Who you think you are and what others perceive can be two very different things.

Your boss thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. You think he’s an idiot. Your assistant boldly asks for a promotion. You think she’s got miles to go before she can move up. Your client feels he’s right not to change his advertising strategy. You think he just doesn’t understand today’s market. We all make judgments about the people we work with based on our own perceptions, but how many of us stop to realize that we are also being judged? 

The truth is, if you don’t brand yourself, someone else will and they probably already have and chances are they’ve gotten it wrong.

To be a brand is to have meaning beyond your name. Like how Coke gives the feeling of refreshment, Disney a sense of trust, Target delivers cheap chic, Nike advocates the active lifestyle, and Campbell’s provides comfort. It’s an emotional connection that goes beyond the product or service.

So, what are people saying about your brand? What is the meaning beyond your name? Does that meaning have relevance now? Does your target audience know that you matter in this economy? Can they define the feeling of working with you in a word or phrase? If so, is it how you want to be thought of and valued?

Look, no one knows what’s special about you better than you do. So, don’t squander it… focus on it! Create a solid brand for yourself by planting your flag in the ground and declaring who you are and what you’re good at. It’s time to take responsibility for your reputation, so that you can get your swagger back and stop feeling so unsteady about your longevity in business.

So try to imagine what words come to mind when people say your name. What do people feel when they see you? If you can’t answer this question easily, join the club. How can you ever know what someone else is thinking, anyway? And after all, how objective can you really be about yourself?

The truth is you can know what people are thinking about you by crafting powerful messages that shine a light on your talents and unique attributes. The truthful story that you tell about yourself is what others will believe. Without that story, they’ll make up their own.

I’m not talking about mind control exactly, but branding is about having a strong influence over how you’re perceived. Look how the best brands bombard us on a daily basis with in-your-face advertising designed to influence how we think and feel about their products.

The process of creating an authentic personal brand is for those who are committed to being positively unforgettable in business. It’s for those who inherently know that they are here for a reason and want to fearlessly reach their highest potential by living with true purpose. It’s for anyone who is tired of being the best kept secret and is ready to step into the spotlight to be seen as the extraordinary professional they are, and get paid accordingly.

Becoming an unforgettable brand doesn’t just happen by deciding it’s a good idea. There’s a lot of work to do… it’s a process… and beginning with this blog post, I will give you the secrets of building a personal brand that will differentiate you from the pack.

So why should you bother reading what I have to say week after week? Here’s why: To know who you are and be valued for it, to attract what you want, to create demand for your talents, to walk your path with integrity, to distinguish yourself in your chosen field, and make more money doing what you love.

I believe in miracles and destiny, but in the end we make our own reality. The strength of your personal brand begins and ends with you.