About a dozen years ago I interviewed a woman for The Ragan Report (now defunct) who spoke about the need for communication professionals to create what she called a "personal brand." It was a novel concept then. We don't event think to put quotation marks around it now. That's a sign of something, and probably something bad. But never mind.
If we're not going to be embarrassed to talk abour our personal brand, then we ought not to shrink from trying ascertain what that brand actually is.
My old man used to reassure his insecure teenage children by telling us, "You'd worry less about what other people think of you if you realized how seldom they do."
Which is sort of the basis for my Writing Boots Personal Brand Two-Point Scale®.
Take this test:
If a typical business contact—someone halfway down your list of LinkedIn connections—hasn't heard from you in a year and your name pops in the middle of his or her busy, self-centered day, he or she idly:
1. Imagines you must be cooking up something big—like a method for quantifying one's personal brand—to unveil to the world in due time.
1. Figures you're too deeply engrossed in your important, self-actualized life's work to engage in foolish online chitchat.
1. Pictures you on some kind of sabbatical, where you walk your kids to school in the morning, noodle for a few hours on a family memoir prose poem and then listen to classical music in the afternoon while you learn to needlepoint, before picking the kids up and cooking the whole family a healthy stir-fry.
2. Guesses you're going through a messy divorce, will eventually regain your footing but may never be the quite same.
2. Sees you hunched over a black rotary telephone on an otherwise bare desk, dialing desperately for work (and takes his or her own phone off the hook).
2. Assumes you have finally dissolved into liquid alcoholism, and will never be heard from again.
Yes, it's just a two-point scale. Because that's the thing, (Dad), about being thought of seldom and fleetingly: There's no time to think of you in all your rich and dappled complexity. So you're thought of either as a happy winner or a sad loser.
You're either a one, or you're a two.
Am I a one, or a two?
Why do you think I blog every day? So that nobody in the communication business ever goes a week, let alone a year, without hearing from me.
But what about you?
One, or two?