If you’ve followed my insight into the benefits of developing your personal brand, you know that one of the reasons I believe you create a personal brand strategy is to help you filter decisions. Your personal brand gives you a roadmap to become intentional and thoughtful as you move from “who you are today” to “who you ultimately want to be” and how you want to be remembered. This roadmap provides a set of criteria through which you can filter important decisions.

I remember a few years ago when my business was only a couple years old. The economy was terrible, my friends were being laid off from high profile jobs across the country, and work was scarce.  At this time, I was approached by a local financial company to help them create a new brand platform for their firm. They were interviewing local consultants, and decided my firm was the best fit. They liked my approach, pricing, ability to work quickly and track record.

The problem for me was that I didn’t feel we were a match. To anyone looking on, it seemed an ideal situation for my growing business. The fee was great!

But I didn’t see just the fee. I saw the people and the values and the beliefs of the firm, which did not line up with the people, values and beliefs that bring out my best work, and help me to grow as an individual and a professional.

  • I worried that if I took on this assignment, against my intuition, that my other clients might pay the price for my being busy and distracted (and uninspired).
  • I was concerned about this firm’s ability to recommend me to my ideal types of clients (they were not). People tend to know people who are like them. Would these executives refer me to people like them?
  • Most of all, I did not see a path from where I was to where I need to be in my desired brand and reputation by working with this firm. To me, this seemed to be a detour.

I politely and professionally turned the job down. They were shocked (“Have you seen the economy?!”). But I knew it was the right thing for me to do, for the right reasons. This was not the client that was going to move me forward.

Almost as if scripted, once I made this decision and went back to the business of my business, work started to flow towards me. Great projects! Passionate clients! Interesting assignments. Was it divine intervention? Laws of attraction? Personal branding success?

I use this example to illustrate how a personal brand provides a filter for decision making – from partnerships to client relationships to jobs to marketing yourself. Given the options, I will filter decisions and options though the criteria I set to manage my reputation.

This does not mean that if my family was starving and my home was facing foreclosure I might have made different choices. We have to include reality in our journey. But had I needed to take this work to survive, I would have done so by choice. I would have reconciled my personal brand strategy to accept this choice, and not seen it as a detour.

Being conscious and intentional about the choices you make – and don’t make – is empowering and necessary to move in the direction of your desired reputation.

To learn more about personal branding and reputation management, please visit my website.