6 Ways Your Personal Brand Is Limiting You
Professionally, personally, and creatively, branding is important. But when is it too much?
I work as a product namer and a novelist, so trust me when I say I know that branding is important — and not just for social media influencers, both real and aspiring. In today’s professional world, a personal brand makes sense. The right online self-presentation can bring you new opportunities, collaborations, clients. It can also help clarify what you want from your life and your career.
Besides, some things just demand to be turned into content. I often find myself catching up with an author friend, only to end the evening looking knowingly at each other: We should document this, right? Look at us being so writerly, getting together to talk literary things!
But what does a snapshot of me and another published person prove, exactly? Sometimes it’s totally harmless fun. And sometimes — at least in my case — it’s an attempt to prove to an online following that I’m an author in a world makes me feel anything but.
Public brand maintenance can be obnoxious, a statement that’s obvious to anyone who’s ever had a friendly brunch turn into a hashtag workshop (#foodstagram? #brunchstagram? #brunchstafoodstagramstagram?) Maintaining a personal brand is like having a fussy bonsai plant: It requires time, dedication, and upkeep, and it’s not interesting to anyone who isn’t also nurturing one.
Here’s how being overly concerned with your personal brand might be holding you back.
1. You have less time to actually live your life
When my daughter was a toddler, I found myself focusing on getting great pictures whenever we were doing something special. I wanted to show people (and myself!) that you can be a creative professional and a parent without sacrificing either too greatly.
But while trying to prove that parenting isn’t necessarily a career-killer, I was losing track of my own narrative. In capturing the uniqueness of a given moment, I interrupted it. I was so focused on how it looked to spend time with my daughter that I forgot to pay attention to how it felt.