Cultivate a strong personal brand

Cultivating a strong personal brand can yield a lifetime of benefits. Yet many people mistakenly believe that personal branding is mostly about things like choosing stylish clothing and memorizing an effective elevator speech. They don’t realize that successful personal branding is less about how you look and more about what you do each day and the bonds you create with other people. The real power of personal branding lies in demonstrating qualities such as diligence, kindness, compassion and graciousness.

Consider the quiet co-worker or friend who diligently goes about each day, rarely complaining and works behind the scenes to ensure things are done right from the get-go. Someone who helps his or her fellow team members, neighbors, family, etc. succeed and inquires about what their children are up to. Someone who remembers your birthday. That type of person is well on their way to developing an effective brand built around the qualities that people admire most.

Pick one quality or trait you want to improve upon or develop to strengthen you own personal brand. Brainstorm some of the ways you can foster this trait and create a plan of action.Then spend the next 30 days actively seeking opportunities to put your plan into action. For example, if you want to improve your ability to express gratitude, you might purchase a pack of thank you cards. Every day, think of someone new who you’d like to express gratitude toward and write them a quick note. Be sincere. Over time, you’ll find that genuine gratitude will become part of your everyday actions.

Sometimes it seems qualities such as diligence, gratitude and kindness do not yield a reliable payback. In discouraging moments, we may ask ourselves: “Is anyone taking note of my efforts?” But rest assured that qualities such as compassion and kindness are noticed — and that demonstrating them to others can have a larger effect on your life than you have ever imagined.