personal brand

Is Your Personal Brand Holding You Back?

My fear of ruining my personal brand held me back – here’s what I’ve learned from letting that fear go.

I ran my blog for YEARS before I got up the courage to post about it on my personal Facebook and Instagram.

Why? Well, it’s not because I thought the quality was subpar or because I was shy about my writing. The fear of judgement was present but I didn’t fear social rejection – I feared workplace rejection. I was worried that if people saw all of me, the messy part, the human part, the authentic parts, it would hurt my professional image & personal brand. 

I was afraid to claim my art because it might jeopardize my career at the time or future career opportunities. My content didn’t align with the image I thought I had to uphold to be an HR professional. My fear of being unprofessional & my dependency on a “perfect” career held me back. 

Why Are We Worried About Our Personal Brand? 

I am proud to say that in 2019 I got over that. And by this point in 2020 I proudly post about my content on anything and everything. But I think it’s important to ruminate on how my fear of judgement from the workplace kept me from sharing my content earlier. 

In summary, I let my career dictate the success and excitement around a passion project – how awful is that? And I’ve noticed that many of the people I work with do the same thing. Those of us who dabble in the corporate world are constantly conscious of our reputations, how we are being perceived and how those perceptions dictate our potential.

Our personal brands determine our value in the workplace. Personal brand by definition is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perfection or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry or marketplace at large (definition from https://personalbrand.com/definition/

In other words, it’s the confirmation that you are always being judged for how you show up in the professional world – which for perfectionists can be a HORRIBLE weight to carry. 

Personal Brand & Our Relationship with Work 

I think a lot of us treat our jobs like codependent relationships – and that’s by design. It’s no surprise that most of us are afraid to rock the boat – we quite literally rely on our jobs to keep us alive. Our jobs are the keepers of health insurance, basic income, and often our schedules. Depending on the company and culture our jobs may even dictate the relationships we have and what we do in our free time. 

Being “representatives” of a company can make us fearful to post authentically on our personal social media. We end up dragging our LinkedIn persona over to our Instagram or Facebook. We edit out all the human parts and create a boring image of perfection. This isn’t out of a personal desire to be secretive but from the fear that if we are seen holistically we may change someone’s perception of us in a negative way. 

One of the reasons we give our work SO much power is at will employment in the private sector. At will employment means that employers can end your employment at any time. Is it really that simple? No – it’s usually a lot of work on the HR side of things to decide to terminate someone. But does that ease the fear in any employees minds? Also no. And when we consider how many managers lack training on coaching conversations and turn to disciplinary terms when a mistake is made instead of fostering an environment of growth it’s not surprising employees are fearful. 

Kick Perfectionism and Personal Branding to the Curb

In summary, our jobs are all wrapped up in what we do and how we show up in the world. Our jobs dictate what we do in our free time. Our work “personal brand” can seep into our time off the clock. Is it possible to change this? Are we able to put solid boundaries between work and our lives at home? Are we allowed to be ourselves fully and authentically at work as long as we aren’t hurting anyone else in the process? I hope so and I’m here to help anyone who wants to do that. 

Ready to find a career that is authentically you? Head over here to schedule a discovery call

I want you to be able to show up as you for work. And I want to enable you to leave work at work. Let’s take the power back from our employers!

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