For the movers and shakers

Own that personal brand baby!

Hi there guys! Been thinking about my job of late, as you do in lieu of counting sleep sheep and, in lieu of being the recipient of a fabulous inheritance or lotto win or a cashed up retiree, it’s the one thing for which I get my shit-kickers on and show up. Every day. For many of you out there, often on weekends, and for the self-employed it’s 24/7 ‘game on’.

Been thinking too about how that job can suddenly disappear. Gone. Often without warning. Redundant through a takeover, merger or close down – gone. So too, my work email address, mobile phone and contacts and, unless I’ve actively maintained my ‘brand’ in the working world, my identity. I can become invisible. Even when showing up, we can still be invisible to the world beyond our work bubble. Well, not anymore my friend for that’s the stuff I coach folk on. Being visible. Problem is, not everyone feels comfortable with the concept.

I’m a private person, I don’t feel comfortable ‘marketing’ myself


Regardless of whether you are gainfully employed or currently in the job market my lovely reader, this post is designed to help you kick the “I’m a private person, and I don’t feel comfortable ‘marketing’ myself” last century self-talk to the wolves and step up, shape up your personal brand and ‘own’ it!

Let’s face it; companies spend millions on advertising to build and maintain their brand image. Well, we too are a brand. We are the CEO of our brand, accountable for our brand’s professionalism, the curators of our brand’s marketing. And as social media and professional social networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook Page (not to be confused with Facebook Social) continue to emerge, even more so. (In fact, not being active on certain platforms tells something about you!)

Today we have an endless number of possibilities to build, strengthen or recreate our personal image. The question is not whether you want to be a brand, but whether you want to shape it yourself or let others do that for you!

‘Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room’

Two friends shared their personal branding benefits:

I started building my personal brand online with the help of Google +, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and my website blog long before I became an independent public speaker. Sharing successes, posting video, images and summaries of conferences I presented at, writing articles on the customer experience including my own, customer delight being the premise of all my work. Doing this showed my network that I’m an expert in that field – this helped me to prepare the ground and find clients.” (Matt)

“I‘m working as an account manager at a technical company that offers project management software. As I’m interested in fashion, I post and write regularly about the latest tech trends in that industry on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. My boss sensed that my knowledge in that industry was of value due to my client portfolio garnering more and more fashion companies, and thus assigned new customers coming from the fashion industry directly to me.” (Clare)

You can see that building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. But when you are ready to invest some time in these steps, your career will benefit from it in ways you probably can’t even imagine now!

Six simple steps – interested?

Build your Personal Brand in Six Steps

1. A Personal Branding Statement

Concise and to the point, a personal branding statement shows who you are and what you have to offer. As you develop your statement, think about the following:

  • What are you good at, passionate about and thoroughly enjoy doing? (skill + interest = strength)
  • What makes you stand out from your peers? e.g. Your bubbly personality? Your ability to communicate complex things in simple language? Your problem-solving skills? Your eye for finding smarter ways to tackle tasks? Your ‘can-do’ attitude?
  • How do you want to make a difference? What superpowers have you used in your past and present roles and how have they benefited employers and clients?
    What do others say that you do exceptionally well?
  • What were the most important work-related projects that you completed – how did you master them? Did you collaborate with others? Have to be resourceful? Take risks? Did you have to be creative and think of new approaches, come up with new solutions? Use your network? Now identify three attributes that are common to the way you completed the projects.

Once determined you’re almost there. Compose that line and pop it above your Career Summary in your Resume, under your name in your LinkedIn profile, in the LinkedIn summary, your Facebook, Twitter, under your email signature, etc.

2. Backup that Statement

Until you have proof, your personal brand is merely hearsay. Think about all the times you used those attributes and jot down the challenges/situations you were addressing; the specific actions you took to address them and the quantifiable outcome of those actions. You now have yourself a few fantastic achievements to back up your brand statement. Add these to your Resume, LinkedIn summary, etc.

3. Audit

Now that you know how your brand looks and feels, it’s time for an audit! Enter Google. Search your name and see who shares it. If your name is common, consider using your middle initial or middle name. From there, push yourself to Google’s first page and ahead of that competition by building your brand through content on other platforms such as Google+, Instagram and Facebook Page, always with your branding byline included in your profile summary. The more active you are on your social media platforms the closer you will appear at the top. Using a consistent profile picture helps, too.

