Is your personal branding at risk thanks to your lack of self-awareness?

Imagine if all the work you put into building your personal branding went to waste due to your lack of self-awareness. Don’t skip this post. It will save you future pain and suffering.

Behavior that damages your personal branding

Julie is always excited to meet any high-level professionals and top leaders. She’s a great listener and better questioner. What do I mean? She’s constantly asking candid questions to advance her career. Which is great, because how do you grow unless you ask what you don’t know and request feedback along the way?

Don't miss this post on how to give constructive feedback to your colleagues.

But there’s a fine line between asking for feedback or insights and turning every opportunity into a focus group for your benefit, where everyone becomes your personal advisor. All this without you ever turning around and asking, “What can I do for you?” And doing this meaning it and not as an afterthought. Undoubtedly, this kind of behavior is eventually going to impact your personal branding in a very negative way. How? Well, for starters, your colleagues will quickly catch up and stop providing valuable advice.

If you've invested time and effort in develop your personal branding, you owe it to yourself to become as self-aware as possible.

If you’ve invested time and effort in develop your personal branding, you owe it to yourself to become as self-aware as possible.

It’s a pity though, because Julie has worked hard on her personal branding. She’s invested time, effort and money to become the knowledgeable professional she is. But her chances of success will be acutely diminished by her single focus on her own needs. Her complete lack of awareness of how her behavior affects others’ reaction to her damages her personal brand time and again.

The problem is that if you suffer from lack of self-awareness, how would you know that you’re suffering from it? Well, here are a few signs to help you gain that awareness.

6 signs that your lack of self-awareness is negatively affecting your personal branding

1No matter how hard you try, you can’t get promoted

There are variations of this obstacle. Maybe it’s not that you can’t get promoted but that you can’t get the projects you want. Or the support you need from your bosses to pursue an initiative. Or the air cover when you break the status quo. If you find yourself in any of these or similar situations, take a step back and ask yourself: “Could my personal branding have been compromised?” And then approach someone you trust and candidly ask: “Are there instances when I’m not aware of how I come across that may be jeopardizing my opportunities in the organization.”

Be open to hearing the answer and resist the urge to shoot the messenger. If the person is willing to be honest with you and you penalize them for it, you’ll lose an important future ally.

2You’re kept out of the loop

You’re the last one to find out about your company’s reorg. Or about a new project or a business trip to which you weren’t invited. When your peers and bosses keep you out of the loop, it’s time to wonder whether your personal branding is no longer what you need it to be. Time to find out if you’re known as someone who can’t be trusted with confidential information or to behave in a specific way that’s acceptable in your workplace. And although this is not the only reason why people may be keeping things from you, it’s one you should consider seriously. Personal branding is tied with your reputation. If there’s anything affecting it, you want to address it immediately.

Be aware of your blind spots!

Be aware of your blind spots!

3You have been called a “bully” or other negative epithets in the past

When you push people around, mistreat them, raise your voice or when you act with a sense of entitlement you don’t do yourself any favors. There’s truth to the saying, You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Mistreating people, whether by bullying them or being passive-aggressive, will eventually tarnish your personal branding. This will happen regardless of how good you are at your job. It will come a point where few people will want to work for you or have you on their team. Exercise objectivity and review your last twenty interactions with people at work: Bosses, peers, and your staff. Where you kind? Did you make requests politely or brashly? Did anyone complain to you or others about your treatment? Practicing this 360 review of your interactions will help you become increasingly self-aware. The next step might be to conduct a truly 360 evaluation in your workplace.

4You have an overwhelming need to control

When you micromanage your team, when you have to be briefed on the smallest details of their daily work, it takes your focus away from your own role. It also takes responsibility and accountability off the table for your team, which in turn requires more and more of your supervision. In other words, you create a vicious circle. By becoming increasingly self-aware you will notice when you’re micromanaging and need to back off to let others do their thing. The more you promote self-empowerment and self-motivation, the stronger your personal branding gets. Others will be interested in supporting you, they’ll sing your praises and produce great work for you.

