Ah, yes, another new year. Which means a renewed resolve to do something better the next year. The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion says that “being a better person” and weight loss are the top New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. So, America, a lot of us want to be good to others while getting in better physical shape--great for personal branding.
A firm ethical compass helps one’s career trajectory. By taking inventory of our identity and value as professionals, we can boost our personal branding. So, here are 10 resolutions to get you to the next level.
Repeat after me. I resolve to…
1. Be a goal digger.
I’m not sure who came up with the term but I dig it. Write in your journal, create a vision board or do whatever works to get motivated about what you want to accomplish. I don’t care if it’s about the money, the titles or the work itself, just resolve to put something in front of you that you want to reach badly. Then, go for it!
2. Be of healthy mind, spirit, and body.
Whichever order works for you works for me. In the past few years, I’ve made progress in one or two of these areas. In 2018, I’m determined to get all three in sync and you should, too. The cynics will always say they don’t need friends at work in order to excuse jerky behavior, but don’t tell me pleasant folks don’t make your job easier. Personal branding shines on folks who take care of themselves inside and out.
3. Keep my salt in the salt shaker.
Even the most positive among us want to throw salt in folks' game sometimes. I even spoke openly on my podcast about my hater days. If your friends seem to consistently tell you to “have several seats," you probably throw salt like Drew Brees. It’s hard to move forward in your career peacefully if you’re always worried about others, so resolve to follow one of two rules in 2018. Either (1) don’t say anything if you can’t say anything nice, or (2) flip tables in private but never folks see you sweat.
4. Shine my light.
You won’t have the salt problem if you focus on what makes you special. This is where my obsession with identity and value comes in. I believe every person has something beautiful to offer. Your personal brand becomes memorable when people fondly remember the moments they spend with you. For 2018, resolve to take inventory of what you do to make your team better and accentuate that positivity.
5. Be honest about “Brand Me.”
Personal branding, as many of us know, became a widely accepted concept when Tom Peters wrote the timeless “Brand Called You” over 20 years ago. Write down the qualities you like and don’t like about yourself. Be honest, write it all down, and let the chips fall where they may. Do you like what you see or not? I have done this exercise several times over the past eight years, and I kept doing it until the list of things I like about myself got longer than the dreaded other list. As you do these lists, ask the most trusted folks in your circle for their feedback and make great things happen in 2018.
6. Tune up my résumé.
When I work with people on their résumés, I advise them to treat it like a car. Tune it up. Even if you’re happy with your career at the moment, take some time to adjust or add to it. A résumé is an excellent way to take inventory of your experience and skills, because I often find that people with stable jobs and careers ironically sell themselves short on paper. They are so content that they forget their résumés even exist. In 2018, take a look at your résumé every three months to make sure you are doing your personal brand justice.
7. Learn something new about my field.
I admit this is a more of a note-to-self thing but personal branding favors the knowledgeable. This is not about standing out in a crowd so much as it is about understanding the new language your colleagues are speaking.
8. Practice my elevator pitch.
You may have your personal branding elevator pitch in place but how often do you practice it? While it’s ready for networking events, interviews and your side hustle opportunities, you should practice it for unexpected moments—chance meetings at events, restaurants, airports, etc.
9. Help the dream work through team work.
Being a good team member does wonders for personal branding. This is relevant because it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of workplace politics or personalities. Resolve to bring something new to the table to make your squad a better one.
10. Walk a mile in the boss’s (or bosses’) shoes.
I wrote an unpopular opinion about the tweets that got ESPN reporter Jemele Hill in hot water with her employer. I tried to use that discussion as an opportunity to help people understand how a situation that seems clear cut for the employee is not always so clear cut for the employer. Make a resolution to learn more about the day-to-day challenges of the higher-ups at your organization. Ever since I made that effort, I have been able to explain my positions on issues in ways that my bosses have understood; and I have respected their positions in turn. As a result, my brand with my employers since then has been one marked by accountability and self-awareness--qualities that leaders treasure greatly.