4. Consider a Personal Website

Having a personal website is not only one of the best ways to rank your name on Google; it also looks professional in your email signature and on your social media profile. It doesn’t need to be content rich. A simple site with content similar to your resume with links to other social platforms and a short bio is enough. Over time you can add a blog or a Twitter feed, YouTube links, publishes papers, anything relevant to supporting your brand message. You can also add some lines about your personal life – it gives people something to connect with instantly. Here’s mine  Jane Telford

5. Add (focused) value

Now that your brand is taking shape, the fastest way to establish yourself as an expert in your world of work is to share articles aligned with your brand message. You can do this by following Influencers, Channels and Media in LinkedIn. Be picky about the things you post, consistent in your chosen fields of interest and conscientious of the value you can provide your connections. Content that not only shows your expertise but also is of interest to your (potential) followers. Where possible, select a nugget that interested you in the article and comment as you share. Much more personable than merely on-sharing.

6. Influence!

Now the brand has been established, has been backed up with proof and further reinforced through content sharing on social media sites, being an actual contributing author can add further value to your brand. Consider using the blog application on social media platforms or even creating your own and using a savvy application to share your content automatically across all your social media platforms.

These are the steps that will help you to build your personal brand. It takes consistency and ongoing “construction” to keep the flame under your brand alight, but once you set up the basics, the brand will work for you and open new doors!

Last but not least – you can take a look at strong personal brands like Richard Branson, Andy Foote, Lets Grow, for inspiration. If you are my candidate and reading this, we are already well on the way to building a strong personal brand for that’s my expertise, my personal brand in action. We just need your story to be told right and in a unique way! Your personal brand – sharp, focused and most importantly, visible!

If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me here:  LinkedIn: Jane Telford


Listen up gals!

Listen up gals! A few too many of you have been lamenting the struggles of holding your own in the work environment of late. Cases in point –  an Engineer fighting to establish credibility in her typically male-dominated industry, a banking professional consistently denied the opportunity to drive major projects due to her need for parentally driven flexible hours. Both exceptionally qualified, both exhausted, both hemorrhaging confidence. Bet it’s no surprise to you (and them) that some of the world’s most successful people have also braved the same tough road. Suffering the same fate? Well gals, I’ve sourced a few fantabulous quotes to help you get back to kicking ass – read on:

1.The Universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if you can find them.” – Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic

2. “Just because you feel fear doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Do it afraid.” – Joyce Meyer

3.Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

4.Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn

5.I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – Eric Roth

6.If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

7.Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

8.If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl

9.Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford

10.We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

Feeling better now?  Would love to hear your favourites – why not jump into the comments section and share. (Image – Christina Hendricks – Mad Men – Getty Images)

Image from Getty - Mad Men

Attention span of a Goldfish?

Who eats lunch at the desk while cracking a bunch of emails? Who attempts to answer random colleague questions while in the middle of a strain brain project? Who responds to personal text messages during a teleconference? Who views work emails while lip syncing headphone fed Sam Smith on the home commute? Yep! Guilty as charged. And I bet you do too. It’s called multi-tasking, and we all do it, but is it good or bad?

Multitasking – good or bad?

I asked the question of my work colleagues and the overwhelming response was – It’s good ‘cos it’s the only way I can get through all my work! If you’re echoing the same sentiment, it’s time to hit the pause button for, according to Susan Pearse, co-author of One Moment Please – It’s Time to Pay Attention –  attempting to multi-task is actually slowing us down.

Pearse says ‘We are living in an environment where distractions are growing and change is speeding up, and as we spend more and more time doing things, we are spreading our attention too thinly, which makes us less efficient’. She has a point. Think about this:

  • We are now exposed to enough information to fill 174 newspapers on any given day, yet our brain can only process 0.001% of this information.**
  • We now do one thing while thinking about another on average 47% of the time.
  • In the past five years alone, our attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds to eight.*

We now have a shorter attention span than a Gold Fish!*

According to the research, it can take twice as long to do two things at once. As emphasised by Pearce, multi-tasking results in things missed, mistakes being made, relationships becoming disconnected and, what’s more, has been found to be damaging to the part of the brain that’s responsible for positive feelings. Stands to reason that when we give our total attention to a task, we bring our full potential to that task (or person). Do it once, do it well and we are likely to feel far more satisfied.

But what to do if we are one of ‘those’  multitasking ‘failures’?

For starters, eating while we work is a productivity myth. Take even a five-minute break and connect with nature and we’ll perform far better in the afternoon.

If people are asking questions while you’re doing something, either politely ask them to come back in 10 minutes or, take a big deep breath, spin that chair to face them and give them your full attention. The key lies in switching our attention completely, not dragging it to this task while it’s still processing the previous one.

The average person checks their phone every four minutes (study by Teckmark). Avoid the distraction by moving it out of sight. Same with the daily home commute. Our attention is a limited resource; we often use it up during the day then have nothing left to give our people at home. Instead use that time to rest and recover.

