Kevin Goodwin

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When the brand others have made for you overwhelms the real you, how do you re-brand yourself as yourself?

Anyone who has been successful, at any level, lives for a time with a Halo Effect (a public brand) around them. Some people shake that brand off quickly, others choose to relish in it for a time, for a while, and some for a lifetime. This question is for those who have lived with that brand and internalized that brand for some period of time. If you have taken the steps to re-brand yourself, how did you do it? If you are in the process of re-branding, what are you doing now? If you haven't yet started the process, what do you think it would take?

  • Mar 18 2012: Family, old friends, teammates, and people outside the area responsible for branding you help you get back to your roots and the real you. Volunteering anonymously or doing something you like to do anonymously might also bring you back to center. the trick is to not believe the hype and have a good sense about your skills, abilities, motivations and core values at all times. Everything else is either interpretation of observations, speculation, or just fictitious accounts of what other believe to be the truth rather than what you know the truth to be.
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    Mar 18 2012: You don't rebrand yourself because people brand you.
    You rebrand yourself when it is needed. Like when those things that make people brand you certain way no longer works for you... makes you unhappy.. or unproductive.

    So to me...
    It is just a regular adaptation to life and work. It's just a flowchart of self improvement. New challenges.. assess yourself... swot kinda analysis and deal with it... what you can change you change... what you can't you either negotiate or get help. And as I'm changing people will give me new nick name... *smile*
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    Mar 15 2012: Have you heard of the Klout influence report? I ran it on myself and sadly found out that my internet persona is that of "Observer". I am far away from being a Mover and Shaker. On reflection, though, I've decided to own it. I am a natural introvert. I do sit back and absob my surroundings before I speak. Being a sharp observer in these chaotic times can be a hot commodity. What would be most excellent is to be heard those few times I do choose to speak up.

    Great thought-provoking subject, thanks.
  • Mar 12 2012: I am not sure that re-branding can be done in it's entirety through a shift in physical environment alone. In my opinion, the first step to re-branding is to try to remove the idea that you have anything to lose by doing so. One of the most frustrating things about success is that instead of giving you confidence it can also make you feel more pressurised to continue on a certain path to more of the same kind of success even though that may not be what you desire.

    At a certain point, success of a certain kind begins to shift from wholesome and empowering to controlling and at that stage it needs to be seen as a poison. Not recognising this shift is ignoring the natural urges of re-branding simply because we become too comfortable in existing success and we allow fear to spawn self-doubt.

    Also, I want to question the importance of the term 're-branding'. Any change in perspective, activites etc of a person that come from sincere personal development in a person will show through and the way you are perceived will change. Instead of approaching it externally as a process of re-branding, I want to suggest personal growth and development be the main issues here. How do we use success constructively as a growing force rather than an eventual constricting force?
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      Mar 13 2012: I like your take on the discussion. The constricting aspects of success are rarely discussed. The whole "if it ain't broke" mentality belies that the reality that we are evolving and growing beings and what worked for a situation or an individual in one iteration or period may not suit them later. We may have diverged somewhat in the personal development discussion. When dealing with relationships and organizations, it is important to remember that we cultivate our role and changes don't simply effect us but everyone. In many situations, though the relations be varied and valued, there is a need for a gradual re-branding to assist their acceptance. Unless you are willing to detach from all relations previous, you run the risk of alienating those closest to you by undergoing significant changes without bringing them along.
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        Mar 13 2012: Becoming something different is not quite the same challenge, I think, as giving others the impression of having changed or of now being different from people's former impression. I took your question about rebranding not as a question about changing yourself but rather as being recognized by others as different from their former impressions. I believe those in the discussion who have recommended a change of scene or associations were thinking that first impressions are powerful and that coming across in a new way is easiest when you are coming across to people with out prior ideas of who you are and what you are like. But changing your context, as you say, will not change who you actually are. Changing how you actually are and behave toward others- personal development, perhaps, is not quite the same problem. As an example, I can think of two people I have known in leadership positions who were, in fact, highly controlling, and received that way by others, who wanted others to take them as collaborative and egalitarian. Rebranding themselves without actually changing did not work for them, because who they actually were could not hide. Using that example, I understood your question to ask more what if you are truly one way but you have been wearing a mask professionally because you had concluded that the culture of the organization demanded it? Now what if you want to be authentic at work and convey to people that this you is the real you?
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    Mar 12 2012: I think how to handle this depends on what aspects of your public brand you mean to change or mean to reject. For example, a person's brand may include both personal attributes and areas of competency. If you are happy to retain the personal dimensions of your brand but want to shift into a new area of substantive focus or competency, you may be able to do this by expanding on how others may perceive you rather than replacing their impression of you. On the other hand, if your public brand includes a set of personal attributes that either never were "you" or no longer are "you." you are in the situation of wanting to change people's views of you rather than to expand them.
    Could you give an example of the sort of difference you are thinking about? A scientist who has always been an artist on the side and wants to be considered an artist has a different re-branding job ahead than someone who may have been perceived as "by the book" and now wants to be considered flexible, a person who has a reputation as tough who now wants to be considered gentle, a person who has been aggressive who no longer wants to be considered that way, a person who has been considered authoritarian or "top down" who now wants to be considered collaborative and grassroots...
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      Mar 13 2012: Fritzie, in this regard I refer to personal aspects of brand apart from areas of competency. The best example I can think of is akin to a person going through therapy and coming out to realize that "I need to deal with and accept confrontation" or "I am more important than what I can offer others" or "I demean myself by succumbing to others perceptions". You can see how those realizations and the changes that would likely accompany maintaining those changes would have a dramatic impact on that person's relationships (both personal and professional).
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    Mar 12 2012: Some random ideas:
    Move towns or countries.
    Refresh the people around you.
    Try some new group activity, meet some new people - meditation class or book club or cycling group, volunteer etc
    Change jobs.
    Consciously Practice the behaviours you want as part of your brand. Model behaviours you admire.
    Be authentic. You can be your best self or build up some of the personal dimensions that you already possess (we are multifaceted) but there is likely to be dissonance if we pretend to be someone we are not.
    It takes a while but gradually people will adjust their perceptions/beliefs about you
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      Mar 13 2012: Obey, having done these things I can tell you that each has the potential to work but few work in practice. New locations rarely change our habits, if the change is going to happen it is as good to happen in place as anywhere.
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        Mar 16 2012: Hi Kevin. Good point. I guess when move we don't leave ourselves behind. We don't suddenly become new people.
  • Mar 15 2012: If you want them to re-brand you, you have to pay no atention to the branding you've been given and carry on doing what it is you're doing. This will prove their branding wrong and get them to re-brand you and they will do it wrongly most of the times... in fact I could say always, but you have to live with that
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    Mar 15 2012: Randy, I like your approach and it does work. The question is when it WAS something that I DID make myself out to be. Not to say that they got a mistaken impression, but that it was something that I did portray though it wasn't the whole story. Hell, the more I talk about this subject it sounds similar to a homosexual person coming out of the closet.
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    Mar 15 2012: Just tell people, straight up, no pussying out, that you're not who they're making you out to be.
    • Mar 15 2012: Telling won't get them to re-brand you, I think, you have to DO in order to have an impact and shatter the previous branding
  • Mar 13 2012: technically, in order to completely define yourself, you must know everything you're not.

    So unless you're capable to figure out everything in the world you are not, you'll never be. You don't need to rebrand yourself, you have to accept yourself.
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      Mar 15 2012: Rob, there is a reason the question was phrased as a brand, as opposed to a definition. I don't know that anyone is ever fully defined, or can be. Yes, personal acceptance is the first part.