Personal branding is a focused effort to influence other’s perceptions of you. It’s an impactful way to showcase your individuality, expertise, and competencies. Combined with your behaviors and actions, your brand is how others base their perceptions and experience you.

In former Cultivate Your Personal Brand articles, I’ve highlighted ways to find your voice, define your purpose and mission, personify your brand essence, develop your key messages, and write your narrative. If you’ve taken the time to do so, you may have detected something arcane.

As humans, we are walking contradictions.

You only need to think of someone – a part of yourself, a loved one, manager, or colleague – who has exasperated you with their inconsistent, sometimes erratic comments or behaviors. On the positive side, these polarities help you discern what you like and dislike, what you want or do not want. They also aid you in determining your values. If you’re unsure of your values, here are five steps to gain clarity in terms of your career. Keep in mind that your values may change as your circumstances do.

There is an inherent beauty in paradoxes.

When it comes to personalities, preferences, and emotions, the only logical thing is accepting the irrational irony. These magnificent dichotomies coexist, and by embracing them, you can foster more heartwarming and meaningful connections with others. For example, you can share an opposing point of view and be kind simultaneously. Sometimes, you can even find humor in them when you dig deep enough.

So have fun with these contradictions.

Here are a few paradoxes I’ve felt or witnessed:

1. I’m independent and dependent.

When it comes to your core motivations, what you value, and who you aspire to be, you probably have more in common with others than you think. You may feel the push and pull for independence, albeit the interconnectedness between you and others. At work, you may experience this with the plethora of rules and processes you’re asked to follow. There’s that tug between standing up for what you believe in while acquiescing when it may not be appropriate to do so. Also, there is the delicate balance between wanting to control your outcomes and finding compromise and collaborating with others. This can mean letting go of your view on right versus wrong and appreciating that there are many ways to attain the same result.

2. I’m concrete and vague.

Your approach and what you focus on depends on your audience. Some individuals only want to know the surface, high-level information, whereas others want to know the details behind your reasoning and actions. You may have been called a generalist and strategist by some and a subject matter expert and tactician by others. You may be viewed as a big picture thinker, or someone who delves into the nitty-gritty, or even someone who is both depending on the topic and interest. On the flip side, this can also mean putting your foot down when necessary, such as refraining from people-pleasing and assertively saying no when you don’t want to do something.

3. I’m confident and scared.

When you are afraid, you feel vulnerable and may freeze or run. The sooner you accept what frightens you, the braver you’ll become in recognizing and addressing the feelings when they arise. By lessening the need to question and increasing your trust of the unknown, you can conquer doubt and become more comfortable with what is, instead of trying to manipulate your surroundings. This means pushing forward proactively on a goal rather than procrastinating, and exercising discipline when warranted to empower and empathize with others.

Harness all parts.

Your personality and brand essence take many shapes and forms. I say welcome and celebrate them – quirks and all. If you’re curious about how you are perceived, you can take the FIRO® assessment. The MBTI® is a great tool to understand your preferences and their impact on your communication style. To uncover your core motivations and fears, the Enneagram can help open you up to overcoming what’s holding you back.

To learn more about your personality in a healthy and productive way, and to amplify your strengths and cultivate a personal brand that makes you feel like you, visit my website and schedule a free introductory call to learn more. While you’re at it, sign up for my free monthly newsletter to receive more insights and tips you can put into practice now.

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