I was reading an article by Adam Lashinsky (editor-at-large, Fortune) about a writer he favors, Alexandra Fuller. She has written two memoirs about her life in Africa which Adam has found very moving. He laments not knowing that she had a more recent memoir about the demise of her marriage, and the irony he found was that it was Fuller’s husband who had encouraged her to write ‘the truth’ after having many novels rejected by editors.
Now hopefully we don’t have to go through a breakup to find our own true inner voice. Somehow, you would want it to jump out of you in some way and be apparent to all and highly original. I think these days with all this communication, texting, Twitter, Facebook, telephones, it is hard to find which voice is really your own. Did you ever think that the very issues you are speaking about come from someone else, or somewhere else?
So to be true to our personal brand, we have to scrape the surface and find out about who are we really and what we want to say. What do we want? What do we stand for? What is important to us? This kernel of truth then morphs into your elevator speech, your resume, and your entire modus operandi. It’s the building block of the structure called YOU. Just as we each have a unique fingerprint, we have something within us that has a point of view that is of our own making. It is our perception of the world around us, our experiences, our talents, our virtues. It takes a little time to figure out what that is which is why young people might struggle with it. Of course I have seen young people who knew exactly who they were at an early age. I smile to myself, thinking about walking to school with my grade school companion, my best friend, and we were convinced that we were geniuses. Eileen and I didn’t know what we were geniuses in, but nevertheless we knew that we were geniuses.
It is important to have a sense of self when you set out to define that inner voice. Someone who never finds it, might not be fully there, perhaps ghost-like, they are never sure what is at that inner core. When you build a personal brand, you need a strong foundation and a clear vision as to what makes it your own. Take some time, it does not have to be done overnight. Make sure that is the voice you take to interviews, the voice that writes the letters and emails and very important: your resume. Someone once said to me “the best author of your resume is you”. No professionally written resume will have your unique voice. So be sure that your resume really reflects you in a meaningful way. It is one more building block of your personal brand.