musings on life

Here, you'll learn about my journey of adulting in the Windy City.

Personal Branding: Just Tell The Truth!

Honesty is one of life’s most valued qualities. Children, especially small ones, are the most innocently honest little people you could encounter. But something happens in between childhood and growing into an adult that makes honesty difficult for some folks. As a kid, you often say and do things without considering repercussions (which oft times is what makes their honesty so endearing–after all, what do they have to lose by not telling the truth?

I remember my father saying something to me growing up that he was told by his mother: “If you cheat, you’ll lie. If you lie, you’ll steal. If you steal, you’ll kill. And if you kill, you’re just no da-n good.” Well alright then.

But in all seriousness, that statement has resonated with me for all these years. With adults, they tend to overthink and unlike the child, they consider how their actions will effect others (well, I hope they do). So that may cause them to withhold information. But let’s be frank for a moment, withholding important information has never turned out well and it devalues your personal brand. I’m not sure what alternate world the likes of Rihanna lives in with the whole “I don’t care what people think of me” mentality, but anyone who works in communications knows that what people think of you is sometimes very important–especially when it comes to establishing relationships. So if people end up thinking you’re a dishonest person, where does that leave you? Probably as Rihanna’s biggest fan and in serious need of a workshop on integrity.

If you want to establish long-term success in your career, you’ve got to be honest. First with yourself and then your peers. Be honest about what it is that really makes you happy and fulfilled. If you can’t tell yourself the truth, how are you going to tell anyone else? Below are 4 factors that contribute to an honest personal brand.

After you read this, absorb it and share it (if you feel so inclined), you can go back to obsessing over Beyoncé and the lip-syncing debacle or the upcoming Superbowl performance. The ‘Queen Bey’ needs her little worker ‘beys.’ How else is she going to get thehoney? I mean, money. Shots fired.

Build A Foundation

Obtaining an honest personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. Your ability to consistently adhere to the facts must be at the core of everything you do. Establishing an honest brand for the long haul means assessing your values, interests and career goals to build a foundation of honesty. You can certainly include many other elements to build a strong foundation for your personal brand–hard work, creativity, morality–to give it depth and character. But without honesty, your brand is limp and pretty darn useless.

Keep It 1 Hunna (In Layman’s terms, keep it real)

Whether in your day-to-day work or your personal life, your honest brand nature should be apparent. Don’t go overboard, just be you! Wonderfully and uniquely made. Continually strive to reach new levels of adherence to your brand platform of honesty by showcasing this value in all you do. Sometimes the hardest part of maintaining an honest brand comes down to staying true to yourself.  I’ve had internships where in the dead center of the experience, I admitted I wasn’t happy. If you pay attention to media at all, you’ve seen the transition of Ms. Solange Knowles–from lurking in the shadows of mega popstar sister to shining as a talented singer, model and style icon. Point is, she found her lane…only after being honest with herself.

When it comes to your skill sets, goals, or satisfaction, drive your brand forward and stay honest. Are you noticing a pattern here? If there’s something you’d wish to learn or a career move you would like to make–do so. For goodness sake, YOLO (this is the way phrase ‘you only live once’ is supposed to be used). Then make a point to address it directly in your interactions on social platforms, blog, or when you’re networking. Try to always be useful.

Be Consistent

While the majority of “dos and don’ts” should have to go without being said, overall brand honesty have many places. It’s showcased in face-to-face interactions, on paper at your job or on your resume, and in your online profiles and blog. Those who lack consistency throughout their personal brand may appear to be dishonest or unstable. For many, this isn’t something they’re even aware they’re doing. To ensure consistency throughout your personal brand, evaluate all of the information you have made available to others. Does it align well? If not, it may be time to re-brand yourself by scrapping what you have and starting fresh. The risk of dishonesty isn’t something you should leave open.

Showcase Accountability

No brand can function without a level of accountability. Experiencing a lack of accountability with a trusted brand can turn away a devout follower on impact. Continued accountability throughout your career will allow you to immediately come to your own rescue in times when your brand is in jeopardy. Let’s take good ol’ biker boy, Lance Armstrong for example. The 7 time Tour de Francechamp fraud is an unfortunate example of someone who failed to remain accountable for the actions he made which negatively impacted his brand. Armstrong waited until it was too late to explain his wrongdoing–consequently losing all he’d worked to gain. Things happen, I know that, but it’s your job to ensure accountability for your personal brand.

Honesty is everything when it comes to your personal brand. If this isn’t currently a value you’re working to directly showcase, I’m really not sure what kind of life you’re trying to live. So. how honest is your brand?

Kikora N. Mason