One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in personal branding is investing time, energy, and mental resources in becoming someone you are not. At this point, you are just branding someone else. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to notice it, as you might be busy trying to adjust to a certain environment around you and putting your own needs on hold. Being yourself is the hardest job in the world but at the same time the most rewarding.
Two years into the pandemic and I recently tested positive for Covid, I have always been a late adopter. While recovering, I binge-watched a couple of TV shows and one of my favorites is the AppleTV+ docu-series WeCrashed. It tells the real-life story of WeWork's rise and fall, in the center of it is an entrepreneur Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah Neumann.
Adam's personal brand is very attractive. He speaks with a unique accent, has an eccentric personality, and makes crazy decisions – a true maverick-type personality. Ironically it is his wife that stole the show for me. In business and life, she is portrayed as Adam's spiritual muse that helps him manifest billions of dollars. One day she met a branding consultant Jonathan Mildenhall. Here is how their conversation went:
“J: Do you want to be a muse? R: I have to say... I wanna be in Vanity Fair. J: Vanity Fair is not for muses. It's for mavericks and magicians. R: Then I wanna change my answer.""
I don't know how their conversation developed further. I wish she wouldn't want to change her answer. If being a muse is one's calling, then why not be the world's greatest one? Yet, muses' destiny is to stay in the shadows. Often, not the most appreciated role in the demanding, high achievers environment.
In my early career years, I experienced a huge inner conflict with myself. I tried very hard to fit in an environment that required me to have a different personality. I had to be aggressive and perform every task with perfection. When I look back and think about why I took that role, the only answer that comes to my mind is that I didn't know myself very well and I just let stereotypes about how success looks shape me.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Have you felt that you have to match at least a Rebel, a Maverick, an Entertainer, or a Pioneer archetype to make it in this world? The power of personal branding lies in discovering your true identity and celebrating and cherishing the parts of you that are special and that make you stand out from the rest.