Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.
‘What does this have to do with personal branding?’, you might ask. Well, the answer is easy. Today, everything is moving so fast that the time it takes to lay down a solid foundation on which we build our personal brand, business etc., is almost always the first thing we skip. And because no one is investing in the necessary groundwork we are all starting off, focusing on the ‘house’ we want to build without ever wondering about the foundation on which we build upon.
“Having a solid ground on which you start laying down your bricks, is as important as the building itself.”
Let me put it this way: followers, likes, comments and engagement, be it in real life or social-media, mean nothing, if you’re fake. Or in other words, if you build on SAND.
Too many of us have our self-esteem and self-worth tied up in our interpretation of the feedback we receive or in the meaning we attached to an event in our past. That is why we play with snapchat filters and end up taking hundreds of selfies just to get the one that looks perfect. So sad.
But to be fair – this is not new.
Many years ago, when I applied for my first job (long before Facebook and Instagram) I had to craft an application consisting of an introductory letter, my resume and some documents that would show my future employer how amazing I was.
And to be honest with you: whenever people received my application letter, it was never the full story. I learned very quickly how to craft my application in such a way that I would look better than I was.
Today I understand that what was driving my action back then was insecurity. My SAND was made of a fear of not being good enough and therefore being rejected. Somehow, I picked up and believed the idea that if I would be real with people and tell them how it is, they would not approve of me. The tricky thing was, I had some really good stories that made me believe that this was actually true.
Before I even turned 16, I learned that my dad was not really my dad but actually my step dad. That meant, my parents and everyone else lied to me for many years. Later, my girlfriend at that time cheated on me and then decided to break up and blame me for it. On top of that, one of my closest friends stood me up and lied about it. And finally, I found out that my best friend was talking trash about me for quite some time.
You see, as a result of the meaning I attached to those events in my past, I had some really great stories that allowed me to become a victim. And so I did.
So, when I set down to craft my application I believed I can’t show them who I am, because they will reject me as everyone else did. That was some pretty bad SAND on which I tried to build up a career, reputation or let’s just call it personal brand.
Today it is no different. Instead of an application letter we have LinkedIn and Xing. What used to be a written letter now we have Instagram Direct Message or Facebook Messanger. Even Email is about to be extinct with an average open rate of about 30%. And finally our beloved photo-booth got replaced by our latest version of the newest iPhone.
With technology advancing dramatically by the minute the amount of feedback we receive is increasing exponentially. And therefore we get ourselves even more tied up in our stories.
Too many of us have our self-esteem and self-worth tied up in our past. In what we “should have or could have done” and in “what did or did not happen”. The stories we created around our past is feeding our present life and keeps repeating itself in the future, unless we stop it.
So many people are ”living their life in bondage” and it’s going to end badly. We’re caught up in a narrative that doesn’t map to who we really are. We believe that ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not strong enough’or ‘I’m not beautiful’… and you are going to lose. Why? Because if you don’t get rid of those beliefs you will never start acting on what I know to be true: you are unique and special!
As most of my audience knows, I feel a real responsibility to change the conversation in our heads. Too many of us are afraid to be real, raw and authentic. Because it comes with admitting to ourselves what we really believe about ourselves. But regardless of how scary it might seem to be, not doing it, not confronting yourself, I promise you, is a mistake.
Instead of crafting your fake image around some stories that make you feel small and insignificant (your SAND), do the work that’s necessary to get rid of it completely and experience being set free. Once you are free you can finally start living life. Then you are building on solid ground. That is what it means to build on STONE.
A hard rock foundation that can not be shaken.
In short, it’s ok if you want to grow, develop and build something for yourself. But pretending to be something you are not, because you believe the real you is not good enough, just to please your girlfriend, boyfriend, boss or best friend, is only holding you back.
You’ve got to stop comparing yourself with others, in real life or in social media. Because when you compare yourself to others, you forget that you’re not them. You are you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made! You are powerful beyond measure!
Nobody else defines you but you. Not me, not your parents and especially not that Instagram account you are following just to feed your insecurity!
Let go of the carefully crafted image, stop judging yourself for who you are, be honest with yourself, face up and find someone to help you to get rid of those lies.
Thanks for reading.