One of the questions I get quite often is the role of vulnerability in personal brand building.
I talk about building an authentic brand (perhaps overused somewhat) with integrity. As soon as someone talks about authenticity, we often imagine some form of vulnerability showing up for the ride.
It could be anything from a feeling of discomfort to out-and-out rawness. Anything that we don’t want to share in the world of fun and highlight-wheel-driven social media culture.
I thought the most compelling way to explain this is by using my own experience.
The book I wrote and published recently contains what others would consider to be a ton of vulnerable stories. And for that, many have said how authentic the book is. However, at no point in the course of writing the book and getting it out to a worldwide audience did I feel vulnerable (there were some sobbing and tears during some of my writing sessions, but I’ll save that for another day).
Then came the book launch. The event wasn’t something I’d been planning to host. If left to my own devices, I would have done no such thing (being an introvert and all that). When we finally decided to have one, I had to prepare speeches, then get up in front of everyone. For most people, speaking in public is often regarded as one of the most vulnerable things we can do. But no part of me felt vulnerable during the preparation or at the actual launch event while giving speeches.
What I actually felt was discomfort and a healthy dose of fear throughout the entire process, which is normal under the circumstances. The reason why I didn’t feel vulnerable was because I’ve done the work.
I’ve processed all of the possible raw feelings as part of recovery (healing and mentally rewriting dysfunctional internal narratives) to get to this point in my life.
Often, when we do the work of rewriting our unhelpful personal stories (which is part of my course Brand Build Mastery), we leave a lot of old baggage behind. What that means, in practical terms, is that the parts of our life which would have previously been too vulnerable to make public are transformed into something more akin to personal treasures that we can share with others if necessary within our own boundary.
We may actively seek to get out of our comfort zone, but we do not seek vulnerability in the name of authenticity. We let our purpose and intention guide our actions for our personal brand. These two key elements determine the boundary within which we operate. In the context of brand marketing or personal branding, it is the line we do not cross. And you get to call the shots about that (as in I cannot tell you what that boundary is for you).
Do the work of getting rid of whatever baggage you may have (e.g. I’m not good enough, who would care about what I have to say), and let the purpose and your intention around your brand be your guide.