I recently attended my high school reunion in Los Angeles. The anticipation of the event was great! More than half of our graduating class of 70 ladies (all girls’ Catholic high school) had reconnected on Facebook over the past few years. We’d seen photos of our spouses and children, relished in celebrations, applauded career milestones and mourned losses together online.
Returning to Los Angeles for the reunion was a great opportunity for many of us who had left the area to reconnect in person and walk the familiar school hallways. It was also a time to reflect on (and relive) old feelings: High school, young girl feelings. Feelings of insecurity, hope, inadequacy, competition (with others and with self) and curiosity at what the future would bring. Schoolwork, boys, dreams and ambitions — It all comes flooding back.
In personal branding, we talk a lot about creating a desired brand, a legacy. The legacy of what your life meant, how and whom you served, and how those you encounter will remember you. The desired brand is a marker, in the future, that you can refer to, be guided by and strive towards.
A reunion is a wonderful “check in” to see how far you’ve come, and how much work you have to do towards your desired reputation. As you reconnect with fellow classmates, the memories and stories flow, “… you were always so smart!” “… I remember how helpful you were when…” “…. everyone always knew you’d go into this kind of work…” give glimpses into the person you were back then. As your younger self, it’s highly unlikely you were designing and crafting your personal brand story with a focus on building a powerful and authentic reputation (unless you’re my kid!) Most likely, you were enjoying high school and college years, not concerned much about reputation and legacy. But now that you are focused on the impact and influence you have, now that you’ve owned accountability for your reputation, you can reflect back on early indications of who you were, and how your life’s journey has continued to reinforce (or detract from) your authentic passions and mission.
I’ve been asked before, what I believe my “young” self would think of who I’ve become. What would “Young Lida” think of the woman she grew up to be?
After reflecting on this question, I can say she’d be very proud. She’d be amazed at the confidence, energy, commitment and joy I have in my work. She’d be delighted with the family and home life I created. She would be honored by the clients and business relationships I’ve developed and nurtured over the years. Without hesitation, I can say that for me, life turned out much better than I could have dreamed… and I’m far from finished!
What would your younger self feel about where you are today, knowing that your impact is constantly evolving and developing?
As counsel and reputation management expert to international corporations, senior executives, CEOs and business leaders, Lida Citroën launched LIDA360, a reputation management firm, to devise corporate marketing strategies and personal branding processes that drive results. Her programs continuously and intuitively revolve — and evolve — around client business objectives while positioning companies and executives to outshine their competitors.
As an accomplished professional speaker on personal branding and reputation management, her programs, “Stand Out from the Crowd: Leveraging Your Personal Brand” and “Personal Branding & Reputation Management Online” generate rave reviews.
The author of the best-selling guide to reputation management, “Reputation 360: Creating power through personal branding,” (Palisades Publishing, 2011) Lida delivers speaking programs, consulting and coaching on:
– Reputation Management for Executives
– Reputation Management for Professionals
– Reputation Management for Non-Profits
– Personal Branding for Today’s Executives
– Personal Branding & Reputation Management with Social Media
For more information visit www.LIDA360.com or call 800.314.5060.