This is Part 2 of a 4-part series on Why Your Personal Brand Needs a Mindset Shift. You can find the first installment here. Check back next week for our next section on why your personal brand is not about you.


You’ve probably heard the adage “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The idea is that, in order to get to a place you want to go, you need to act the way that you would when you get there.

Its the same with your personal brand.

Being average, playing it safe or blending in with the crowd is no way to define your personal brand. Rather, normal is not enough. Effective brands take risks, stand out effectively and put in the hard work.

Be different: take a risk

Its easy to avoid risk. That’s how the vast majority of people live their life. They settle, they conform and they don’t raise their hands. To effectively brand yourself, you need to take a stand. Identify your target audience and tell them something that you believe in. This can be as simple as offering a different solution in a meeting to declaring your political affiliations. Remember, while your brand encompasses the totality of you, its best to take risks in arenas that are relevant to your target audience!

Be different: stand out effectively

Taking a risk is a good start – it makes you different and rare. And those are the two characteristics you really need to emphasize to stand out effectively. Three easy ways to stand out are to look different, to come from a different angle or source (think phone rather than email) and to have a radically different offering (think alternative solutions). The key is to differentiate yourself without being so different that you alienate your target audience. Its okay to alienate some people, but your

Be different: put in the hard work

Very often, when we look around at the things that we want to achieve or the people that we’d like to emulate, we fail to see all of the hard work associated with it. We see the polished speaker without the hours of practice and years of vocabulary training. We see the fancy title and corner office without hearing about the evenings spent in the office. And, we see the successful blogger without seeing the skipped sleep while they were writing their posts. In other words, what do you need to do, in the background, to make your brand look effortless? Even though, we both know, its not.

Normal isn’t going to cut it.

It doesn’t match your ambition. It doesn’t match your agenda. It doesn’t match your brand. It doesn’t even match your shirt.

When you decide that normal is, indeed, not enough it will suddenly be easier to take that risk, to stand out effectively and, most of all, to put in the hard work, behind the scenes.

Make the mindset shift. Normal is not enough. After all, your brand isn’t average.