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Your personal brand depends on you by Malcolm Levene


Many of the people Malcolm Levene meets are unsure about their personal brand. Some believe their in-person brand to be an extension of their online persona. Others think it’s just about being themselves. If only it were that simple. In fact, if it were that simple, people like him probably wouldn’t have many clients.


Our personal brand consists of both our inner and outer brands. Our outer brand consists of our image, body language, grooming, verbal articulation, and attire. Our inner brand has to do with our values, integrity, attitude, and what we stand for. When our inner and outer brands have been developed sufficiently, we are well on the way to having a top-notch authentic personal brand.


Before we begin the process of development, we need to do some weeding. That is to say, before we plant new behaviours or attempt to apply self-improvement techniques, we must endeavour to rid ourselves of anything that’s likely to interfere with new growth. As in agriculture, if the ground is not fertile, growth will be seriously hindered. So, think of yourself as you would a well-cared-for garden. Before you plant seeds, ensure the soil is not stuffed with weeds – pull them out. Rid yourself of behaviours, attitudes, or beliefs that are likely to stifle your growth. This will take self-awareness, self-discipline, determination, perseverance, and, above all, patience.


Perhaps you’d like to behave more positively, or maybe you’d like to improve your body language. Only when we are truly ready to introduce new behaviours and further enhance our attributes can we expect good outcomes. Furthermore, it’s important we delete or edit anything that doesn’t serve us. Only then can we truly say we have the beginnings of an authentic personal brand. In order to delete and edit you will need to manage your ego. This is important to remember, because our ego is tantamount to being the school bully. When we stand up to it, it begins to back off. The ego keeps us from admitting that there is anything within us that needs improvement or even change. Our potential to be successful human beings is infinite, if only we believe it to be so. It’s less about what we want, more about how much we want it.


To begin, we have to decide what we would like to tackle first. For instance, when sitting, to convey more inviting body language, ensure your legs are uncrossed; your arms unfolded and hold your head high. These three physical gestures send a message of authority and receptiveness. Maybe you’d like to improve the first impression you make. If so, ensure you are always well groomed, make sure your attire is in style; your shoes should be polished and not in any state of disrepair.


Of course, you know all this stuff – we all do. However, it’s only when we remind ourselves of the relevance of how we project our personal brand that we are inclined to take any action. Remember that the inner brand is important as well. We can make a fabulous first impression by adopting a positive attitude. When we convey an optimistic view on life, others tend to mirror that characteristic. Therefore, the likelihood of being engaging is far more likely. In addition, this is an excellent way to begin building rapport. Smiling is an effective way to begin any conversation on an upbeat note. Apart from the mirroring effect, when we smile we release dopamine, affectionately known as the ‘happiness hormone’. So, irrespective of how we might feel, when we smile, we just feel happier.


For almost every challenge we encounter, there is a way to resolve it. Perhaps through reading an appropriate book, or maybe attending a seminar or workshop. Sometimes, it can be very helpful to speak to a friend. On that note, there is nothing at all wrong in asking for help. In fact, asking for help is an act of courage, not, as some believe, a sign of weakness. So if you ever feel down, know that the way to improve your state is entirely up to you.


Top tips

  • Focus on what you do well, not what you do less well
  • Be conscious of the people with whom you spend quality-time
  • Before entering a meeting, think of any three things you are proud of
  • Focus on what you are grateful for in your life
  • Know that adversity is not punishment – it tends to be our greatest teacher
  • Read top-notch literature. Remember, we become what we read


The Best You

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