I hope that when you decide to jump off the diving board and into the personal branding pool, you are prepared to swim in the deep end.  From my experience, the lifeguard is often unavailable when you find yourself struggling to keep your head above water.  In my case, it was incumbent upon me to faux swim or at least doggie paddle with dignity. When I began, I was inundated with wonderful success stories and tips of how to market myself, my brand, my services etc…  Well boy oh boy was I unprepared to deal with feedback from the market.  I did what I was told and expected champagne, strawberries, revenue and many loving and adoring fans.  Have I ever told you that I can be a bit naïve and a tad bit idealistic? I joined LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and every other social media platform known to man.  I then proceeded to share my voice with anyone on the planet.

Guess what?

No one was listening.  I knew what to do but had no clue how to do it effectively.  Much worse, I was unprepared and unwilling to receive any feedback that was incongruent with how I saw myself. I soon realized how challenging it was to differentiate your brand.  I was not prepared to deal with the reality of my situation.  Like the Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, stand up eight,” I often felt like one of Mike Tyson’s opponents from the early 80’s.  I kept getting up dazed, bruised and unsure of what to do once on my feet.  Fortunately, I learned some valuable lessons along the way that helped me survive but thrive. Like a prizefighter, I had to learn how to take a punch from my critics.  On a side note, I never realized that learning could be so painful at certain points!

Failure is the tuition you pay for success. -Walter Brunell

Tip: Be prepared for some “pushback” about you, your experience, your product or service(s), and any other random objection you might hear from potential clients. While getting dressed each morning, be sure to put on your (emotional) bulletproof vest because you are going to take a few shots. I just hope that they are not fatal! Take some time to enjoy the ride because it will certainly feel like one at times.  The magic happens on the other side when you continue to push forward.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, so stay focused, keep grinding and do not quit!

It is about progress not perfection!


Devin Hughes is a former college basketball player, sales, marketing and personal branding aficionado, professional speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations.  He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world.  He is a graduate of Colgate University; he lives in Southern California with his wife and four daughters.  Follow him on Twitter.  Connect with him on Facebook and Linkedin.  His website is http://www.devinchughes.com/