Keep your focus on the results, not on proving that you're right. Your personal brand will be stronger for it.

Keep your focus on the results, not on proving that you’re right. Your personal brand will be stronger for it.

5You always need to be right

If you often find yourself trying to prove to others that you’re right and they are wrong, you’re likely bruising a lot of egos. Not a good thing for your personal brand. Do the best you can and aim for your own excellence while keeping your eyes trained on the results of your work and your team’s work. Who’s right or not is of no consequence when you’re all pursuing the same goal. Insisting all the time that others admit they are wrong will build resentment in the long run. At some point, this behavior will affect your reputation and your ability to land great opportunities.

6You need to point out other people’s mistakes

Very closely connected to the previous item, being the Chief of the Mistake Police can gain you the antipathy of your colleagues. Granted, perfectionists and people who are super detailed oriented suffer in a world of excuses of why things are not as good as they should. Again, there’s a fine line between encouraging your team to be the best and constantly finding what’s wrong with everyone else’s product. Even more so if you are unaware of the mistakes you make. It’s hard to build a powerful personal brand with this kind of attitude.

Your personal branding can easily be affected by your blind spots.

Your personal branding can easily be affected by your blind spots.

If you identify any of these signs in you, it’s safe to assume you lack at least some self-awareness that might be impacting your personal branding. It’s time to look for someone who can shed light into your blind spot so you can correct the behavior ASAP.

After all, none of us is anything without an impeccable personal brand. No time like the present to polish it!








Does your personal brand open or close doors for you?

Your personal brand lives in the minds of others. Just like when you think Starbucks, “coffee” and “predictable taste and quality” come to mind, when someone thinks of you an image forms. What is it? And does it open or close doors for you?

Why is your personal brand relevant in your career? Because if, for example, your network thinks that you are “an ethical accountant with international experience,” you will be the first one they call when an opportunity arises. But if no one has any idea of ​​what you are good at, or if they have doubts about your reputation, it’s unlikely that your phone will ring.

What we call personal brand refers to a combination of elements that include your career path, your interests and your reputation. Over time these elements come together to build your image. An image that is not static but changes according to your activities, passions, and behavior.

Read more about how to find out what your personal brand is.
Your personal brand and you as a human being

Your personal brand and you as a human being

Your personal brand has as much to do with your quality as a human being as with what you do. Think of someone like Shakira. We could define her personal brand as “a talented, innovative and respected singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer and philanthropist.” But when those who might be interested in hiring her think of her, they also consider how easy it is to work with Shakira, what her work ethic is, whether she is a perfectionist, and if she is known for finishing projects on time. Does she treat the people she works with respectfully? And so on. That is, they not only think about what she does but how she does it. And that’s where your reputation comes into play.

Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself. This is the benefit of a powerful personal brand

Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself. This is the benefit of a powerful personal brand

Building your personal brand. An example for you

Here I share my own case study for you to use as an example when evaluating whether your personal brand opens or closes opportunities for you.

1My career – As with most people, my interests have changed throughout my career. I began at an educational book company where I did a little bit of everything. Gradually I started to create programs to involve parents in the education of their children, then developed teacher training, later training for professionals within companies and today I lead a women’s leadership training company. As a writer, each one of my books took me in a slightly different direction. I went from being an expert on parental involvement to an expert in education, from an expert in professional development to an expert in diversity and inclusion.

2My interests – While I have always had multiple interests, my focus has been on the education, and professional development of Latinos in the United States and in the last few years in women’s leadership. If you dig a little, my underlying personal brand has always been: “expert in helping connect the dots to success.” This consistency helps people think of me when they have an opportunity within my areas of interest and experience. Which does not happen when third parties don’t know what you do.

Here's a great video on building your personal brand.

Do others know your personal brand?

Here are the questions that will help you discover how clear your interests are to others.

If you ask someone: “tell me in two sentences what I do professionally,” can they answer? Do you often hear comments like “truthfully, I don’t know what do”? Do ideal opportunities pass you by because people didn’t think of you to carry them out?

