Scene: Church – Confession Booth
John: Bless me father for I have sinned, it’s been 3 months since my last blog post …
Priest: Son, I’m not sure absolution applies in this case, you need a miracle … 3 months!!! you’re alone on this one!
Had to start with some humor – they call this in psychology a defense mechanism … you might wonder why i’m resorting to humor, and the answer is simple, i’ve failed my reader and I haven’t posted anything in over 3 months. I wish I could blame it on work and the lack of time, but I believe we can always make time … so for failing you I apologize, but I promise to pick the pace once again. So without further adieu, let’s focus on today’s post.
I’m sure you’ve seen me talk and write about authenticity with regards to personal branding on several occasions – in fact, “thou shall be true to thyself” is the first commandment of Personal Branding. Today, I received my daily google alert digest on personal branding and to my horror, I came across an article featured in Fast Company entitled Personal Branding: Have You Identified Your Niche Yet? The author of that post basically asks you to identify your target audience and customize your brand accordingly!!! I don’t know about you, my dear reader, but in my opinion, this goes against everything I’ve been talking about since the creation of this blog. This is exactly why personal branding “haters”, well, hate it and call us posers, fake, etc … We have demoted Personal Branding to mere branding … forget authenticity, forget the REAL you, just follow the money and if I say dance, guess what, you’ll throw a party!
Personal Branding is not a beauty pageant – you should not be seeking everybody’s approval. Here’s a rule of thumb: if everybody loves your brand, then there’s a big chance you’re lying to yourself and in turn to others. You are neither Coke nor Pepsi, fighting over the same customer, who couldn’t tell the difference in a blind tasting to save his or her life … you are Layla, Tim, Ahmed, Mariam … with all your flaws, mood swings, like and dislikes, bad days, weird habits … don’t forget the “Person” part in “Personal Branding” – you are human and nobody’s asking you to be otherwise. If everybody were perfect, then everybody would be the same, and referring to us in numbers wouldn’t really make much of a difference. It’s our imperfections that make us stand out, that make us shine and be the best we can be.
Think of all the big names in music – Freddie Mercury (Queen), Elton John, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and the list continues … what do these people have in common? They dared to be different … they certainly had their fans and most certainly their haters. Michael Jackson didn’t stop grabbing his groin just because you found that appalling, Freddie didn’t stop wearing pink because you thought that is too gay, Madonna didn’t dress up in turtle necks because you thought her clothes are too slutty, Elton John didn’t start playing the drums cause you thought the piano is lame … So even though, some of you might hate them, but they have certainly earned your attention and they will forever be remembered because they were true to their brand and certainly stayed the course against all odds.
Forget finding your niche, find yourself first. If you do that, and communicate that wholeheartedly then “your niche” will come to you. You will earn that right only then! The trick is to be comfortable in your own skin, not someone else’s. Think About It!