Open plan offices are like beehives buzzing with distractions, so it’s important to manage our personal attention. It requires discipline but is well worth it for the most productive, happy workers are those who focus on the things that really matter.

Implement just one of these solutions and I guarantee you’ll have made one significant difference to your well-being. Well go on, what are you waiting for?

John Hamm - Mad Men

*You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish – Time

**’Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain’ – New York Times.

Getty images – John Hamm – Mad Men

Ten Super-Dooper Confidence Builders

Don’t know about you, but there are occasions when I find myself wanting to stay under the Doona (delivering new workshop content to an unknown audience); sneaking off to the foyer with champers and iPhone (networking events); feign a foreign disease (when the boss’s boss’ boss arrives in town) – get the picture? Confidence is a vital ingredient when going about our business both professionally and personally yet on occasion we dig deep and just can’t find it.


Resolutions? Yeah baby!

365 new days – 365 new chances

Just love a brand new year don’t you? A fresh chapter, an opportunity to regroup, re-energise, re-set the button on life. Health, wealth, relationships, lifestyle, knowledge, career, spiritual – whatever the focus, a chance to make good, improve or simply enhance with one or two resolutions.

Given my 2016 New Year Resolution list was heavy on self-indulgence – Netflix marathons to catch up on missed gigs; French lessons to grapple the lingo; monthly massages to iron out tired muscles and so on – found myself in serious need of a tad more challenge. A Google journey brought up Richard Branson’s latest. I’m not talking the ‘fly to the moon’ stuff here, I’m talking the more gentle stuff. Read on for a few life changing options…



It’s Monday! Go get ’em Tiger!

Big week ahead? Well you’re gonna need a tad of inspiration to kick start that kick ass attitude of yours now aren’t you. Well here’s my top 12 favourite Steve Jobs quotes chosen just for you…

About that job of yours

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

If you haven’t found it yet

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Fearing failure?

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.”

Quality in all that you do

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”

For when it’s getting scary

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

“My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each others’ negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.”

Focus my friend, focus

“That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

 And remember…

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Now go get ’em tiger! 

To-Do Lists v Soul Satisfiers…

I have a ‘to-do’ list. It’s stored on a tidy little app called Reminders’ that follows me across all my devices serving as constant…well…’reminders’. The angel sitting on my left shoulder gently chides…tick off those pesky ‘to-do’ items and you can have your chilled Champers reward sweetheart. Her arch nemesis on the other swishes his tail and mutters ‘Nah!…pour those bubbles bitch, the list can wait!

Tired of listening to the two of them bickering, I realised drastic measures were required STAT!

If you’re anything like me, I bet you’re not satisfied with your to-do list either. Always growing, never completed, a constant source of stress yet an essential element of both work and leisure…sigh! Well according to entrepreneur Robyn Scott, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Instead of an endless list of tasks, Robyn has a sweet little trick that will completely change how you think about your to-dos. Her suggestion? Make your tasks emotional – create a few categories that appeal to how doing that task makes you feel. For example: “highly helpful” for introductions and advice giving, “basic decency” for thank you notes and keeping promises, or “massive relief” for tax returns and booking travel.

Well I adopted her suggestion. ‘This Week’, This Month’, ‘Today’, ‘Goals’ and other mundane titles that blurred into one endless nag have now morphed into a bunch of fun expectations. ‘Manners Minder‘ takes care of RSVPs, thank you’s, non urgent responses , ‘Reputation Saver‘ for anything legalese, ‘Ass Kicker‘ kicks procrastinator ’roundtuits’ to the curb and ‘Legend Maker‘ deals with bite sized chunks of larger goals. ‘Culture Craver‘ reminds me to book those art, theatre, musical events, ‘Money Grabber‘ tops up the coffers with voucher claims, refunds, tax time and ‘Soul Satisfier‘ reminds me to take time for me – a massage, facial, coffee with a friend.

Alex Cavoulacos ‘A Mind-Blowing New Way to Think About Your To-Do List‘ (The Muse) suggests making the emotion dramatic. Alex uses headings like ‘triumphant,’ and ‘massive relief,’ for she finds this increases the allure. She also experiments with fun and fear – sometimes states or emotions on her list might be positive, at other times she might use terms like ‘avoids physical and psychological meltdown,’ ‘keeps you on the right side of the law.’ 

Procrastination gone and a satisfying tick against each of my emotionally focused items…oh wait? Did I just hear the gentle popping of a Champagne cork?

Image kindly borrowed from Pinterest posted by My Lovely Diaries Blog

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