When you look carefully, your personal brand is no only what you're known for "doing" but personal traits that remain throughout your career and life.

When you look carefully, your personal brand is no only what you’re known for “doing” but personal traits that remain throughout your career and life.

3My Reputation – Although over the years I have changed the topics I focus on, there are aspects of who I am that have remained the same. They are part of what people have come to expect of me. These characteristics are as much part of my personal brand as what I do at any given moment. They are a collection of adjectives that people use to define me when asked about me. A few of them are: Inspiring, smart, confident, innovative, high energy, solutions-driven, perceptive, thoughtful, trustworthy, goes the extra mile.  Again, What do people think when they think of you? These are the traits you develop and strengthen through your life. The reputation that precedes you. Going back to my previous example, when Shakira launched her perfume line, the “quality and innovation” aspects, which are an integral part of her personal brand, extended to her new venture. That is why, if her perfume were of poor quality, or were a copy of another fragrance, for example, her personal brand would be impacted.

No doubt your reputation is the most important ingredient of your personal brand. If it is not good, no matter how much you have done in a particular field or what your interests are, few will be willing to work with you.

Read more about how your actions can support your personal brand.

Do others know your personal brand

Do others know your personal brand

How to figure out if your reputation contributes to your personal brand

Here are the questions that will help you figure out whether or not your reputation contributes to a strong personal brand:

Do you keep your word? Do you inspire confidence? Are you an ethical person? Do you consider the impact of your behavior on others? Do you know how to work for mutual benefit? Are you known as someone people can trust? Do you have a reputation for being always late? For not delivering on your promises? For not carrying your weight in a project?

Hopefully this article will help you evaluate the type of person you are and how that directly influences the image you project to the world and the opportunities that knock on your door.

And as usual, if you’d like to solidify your personal brand to move to the next level in your career, we are a phone call away. Contact us here.

Dresses for work: 3 fashionable options that will surprise you!

Tired of wearing the same boring outfits to the office? Time to renew your look. Try these three dresses for work to leave an indelible mark!

If you feel that your look doesn’t project your essence and your leadership style, don’t ignore these concerns. You might need to update your image to make the right impression. Here are three dresses for work that are a far cry from the classic office number.

Use your clothes to help people focus their attention on you.

Use your clothes to help people focus their attention on you.

In a recent interview, the fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, former creative director of Givenchy, said that people who are not bold with their working clothes, are unlikely to drive growth for the company for which they work. “When you’re a leader, you need to be heard and anything that helps focus the attention of the people who work for you is key,” he said.

Serge Brunschwig, Chief Operating Officer for Christian Dior, said that, ultimately, people remember how you look and not what you say. “We always say that one image is worth 1,000 words. Leaders are going to use thousands and thousands of words but the way they dress should be used to enhance their speech. Nobody’s going to listen really, so at the end what’s going to stay is the appearance,” he said.

While these statements may be a bit over the top, I want to emphasize the importance of your image as an ally of your professionalism and leadership. And this image that you project through your clothes, should be unique to you. Therefore, it should stand apart from any uniformed looks. Especially if you are still following style parameters created by men for men.

Dresses for work that help you leave your mark

Let me show you some dresses for work with original twists, that move away from the traditional and sometimes boring work attire.

1Bare shoulders

Who said dresses for work don’t leave room for you to be fashionable? Photo:

Who said dresses for work don’t leave room for you to be fashionable? Photo:


The off the shoulder style is the star of this season and you can easily incorporate it into your work wardrobe. Ideally, you can wear it in a classic shade: black, white, brown or nude. Avoid prints if you don’t want to look too flashy. This style is ideal for curvy women and hourglass figures.

Beware not to go overboard with accessories. The beauty of this dress lies in it underscoring your torso. Therefore, it is best to leave that area free of accessories.

If you feel too exposed when wearing skintight dresses for work, you can always throw a blazer on to cover your derriere and hips. Use the one I chose for this occasion as an example.

