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“Make this presentation in the board meeting, and get your fifteen minutes under the sun.”

“You will be the best man/maid-of-honor at my wedding. And I have offended many who wanted to be there.”

“Your idea has been selected for implementation.”

“I hear a lot of good things about you.”

This was called acknowledgement, recognition or a positive projection by those who mattered. And one had to be in their good books, to reach there.

THE ADVENT OF PERSONAL BRANDING

Then, came social media where one is at liberty to showcase a thought process, personal bonds, social and political affiliations, status symbols, awards and achievements – without any dependence on others. We became editors and publishers, to tell our own stories.

But which stories? Just personal favorites, or those that help you advance in the competitive world.

Personal branding was born, with a trailing question,

“What is the brand that I wish to project?”

  • How much of myself do I wish to put out there?
  • Do I wish to share a certain segment of my personality, or my whole being?
  • Do people relate better to me as a real person, or as a hardcore professional proclaiming expertise on a subject?
  • Does that chosen expertise take way from other aspects of my personality, or overshadow my overall leadership qualities?

In short, the trilemma is “Part or whole”, and “Which part is the best”?

What matters is acceptability by others. I am not on social media to antagonize others, or make enemies. But I may wish to make a strong point, at the cost of alienating certain sections.

Is the real you good enough to get you what you want? Or do you need branding and packaging to be sold?

Personal branding is a personal choice.

People start writing a mental story about me, from the first encounter, if my presence matters to them. If their presence makes a difference to me, I need to help them write that story.

  • One that chooses to showcase a fake image, believes in the power of faking. It is a personal statement.
  • One that chooses authenticity, makes a strong statement –“I do not care what others think about me.” And this does not always go down well with the world.
  • Silence also speaks, and leaves much to the imagination of others.

HOW DO I FIT IN, AND DO I REALLY NEED TO?

The response that I have received from the world all along, has told me a certain story about my acceptance or non-acceptance. If that acceptance is critical to my survival and success, I will make an effort to change — genuinely. And the change will speak for itself, in the image that I portray. I will become the person that I wish to project. And it is not so difficult. All it takes is a realignment of thought to know what is good for your life.

If that acceptance is not-so-critical, or I am unable to compromise beyond a certain level, we will just take our own paths, without crossing lines.

It is important to first figure out who I am, for I cannot be anyone but myself.