By: Lionel Lim
I used to think my life was a tragedy, but now I realise it’s a Shakespearean comedy.
Hi, my name is Lionel Lim…
…let me share a short story about myself…
My father had passed away from cancer.
I became head of the family unwillingly.
All the bills, payments, expenses, expectations came to me.
I fell into depression as I hated my life and could not cope with this new role which I did not ask for.
Plus I hated my job…
…and I was told during one of my annual health checkups by the doctor I had high blood pressure.
I was so young. I didn’t want to die.
Looking back, I had hit life’s lowest ebbs.
No one expected me to go far in life because the odds seemed stacked against me…
But somehow I made it. And I am now having the last laugh.
This looks like a script from a movie. But it’s my actual life story.
“So Lionel, what is the number 1 skill that has enabled you to make it?”
I don’t have to think long and hard.
It’s personal branding.
I have single-handedly built my personal brand to become one of the most recognised in Singapore without any experience, financing, or fancy network of Godfathers helping me behind the scene.
I always say this — I may not be the biggest, fittest or smartest. But I am the one who is able to outclass, outshine and outlast all the others.
How I went from invisible to visible…
How I went from being a face in the crowd to being the face the crowd faces…
I owe it all to personal branding.
Ok, so what is personal branding? Let me give you an analogy.
There are three types of people in the world: Those who wait for the ship, those who swim to the ship, and those who build the ship.
Too many people in the world are sitting around and waiting for their ship to come in.
They’re like toddlers in high chairs, helplessly waiting to be spoon-fed opportunity, then crying when it doesn’t automatically appear. When time goes by, you get sidelined or forgotten.
There are also a lot of people swimming to the ship. They are at least taking action, but it’s not the right kind that will propel their life to the next level.
How would you know if the ship you are swimming to will take you in? It could be full and reject you. It could also turn out to be a pirate ship you are attempting to board…or the next incarnation of the ill-fated Titanic.
If you rationalize everything, it’s the people building the ships who are crushing it…who are making it to the top, who are shattering the proverbial glass ceiling.
And the ship this final group of people are building is this ship called “personal branding”.
You always have the power to choose the course of your own life.
So if you’re not where you want to be, hoping and wishing isn’t gonna cut it. You need to get out there are create the opportunities you need. In short, you need to get out there and build your ship.
The question I have for you is: what are you doing to boost your own personal brand mojo?
If your answer is you don’t know where or how to start, then you are in luck!
Big brands are everywhere – some prominent examples are Apple, McDonalds, Starbucks, Singapore Airlines and Gucci. We identify with the brands because they have created significant mindshare in all of us. But less you think the term ‘branding’ applies only to big companies and corporations, think again…
Every individual (yes, that means you and I included) has a personal brand too. Think David Beckham, Beyonce, Lewis Hamilton, Lee Min Ho and all the other public figures we see in the media. They too used to be ordinary people like us before they successfully used their brand to skyrocket their careers in their respective niches. Now that you know this, it still isn’t too late to consciously cultivate your personal brand.
Start thinking of yourself as a brand. And no one else knows your brand better than yourself. And trust me, it will take you places if you do your personal branding correctly. To make it easy to remember, I have coined an acronym ‘SIM’. Just like how your smart phone cannot function without a SIM card, so too do you need to curate a powerful SIM personal brand.
‘S’ Is For Story
Everyone loves a good story. From time immemorial, we have been entertained by stories from different sources – family, society, religion and politics. We especially love stories of how the weak become strong, the skinny becomes fit, the ugly becomes beautiful, the lost gets found and the fallen rise again… Stories attract, entertain and invoke emotions. When you hear a story, you can instantly recall a similar episode in your life or identify it with someone in your life. Stories also embody values we hold dear in our lives.
What is your that one story that makes you stand out from the rest? Remember, your story has to tug at the heartstrings as it connects human beings. And it has to be a true story. In my case, my story is how I have transformed myself from a sickly, skinny and low self-esteemed nerd into a multi-award-winning branding strategist. And my story continues to inspire throughout the years.
‘I’ Is For Image
Perhaps the simplest way to up your brand quotient is to create a desirable image. It is not difficult to do so.
Here’s a quick five-point checklist for you.
• Do you choose styles that flatter your body shape?
• Do you wear your best colours?
• Do you dress accordingly to the occasion?
• Do you feel good wearing what you wear?
• What image do you want to project to others?
First impressions matter huge. Yet interestingly, dressing is both an art and a science. There are certain key rules to follow (like the five-point checklist I gave above) – that’s the science part. Yet, it is also an art because you have the choice to decide how you want to carry yourself. Out of the five-point checklist, I would suggest you pay extra attention to the last point – what image do you want to project to others? In other words, what are some of the connotations people associate your personal brand with? There is a saying that goes – you dress not only for yourself. You also dress for others.
Personally, dressing well has worked wonders for me. People associate me with adjectives like confident, charming, fit. How about you? What are some of the adjectives people have used to describe your brand via your dressing?
‘M’ Is For Message
Is there meaning and method in your message? We get bombarded by messages of all sorts on a daily basis that we learn how to filter easily. And very often, we are closed to ideas, suggestions and proposals. This is because almost all messages are similar in nature. They are attempting to sell us something.
Stop selling and start caring! You are not a salesman. The last thing you want to do is to meet someone new and start selling your product or service. Selling upfront does nothing good for your personal brand. Ask yourself this – will you buy a gym membership from a guy who looks like he has many spare tyres round his tummy? Will you buy cosmetics from the lady behind the counter who does not even apply makeup on her face?
Authenticity is key to everything. Try to fake it and you will never make it. Do you walk the talk? Will you buy YOU? A personal brand can open doors and bring you places if people sense that you are real. When you care, people instantly know you are building a relationship of sorts for the long term. And they feel connected. Only when there is a connection will your message get across successfully.
When crafting your message, ensure your message is laser-targeted at a particular category in your industry rather than the entire industry itself. A good example would be to speak to ladies who want to lose weight or skinny guys who want to build muscles. This is opposed to reaching out to everyone who is into fitness.
As we approach the last month in 2020 and embark on a new 365 day calendar in 2021, I challenge you to start thinking of yourself as a brand. More importantly, start creating a powerful SIM personal brand that will give that extra edge over others so that you will be remembered as the go-to person in your industry. And this will be the only strategy you will need to brand yourself effectively on both social media and Google, as proven by the numerous success stories of my coaching clients and workshop participants.
For more personal branding tips or engage Lionel Lim, visit www.LionelLim.com
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