Don't miss these business casuals dos and don'ts!

2Take a chance with ruffles


Consider dresses for work that can be used for the after hours cocktail party. Photo:

Consider dresses for work that can be used for the after hours cocktail party. Photo:

A woolen cardigan, a cocktail dress and a leather belt in the same look? Yes, I didn’t go nuts. Just creative and bold. Mixing textures and garments that are intended for different occasions is key to putting together a distinctive look.

I invite you to consider this flattering cocktail dress with a cardigan and to finish the look off with a belt, to accentuate your waist. This resource is called layering and is a strong trend this fall-winter season.

3A bit of sparkle on your work outfit won’t hurt

Sometimes, it is good to break the mold with your work wardrobe. Just like I did with this great looking gold dress. Photo:

Sometimes, it is good to break the mold with your work wardrobe. Just like I did with this great looking gold dress. Photo:

Did you buy a wonderful dress for a formal dinner and you have never used it again because you can’t find the right opportunity to wear it? Take it to the office! Yes! Make the most of your investment and wear that outfit to work and feel like a diva.

Obviously, make sure the dress is not too elegant or too provocative (super short or with a plunging neckline, for example) or that it’s not covered with paillettes.

A perfect dress for work. Combine it with a smooth coat to give it a more formal touch.

A perfect dress for work. Combine it with a smooth coat to give it a more formal touch.

“When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it,”explained Professor Karen J. Pino, University of Hertfordshire, UK, in her book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion.

In the studies conducted by this expert, one participant admitted: ““If I’m in casual clothes I relax and am tomboyish, but if I dress up for a meeting or a special occasion, it can alter the way I walk and hold myself.”

As you see, what you wear has the power to change your mood and your self-confidence. So, opt for dresses for work that make you feel attractive, and that reflect the charisma and leadership that make you unique and successful.

And if you need some help developing or strengthening key leadership skills, it may be time to explore our Step Up program.

Art of Self-Promotion – Principles, Strategies & Your Script

The art of self-promotion, is essential for success. Find out the main principles that rule this leadership competency, the winning strategies and how to create an influential conversation about your value.

In my last self-promotion post we discussed how essential a leadership competency it is. Today, I’m sharing with you insights on the art of self-promotion than few people reveal. Let’s get started.

Part of mastering the art of self-promotion is to learn to include the contributions of others as you naturally weave-in yours in a conversation.

Part of mastering the art of self-promotion is to learn to include the contributions of others as you naturally weave-in yours in a conversation.

Principles to Help you Embrace the Art of Self-Promotion

The art of self-promotion is strongly anchored in your personal brand. And in order to brand yourself you must first understand your personality, passions, interests, and talents. Performance alone won’t speak for itself. Self-promotion is a leadership competency that is essential for communicating your talent and establishing your credibility.

  1. First, ‘know thyself’ – Understand your personal value proposition. Authenticity is the foundation of the art of self-promotion. It provides you with the confidence you need to communicate the value you add to the organization. A little later, I will provide an exercise to allow you to write a clear script that identifies your strengths in ways that speak to the language of business outcomes. Your personal value proposition should be complimentary to the business needs, and in alignment with others’ goals and interests. Including others on your self-promotion formula can help you minimize, or avoid, resentment. Your personal value proposition should encompass past achievements, current impact, and future potential contributions.
  1. No one climbs Everest alone – There is a myth that self-promotion means to advocate for oneself. In other words that it’s about stating ‘just the facts/ just MY facts’. But the reality is that there are a variety of different methods you can use to showcase your talents. Speaking about your teams’ accomplishments is another effective way to expand your own leadership and gain visibility. By doing so, you indirectly showcase your judgment, decision-making skills, and contributions while you promote others.

