and an invitation. Which one makes you defensive, and which ones makes you feel special and chosen? The answer is clear, of course.
If you are wondering what happens if things don’t go as planned, you are not alone. What if no one wants to join in on your personal brand legend? What happens if they desert your story? What if they have their own destiny to pursue?
Well, then you have granted them that freedom too. This is difficult, I understand, but I believe it’s necessary. Think of a parent and child. What happens when the child is given no options? He or she rebels. Or think about a romantic relationship in which one person tries to control the other. What happens? Well… there are several outcomes, but none of them good. None of them results in both parties feeling free and loved.
Leading through inspiration, with open arms rather than coercion, means that sometimes you will lead others to what I call an “empowered no.” An empowered no, or empowered refusal, is the option for others to recognize if there is a better path out there for them. In both love and in business, the ending is happier when we all have the chance to freely choose.
I have found that the worst case scenario isn’t having people choose to get in someone else’s boat. No, the worst case scenario is convincing everyone that you’re the only option… only to have them leave when they discover someone better. The very thought is painful, right? This resonates with our human nature because we want to be known, loved, and chosen. Vulnerability is truly terrifying. Will you let yourself believe the truth— that it’s worth it?
If you find yourself struggling with the thought of empowering others, know that you’re not alone. We must work through our own challenges and weaknesses on this journey to greatness. The root problem in this case is simply fear. And it’s fine to be afraid as long as you don’t make your decisions based on that. Everyone is afraid that their tribe won’t be big enough. That it won’t support them.
Here’s the truth: When you fully empower your tribe— to say both yes and no!— the true fans will be all the more loyal. Your core tribe, the ones who share your values and beliefs (and probably your Identitype!) will grow organically to become an incredibly loyal, powerful, socially influential tribe.
How’s that for a happily ever after?
TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE
When we are authentically ourselves, we are free to lead from a place of personal inspiration and passion. But this doesn’t look the same for everyone. Each Identitype follows a leadership trajectory, but I think the myriad of styles can be divided into just two categories:
Leading from the front:
Positive leadership from the front means that you are pulling people forward.
You motivate others by empowering them to recognize their own highest calling.
Oftentimes, leaders from the front offer inspiring calls to action:
“Come on! Let’s go! Look at how far I’ve gotten!”
“Join me up here!”
“I want you to experience this too!”
This leadership style is about letting others know that they have the power to be the best they can be. You are leading others into greatness.
Leading from behind:
Positive leadership from behind means that you are in the back, catching those people who might have trouble keeping up with the crowd.
You motivate others by supporting them so that they feel able and empowered to continue.
You are an encouragement to the weary. You are down in the trenches lending a hand, letting others know they can keep going.
Note: Leading from behind can turn toxic if you use fear to push others forward: “You’re going to be stuck back here!” Remember to focus on teaching others to be empowered to believe in themselves.
Leadership from behind is incredibly powerful when you are secure enough that you enjoy your followers being seen before you are.
So how do you feel now that you’ve distilled all of this into a personal brand? The relief of knowing you can be yourself and lead a tribe is liberating, is it not? I hope that you’ve experience joy in the process of learning about yourself and all that you have to offer to the world.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER…
When you can distill the best, strongest parts of yourself, and then combine that with your personal past and journey, you will create the kind of brand legend that attracts likeminded followers. True leadership, whether from the front or behind, is simply this: empowering others.
But we know it can’t stop there. We still have exciting work to do!
Your strategy is to discover all of the above things about yourself— the information gained from your personal wheels plus your personal journey— and then to be a unicorn. The more true you are to yourself, the more your personal brand will stand out among all others. The work is never finished, because the journey never ends. Stay true. Stay vulnerable. Stay authentic to yourself first, and then to others.
As you explore the exciting possibilities for your personal brand, I want to leave you with a note of encouragement:
You are here for a reason. My belief is that each person on this planet has a specific destiny. You have something to fulfill. You have a message to be delivered. You have work that you need to complete!
So who are you, and what is your purpose? What is your calling? Your empowerment? This is the sweet spot, where you have influence that you can use for good.
I’ve already said it, but it bears repeating: The Identitype System is not about fabricating your personal brand— it’s about discovering who you already are and distilling that into a personal brand that can lead others to empowerment.