I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while, but I’ve been busy. It’s been tough out here trying to get people to know me—us. I try to be in the right place at the right time and make sure people are saying good things about you when you’re not in the room.
It’s a lot of work.
Let me introduce myself. I’m your brand. I’m what people think about you.
I’m made up of what people think you’re good at and how you make people feel. My job is hardest when you’re not being yourself. Those days when you think you’re not good enough require me to work harder at convincing people you are. The days when you pretend to be a little more like someone else than you try to be yourself, the harder it is to make people trust me.
You see, your job in life is to be who you are. Embrace your talents, enhance your skills, and indulge your quirks. You ever notice that you have an instant connection with people who have weird things in common with you? I work that way, too. People connect with me, and ultimately connect with you, because of those little things about you that they have in common with you.
The best thing you can do for me is to keep being you.
How? Well, speak in your natural voice, for one. When you write to people, write the way that you talk to people who know you. Not comfortable with that? Figure out why. Is it because you’re vastly different with people who know you and people who’ve never met you? You might want to figure out how to bring those two personas closer together. Authenticity makes my job easier—and that means being one person all of the time. Sure, you don’t have to share all of yourself with everyone, but maybe your personality “with makeup on” shouldn’t be super different from your personality without makeup.
Oh, and when you get dressed, it’d help me if you looked the way people expect you to look. Give me a minute to explain that, because I know that came out wrong. When you’re running to the grocery store, you might not always be in “uniform”—if you will. But when you’re going to present yourself, match the expectation. Doctors wear lab coats. Nurses wear scrubs. You expect that. What do people expect from you? I know, but do you know?
Another thing: you and I know you’re a nice person. Nice enough. And I know that everything you say to people can stir up a feeling in them. Try to make sure you’re stirring the right ones. Because people don’t usually remember the exact words you said to them, or what you did to them, but they remember exactly how they felt about it. Give them reasons to always feel good about you. It can be because you wrote and sang the saddest, truest song that someone has been waiting for someone else to perform. It can be because the speech you gave made them feel like they were on the right path. It can be because the financial advice you gave them was so easy to follow that they actually got out of debt. You will come to mind when they think of that thing that gave them a positive feeling. And that makes me stronger.
You’re a talented person who has amazing ideas. You absolutely can make a difference and have everything you need to start creating memorable experiences for other people. You don’t need to be anyone else for me to do my job. You don’t need to change for me to do my job.
You need to keep being you, keep living what you love, and keep being honest about what matters to you for me to do my job. And if you do those things, I promise you, I’ll be the best brand you could ever have.