This picture has been boyfriend approved and no mom, I’m not really naked. Sheesh!
It’s time to drop the towel and let people see the goods! Vulnerability is key when building your brand. It can also be one of the most uncomfortable things to do. Now when I say “get naked”, I mean only at a level that is comfortable to you. If you’re not comfortable talking about a hurtful time in your childhood, then by all means don’t feel like you have to go there. But do let people in. That’s how you build trust with your audience.
I meet a lot of people who ask how they can differentiate themselves from all the other consultants, business coaches, marketing professionals, artists, authors and speakers out there. The simple answer is YOU are the difference – your experiences, your stories, your personality. Not your expertise! Tons of people know what you know and honestly, Google know it all. It’s your authenticity that sets you apart. It is key and requires you to open up in ways that you may have never done before. I love Brene Brown and how she connects authenticity and vulnerability as a means to love ourselves, which in turn allows others to love us…to fall in love with our brands. She says “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Effectively marketing your personal brand and standing out among the crowd means allowing your true self to be seen (the good, the bad and the ugly).
I encourage you to stop hiding behind your laptop, behind your name or title, and really let people in. Tell a story that not many people have heard before and make sure you tell it in a way that is personal. Instead of “You know when you lose a loved one…” or “We’ve all lost a loved one…”, pull out the tiny details and the emotion – “I lost my oldest brother to leukemia. He was only 29. I felt helpless. And I felt like a horrible person because I didn’t know what to do or say. Maybe I didn’t grieve enough. But maybe it was because I was only 17.” Now your are human, not just a person with an expertise, a Facebook page and a website. Now people can relate and even see themselves in you. Oh, what a loving and loyal tribe they will become because now you are connected!
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown