Join Lida Citroën for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding your current brand, part of Translating Your Military Skills to Civilian Workplace.
- What if the last interviewer you met with described you as pushy and arrogant. Would that surprise you? How would you feel about that? What if you got feedback that somebody said that they felt you were unfocused and maybe not seen as valuable, because when they asked you the question "What can you do for our company?" You replied, "Whatever you need, ma'am." The reality is you have a personal brand. And your personal brand is the perception that people have created based on how you've interacted with them.
Your personal brand is your reputation and in my opinion, it is the most valuable asset you have when it comes to designing and enhancing your career. It's how people feel about working with you or potentially working with you. Your personal brand, your reputation is what sets you apart. It's what describes your uniqueness. It involves the story of what led you to your career in the military and what you're looking to do next. Your personal brand is that asset that makes you, you and that tells someone why you're valuable.
But there's an important part of personal branding that we can't bypass. And that is credibility. If I had a dime for every time somebody wanted me to help brand them in ways that they weren't credible, well I'd be very rich. But the reality is there is only one way to build credibility. And that is this formula: you tell me what you value and you put action to it. In order to be credible, you have to articulate your values. And this is where is starts getting tricky. Personal branding is very simple, but it's not easy. And it starts getting tricky because you have to figure out what your values are.
I can't tell you what you believe in or what you should hold out as your values. You have to design that. And then, you have to show proof. So when i first started working with military, I was passionate about gratitude, about giving back, about helping those who've served our country. My values were very clear. But I had no credibility in the space because I hadn't done anything about it. I had no proof that those values were actually values and not just lip service. When I started working with military, either active duty on military installations or in some of the writing and the speaking that I do.
When I started counseling individual veterans one-on-one and when I wrote my book, then all of a sudden people said "She values this and she's got action. "Now she's credible." I'll give you another example. The value part gets really tricky when you start thinking about yourself and the things that you believe in. I worked with a gentleman about a year ago and we were in a very secure military installation facility in Florida. And I asked him the question "What are your values?" And he said "Ma'am, my values all center around honesty." I said "Fantastic, I get that.
"Tell me what honesty means to you." He said "Honesty is always telling the truth, "always saying the right truth, my truth, "the absolute truth, no matter what." Okay, I understand that. I said "Do you have children?" And he said "Yes ma'am, I have a 12 and a 13-year-old." I said "How did you handle "the whole Santa Claus conversation?" Because honesty's a big part of his values, right? And he hemmed and hawed and got a little bit nervous. And I said "Okay, I'll let you off the hook." I said "Let me ask you this. "What if we left the building right now.
"We walked outside the gates and there were camera crews, "and they wanted to ask a question about "a rumour that they had heard circulating "inside the gates where we were. "How would you answer that?" Because I know that if he answered the question honestly, he would not only be fired, but probably arrested. And that really challenged his definition of honesty. And the exercise wasn't designed to get him to feel uncomfortable, but really push back on what you might think your values are because you think they're the right thing to say. I want you to come up with values that speak to your heart, that are so core to your moral fiber and DNA that if they weren't there, you wouldn't be you.
I want you to think about your belief system, and then I want you to look for examples in your past, in your experience set, in your military career and especially when you go forward that articulate that, that highlight that those values are things that you would defend. That's how you earn credibility. You earn credibility as a big thinker, as a thought leader, as an innovator, as a team leader, as a coach. By being able to articulate those values and put action towards it.