My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

What separates you from everyone else? Creating and articulating a personal brand requires a solid understanding of who you are and what is important for your version of career success.

We can get trapped sometimes into defining career success in terms of money or prestige. High income, power, or status is not the only way to define work satisfaction. Only you can determine what career success will look like. Once you know what makes work satisfying, it’s much easier to create your personal brand.

Starting point

Self-assessment is the starting point for integrating your brand. In past weeks we looked at how to assess the values, interests, skills, and personality preferences that influence your definition of career success. We also considered your constraints, roles, and lifestyle choices. To create your authentic personal brand, integrate this self-assessment information by describing who you are and what is important to you.

Imagine that I can magically place you into your perfect work environment. All you have to do is describe your ideal work. What would you be doing? Where and when would you do it? Think about your interests, skills, personality preferences, constraints, and lifestyle choices. For example, if you want to work with details and accomplish results in a quiet setting this is quite different than the work of someone who wants to interact with others in a high-paced, busy environment focused on generating ideas. The days you prefer to work, the skills you prefer to use, and the personal values expressed through your work are also important factors in your ideal work scenario.

Your ideal work

It took a few years, but I have determined what my ideal work looks like. I’m happiest when I have flexible work hours and opportunities to engage in new and different tasks. People interest me and I love to learn about others and myself. Interacting with and helping people learn and grow as well as building greater understanding and appreciation between people is enjoyable work. Communication and creativity are key skills that I get pleasure from using everyday. For me, career success also involves spending lots of time with my friends and family; it was especially important to be with my children for some of the workweek when they were younger. Eating healthy food, getting lots of sleep, and exercising regularly need to be part of my daily routine.

Create a few key statements that articulate what you want from your career. Once you can describe your ideal work, start to position yourself to achieve it. Your description of career success will be different from mine and will incorporate your own values, interests, skills, constraints, and preferences. Remember to reassess yourself from time to time to ensure your brand is changing to reflect your growth and development. Determining what is important helps you articulate your personal brand, so you can live your life your way.


Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebook and visit her website.