Have you ever wondered how to predict when something has outlived its usefulness? I know I have. Seems to me, though, that it’s one of those things we only recognize at some defining moment. And then we just know. Actually, the television industry has a name for it: Jumping the Shark.
The term refers to the Happy Days episode in which Fonzie shows his bravery by making a water-skiing jump over a confined shark. It stands as the moment when people realized the program had outlived its appeal. Today, jumping the shark is used to cover a wide variety of situations, and is defined as:
“…[the] …precise moment when you know a program, band, actor, politician, or other public figure has taken a turn for the worse, gone downhill, become irreversibly bad, is unredeemable, etc.; the moment you realize decay has set in.”
I think this also applies to ideas.
Now, I can’t claim to be astute in making predictions. Still, I wonder: Is the concept of personal branding at risk of jumping the shark? [Tweet This]
Ironically, what prompts me to consider this is the incessant advice to create, build, and promote your personal brand. In fact, if you google “creating your brand,” you’ll find lots of guidance on the steps you need to take to get it done.
Frankly, I’m not the first to take a critical look at branding generally, and personal branding in particular. Yet, being a certified personal branding strategist does, I believe, afford me a unique perspective. One that I hope can help save you from creating a brand…You know, just like everyone else! My view is this:
A personal brand is a reputation. It’s not something you create. It’s something you earn. [Tweet This]
Sure, you can raise your visibility on social media. And what you show and how you behave will influence how people see you. Yet, the kind of reputation that you’d want to stand as “your brand” is determined by the work you do, the things you accomplish, and the difference you make for others. So, if you construct a brand without considering the unique value you bring to your community, you may actually be hurting yourself in the long run.
Despite my view on brand building, this doesn’t mean I’m ready to throw out the process for attaining personal clarity – which is the true basis for your success. Think about it. If you have a grasp of the attributes, strengths, and talents that make you who you are, you don’t have to worry about conforming to an image you created. You simply get to be you!
Not only that, but you also get to be more confident in setting and achieving career and life goals. And you get to take true ownership of your destiny, whether you’re someone who’s launching a new career, or someone who’s turning around an established one.
So, if you want to follow the herd, go ahead and create a brand. To achieve real and lasting success, focus on a process that will help you create opportunity.
Are you building your brand or creating opportunity? Leave a comment and let me know. And if you’re interested in taking charge of your career, check out some of the (yes) personal branding services I offer.