5 Key Strategies to Ace the Art of Self-Promotion

To strategically, and healthily self-promote, as well as endorse and promote others consider these actions:

1Personal Board of Directors (Sponsor, Mentor, and a Peer Advisor): Create a group of support to ensure you have people with your best interest in mind who can help you build and promote your personal brand. Personal branding is about people’s perception of you. Of the image you project. You don’t need to do it alone. Your Sponsor is a champion, your Mentor is a guide, and your Peer Advisor is a consultant that sees you in action and gives you feedback to keep you honest and in alignment with your goals.

  • Sponsor: strategically seek the support and championship of someone with a position of authority and visibility to help you build awareness of your accomplishments. Someone who believes in you and fights for your legacy.
  • Mentor: strategically select someone to advice you on how to navigate the culture of the organization, identify key relationships to foster, and coach you on how to be effective. Someone who encourages and guides you to take calculated risks (such as accepting stretch assignment to display your potential.) Someone who can celebrate your boldness and who helps you recover when something doesn’t go as planned.
  • Peer Advisor: choose a colleague with whom you have frequent interactions and sees you perform in most aspects of your job. This is a person with a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities, including your cross-functional and multidisciplinary expertise. This person also needs to be clear about your goals and the support and guidance your Sponsor and Mentor provide in order to give you just-in-time feedback on how you are doing. This person is your “guardian angel,” someone you trust enough to be vulnerable with.

2Networking: attend professional events and make strategic and meaningful connections. Seek opportunities to share and collaborate in these forums. Actions speak louder than words, assuming an active role in these forums (being a panelist, facilitating a workshop, committing to a speaking engagement, etc.,) will allow you the opportunities to display your talents. This is a chance for people to learn about you in an indirect and modest way. One last note: Make sure to reciprocate if you rely on other people to give you a boost!

3Buddy System: establish a group of colleagues or friends with a shared goal of supporting and promoting one another. (This is at the core of the Red Shoe Movement Principles and what their methodology is all about.) This could be done in meetings, social media, and professional networks. You can support the effort by publicizing each other’s wins. All of this can be done in the spirit of promoting one another, but also of sharing knowledge.

4Passive: this is a subtle way to “feature” your accomplishments. Display awards, prices, recognitions, important degrees or certification in strategic places in your workstation. When you do it in good taste it becomes a quiet endorsement of your brand. Keep a professional bio available. Have a concise, yet relevant profile describing your qualifications in social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, etc.

5Just the Facts: this is how most people know about self-promotion. But “just the facts” it’s not only about giving a “speech” where you talk about your accomplishments. Weaving the facts into a conversation can be a very effective yet subtle method of self-promotion. (See an example below.)

For your personal brand to have a positive impact it must be authentic. That provides the foundation to talk about your value.

For your personal brand to have a positive impact it must be authentic. That provides the foundation to talk about your value.

A Winning Script to Effectively Share Your Value

Now that you have the principles and the strategies, here is a suggested three-prong self-promotion script to help you effectively communicate and showcase “just the facts.”

  1. State the current paradigm (the business challenge and/ or potential )
  2. Determine how to introduce the challenge into a “boast.”
  3. Make the boast, and give credit where credit is due!

Example of a Three-Prong Self-Promotion Script:

Rebecca, I just successfully closed the mega-deal with XYZ Company we’ve been working on for sixe months. It was not easy, as they are strong negotiators, but with the support of our research team, I drove home a $10 million dollars deal.

Notice the emphasis on your strength in handling a difficult negotiation, the inclusion of your team, and your ability to close a deal that will have a great impact on the bottom-line.

Final Words on Self-Promotion

Self-promotion is strongly anchored in your personal brand

Self-promotion is strongly anchored in your personal brand so it’s critical to understand who you are before you talk about your value.

The art of self-promotion is critical for one’s success no matter what your position in the organization. A word of advice, it takes practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect and it gives you confidence. Think about this: Professional salespeople make hundreds of sales calls a day. This constant repetition makes selling less scary. Similarly, the more you practice, the more natural your self-promoting becomes.

Remember to talk about outcomes, be matter-of-fact, make your self-promotion relevant, draw future applications, and individualize your accomplishments while including others!










