Without self-reflection on who you are as a creative, how can you decide where you want to go in your career and how to get there? How will you gain confidence in figuring out what kind of client or employer might be interested in hiring you for your unique skills, and for what reasons?
“Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development,” wrote consultant and executive coach Glenn Llopis in “Personal Branding Is A Leadership Requirement, not a Self-Promotion Campaign.”
What you can do to become aware of your own strengths?
First: Stop, relax, and think.
Identifying and developing your personal brand isn’t the same as making a list of goals, dreams, aspirations, or wishes for what you want to be. It’s a little more challenging than that — you will need to engage in a little self-reflection. Find some quiet time without distractions. It won’t take all day — in fact, you may be surprised at how quickly and naturally your own sense of self will emerge, once you give it a chance. That self-knowledge is always there, in the back of your mind. All you need to do is tune in.
Then: Get to know your strengths and weaknesses.
This creative exercise requires a little time. Designers and writers especially find inspiration in their own memories, thoughts, and imagination. To apply the same thinking to your professional brand, “Examine your past experiences in work, in school, and in life, as well as the interests, skills, knowledge, talents, dreams, goals, and preferences that these experiences reveal,” counsels executive coach Debra Benton in “Self-Reflection Helps Your Personal Brand.” The aim is to understand your own background so you can decide how you would like to appear to prospective clients or employers.
To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- What situations bring out the best in you?
- What inspires you? Sparks your creativity?
- What are some things that energize you and that you enjoy doing?
- What challenges make you want to get going?
- What makes you feel strong?
- How have you handled disappointments? Do errors, failures or setbacks throw you off?
- What do you like doing for others? How do you make other people feel good about themselves?
- What makes you feel supported or encouraged?
- What do your customers or clients appreciate most in you?
- What do you find most rewarding about your work?
- What do others seem to think you do very well?
Try not to pass judgment on what you are discovering. An honest evaluation of your capabilities, experience, and intentions is not the same as a session of self-criticism. We are all allowed to make mistakes. Both our victories and our setbacks make us who we are and help us to understand ourselves and what we offer to our clients, our community, and our world. You want to get to know your own gifts and weaknesses, because that knowledge is ultimately the pillar of your true strength.
Llopis said: “Challenge yourself to think about what your intentions are and what you are capable of delivering to the communities you are serving, both in and outside of the workplace.”
Julie is a Creative Circle candidate and experienced freelance writer, editor, and content creator in Santa Monica, California. A mentor and a career adviser, she cares about the community of freelancers who are finding new ways to work successfully in today’s gig economy. If you want to work with Julie, contact Creative Circle Los Angeles.