Today I want to talk about the story behind my personal brand. Before I start, why don’t we talk a little bit about what exactly I mean by personal brand? A personal brand essentially boils down to our reputation, the thoughts, and the emotions when someone hears our name. Think about it like this: If somebody were to say your name, what thoughts, emotions, and ideas would it conjure up?

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I was taught by one of my mentors and somebody that I work with, a personal brand strategist and expert named Rory Vaden with Brand Builders Group, that reputation precedes revenue. Reputation is what we should lead with. So when I think of a personal brand, I think of the ideas, values, principles, and the things that an individual stands for.

Oftentimes we associate a brand with a company, a corporation, or a faceless organization. Now more than ever, we’re starting to see personal brands become very important. It’s something that people are intentionally creating frequently, and being more mindful and diligent of what goes into creating their personal brand. A personal brand is really important too because it can help us get ahead in our professions, whether we’re a working professional or whether we’re a business owner or an entrepreneur.

It Starts With “Brand Ethos”

A lot of things go into our personal brand, but what I believe it really starts with is our brand ethos. The constitution of ourselves and our personal brand.

My story is a little nontraditional, so the story behind my personal brand is one based on tragedy and falling to life’s lowest bottom and having to persevere through many challenges and setbacks.

I created in my own life through my behavior and living in a way that was not congruent with my values and principles or how I was raised. I was responsible for an alcohol-related tragedy in college that claimed the life of a friend of mine. It was a boat accident and it was a very tragic event as you can imagine. I won’t go into the details, other than to say that as a result, I was sentenced to serve several years in New YorkState prison when I was 23 years old. Ultimately I served three and a half years. It changed my entire outlook, worldview, and purpose in life. I really got to know who I was, why this happened, what brought me to this lowest point in life. I also learned what I needed to do to grow from this, change how I lived, and how I showed up and served the world.

And I did just that. This awful situation helped me create a new purpose. A new understanding of what I wanted to do in life and how I wanted to impact the world. It started to inform all these things that we’re talking about here. Things that went into the ensuing years that followed. The things that went into me creating my own personal brand and reputation that was not rooted in the accident. But it was informed by that. It was informed by what I learned while I was away, and by having to grow and persevere through these challenges, and the emotions of guilt, remorse, and shame. I then had to find a new way to live, and I’ve now celebrated almost 13 years clean and sober. This change has formed the foundation of my entire life now and my personal brand.

Find Your Personal Brand Foundation

I’m really proud of this accomplishment as well as the relentless commitment to my vision for a new life. A life full of purpose, contribution, and helping others achieve greatness. There’s nothing I love seeing more than someone reaching their potential and their best self in life. I’ve achieved this myself by overcoming numerous challenges in business and life, and working through them, not around them. Don’t shy away from your fears, but address and face them head-on. This will allow you to create a life of freedom and build a life on your terms that you’re proud of. I’m at a point in my career where I’ve started several different businesses, seven-figure companies, and have grown a series of brands and platforms that all are driven by my personal brand. They all are intertwined with the values and principles that I stand for: growth, greatness, freedom, purpose-driven life, and meaning. I’m hoping now more than ever that my new multimedia company will inspire, equip, and train other people to do the same. To step into their greatness. To find and achieve greatness. To live their best self, best version, and to live a full and free life. That’s what I’m most excited about. 

The moral of the story here is that my personal brand can be instructive to how you can create your personal brand. We’ve all had painful times in our past. We all have things that we’re not proud of. We all have things that have made us who we are today.

Sometimes that pain, that mess, that tragedy can inform us and be our greatest source of strength. These times and situations can be the things that help us create the most impact. We all have something to share with the world that may help other people through their difficult times. But it only happens when we reveal it. It wasn’t easy for me to do this publicly when I first started doing it years ago on stages, and sometimes it’s still not easy for me to do it.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what a personal brand means to you. Are you conscious of this concept? Are you really intentional about building your own personal brand and reputation? What goes into that? I’d love to hear the story of your personal brand.


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