Do Your Actions Support Your Personal Brand?

Your personal brand comes across in your everyday actions and words. When there’s dissonance, credibility comes into question.

I loved Courtney, my yoga instructor. She was extremely flexible, gave very clear directions and held the most perfect poses. Until one day she started to ask the viewers of her videos to comment about her outfit.

Personal Brand quote by Mariela Dabbah - Your personal brand is the experience others have of you. Are your actions and words consistent with what you'd like to project?

Every day you can impact in a positive or negative way your personal brand.

“Do you like Courtney in a monochromatic outfit or do you like her more when she’s wearing a crazy two color combination one?” Come again? I’m practicing yoga, not watching Project Runway! Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. On the next video, she asked viewers: “You may have noticed I have my hair straight today. Do you prefer it like this or curly? Leave me a comment.” I was so frustrated with this display of narcissism and insecurity that I started keeping the volume off during the first few minutes of each video. Her lack of alignment between her personal brand as a respected yoga instructor and her questions on appearance was making me lose respect for her.

After a while, I decided to find a different guru. Someone who took the practice more seriously. I looked at a bunch of different videos and settled for Jen, another talented teacher with a warm demeanor and easy to follow even when you were in Downward Dog, not looking at the screen. She and I moved through Warrior One to Triangle Poses together like we had been doing this for a long time. And then, on the third video she asked: “You may have noticed I have a couple of tattoos. I’m thinking of getting another one. So I’d like to know, do you like tattoos? Should I hide them? Leave me a comment.” Really? Don’t you have friends who could answer that question? And while you’re at it, couldn’t you ask for some feedback in terms of how these inquiries affect your personal brand?

You may enjoy this piece about my great aunt Marietta's personal brand.

Now, what does this have to do with you, you wonder. A lot. Because Courtney and Jen are two professional yoga instructors who I assume do yoga videos for a variety of reasons:

  • To get their personal brand out there
  • To attract students to their private and group classes
  • To attract potential endorsements
  • To drive traffic to their websites where they sell merchandise and classes
  • To build a personal brand as experts and be invited to wellness retreats

And so on.

Personal brand quote by Mariela Dabbah - "Your daily words & behavior reinforce or damage your personal brand"

Beware of any dissonance between what you’d like to be known for and how you behave.

And when rather than keeping the viewer’s attention on the results he/she is getting from the practice the instructors turn the attention to themselves, they blow their personal brand. Suddenly, the viewer feels dragged into a conversation about which she couldn’t care less. Let’s face it. If I had wanted to exercise my right to an opinion, I would’ve tuned into The Voice or Dancing with the Stars. I tuned into this channel to practice yoga. I have allocated half an hour to my practice every day and I don’t care about your hair or the color of your pants. If you want to engage me, then ask me about something that is important to me. Like, “Has your flexibility improved from when we first started today? Have you been able to breathe throughout the various poses?”

By moving the focus of attention from my results to their need to be validated, the instructors also do a disservice to themselves because inevitably I think less of them as professionals. As a result of shining a light on superficial aspects of themselves that have no connection with what they do, I question their credibility as top yoga instructors. Because suddenly, I think that if their hair, outfits and tattoos are so important to them perhaps they don’t take yoga as seriously as they want me to believe.

My question to you is this, Do people who have interactions with you experience a similar kind of disconnect between what you are trying to project (your personal brand) and your behavior and words? Do you fall into the trap of focusing on your appearance and other superficial aspects rather on delivering your best product or performance?

Here's a sharp post about the impact of your brand as you prepare for a job interview

It’s easy to perceive the disconnect between a yoga master and her inquiring about whether she should get more tattoos or not. But in our daily professional lives we see examples of this dissonance all the time. And they can be the undoing of any personal brand.

Stop for a minute to take stock of the perception others have of you. Because that’s all a personal brand is. The perceptions others have of you. Their experience with you. Does it align well with the person you want to be known for? With how you want to be remembered? If not, you have some work to do.

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