One day, a boy went to visit his grandfather at his farm. He used to enjoy sitting at grandpa’s rocking chair and listen to him tell stories. That afternoon, the boy admired the tall standing wheat stems as they danced with the soft breeze. But to the little boy’s surprise, some of the wheat stems didn’t share this wonderful dance; they were bent towards the ground as if with grief. He asked his grandpa why these stems were sad. With a soft smile, grandpa explained that these wheat stems, bow down in humbleness and not in sadness, for it is those that bear fruit … the ones you see standing tall are fruitless!
This is how the priest at church concluded his sermon a couple of weeks back – however, when he had told it, he didn’t explicitly refer to humbleness, but it struck me as too loud a message to ignore.
Those of you, who have come to know me from my writing, realize that I tend to wear my marketing goggles all the time, and I try to relate things that happen to me in my daily life to my passion. This is no different! When I heard that story, I couldn’t help but relate it to Personal Branding. True, I am a strong believer in the necessity of growing one’s personal brand, but never at the expense of humility and humbleness.
Personal Branding is not about showing off and flaunting yourself to the world! Actually it is the complete opposite of that. There’s a famous proverb in Lebanese that I will first spell out phonetically, since it is what makes it special “Ana, kilmit Ana” – the first “Ana” in this sentence refers to the word “I” however, the second “Ana” in this sentence means “Selfishness” – so the whole thing translates into: “I, is a selfish word”. Personal Branding is not about “I” – it’s about “Your perception of Me”.
One of my favorite movies is The Devil’s Advocate – Al Pacino (playing the role of Satan) refers to vanity as the devil’s favorite sin, he calls it the self-love, the all-natural opiate – all of which fall in complete contradiction with the essence of Personal Branding and that is humility!
When I started developing my personal brand, I was confronted with a lot of people who thought I was out to advertise myself … some scorned the idea, some laughed at it … and today I hope both are reading! Personal Branding is about earning the attention of others by the fruits you bear. How easy is it for me to buy the serves of an SEO and place a couple of ads here and there … but is this genuinely earned attention? Is this how trust is earned? I am here today (wherever here is) because I have earned the right to be here! You have given me this right. However, I will just as easily lose this right, if I were to stare away from my path – that of giving, sharing, and creating art …
I’m far from being an introvert; in fact I’m quite the opposite. But there is a huge difference between being an extrovert and a showoff. Giving is the essence of humbleness, and in turn that serves as the survival of your personal brand!
Look at your personal brand, is there too much “I” in there? Is there enough “you”? Did you ever wonder why my blog is called “All About Your Business” not “My” business? Think About It!